MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
MGH Research Scholar Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, is working on community based solutions to address health issues such as childhood obesity, which disproportionately affects individuals from racial and ethnic minorities.
Altering Early-Life Systems to Prevent Obesity among Vulnerable Populations
Despite recent progress in obesity prevention, the prevalence of childhood obesity remains at historically high levels.
Racial/ethnic minorities and children form disadvantaged backgrounds suffer a disproportionate share of the national obesity burden and these disparities emerge as early as the first two years of life.
The overall focus of Dr. Elsie Taveras' research is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity particularly among minority and disadvantaged groups beginning in the earliest stages of life.
Funding from the MGH Research Scholars Program has helped to accelerate Dr. Taveras' career development as she expands her research in the early origins of childhood obesity. She will develop, test, and broadly disseminate the “First 1000 Days Program”, an innovative, systems-level intervention to reduce obesity and eliminate related disparities from conception to age 2 years.
She is uniquely positioned to conduct this work given her extensive research experience, leadership roles in Population and Community Health, and the strong network of community and public health partners she has assembled.
Her work is poised to make a large contribution to the prevention of childhood obesity and could help encourage healthful weight trajectories for life in the very segments of the US population who need it most.