Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity & Metabolism

Behavioral and Interventional Research


 Shari Barkin Russell Rothman
 Tom Elasy David Schlundt
 Sabina Gesell Sandra Torrente
 Margaret Hargreaves Flora Ukoli
 Shelagh Mulvaney Roger Zoorob


The Behavioral and Interventional Research Group includes 10 VIOM investigators with nearly 20 research studies. This group has extensive experience in both clinical-based behavioral interventions and community-based behavioral interventions (Barkin, Schlundt, Gesell, Mulvaney, Hargreaves, Zoorob). Many of the grants held by these investigators lend themselves to the generation of multiple research projects. 


Many of the scientists in the Behavioral and Interventional Research Group work with vulnerable populations where health disparities are noted. For example, Dr. Hargreaves conducts research in the prevention and control of chronic diseases that contribute to health disparities (cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and asthma), in African American and other low income populations living in the southeastern United States.  Dr. Schlundt has conducted research examining the assessment of eating behavior, environmental, cognitive, and emotional factors that influence behavioral strategies for the treatment of obesity. This work examines health disparities in obesity and its associated behavior, understanding how environmental factors are associated with variations in obesity prevalence and disparities and the use of community based participatory research strategies in the treatment and prevention of obesity(Greene, 2006; McClellan, 2006; Miller et al., 2004; Schlundt et al., 2008; Schlundt et al., 2006; Schlundt, 2006a, b; Schlundt et al., 2001). Drs. Barkin, Gesell, and Zoorob work with Latino populations examining behavioral interventions for the prevention and early intervention of childhood obesity. These researchers have a track record of recruiting and retaining hard-to-reach populations and conducting community-based effectiveness trials.

The desired goal of the VIOM is to create synergistic collaborations to conduct efficient, effective research that can inform and impact health outcomes related to nutrition and obesity. The Behavioral and Interventional Research Group provides the ability to both discover and test clinical and community interventions that can change the trajectory of health outcomes across the lifespan. In many cases it will serve as the testing ground for scientific discoveries made in the other VIOM Research Groups; in other cases it will serve as the opportunity to measure the effect of gene-environment interactions that can affect health outcomes.