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Ph.D. Students Participate in a National Scientific Conference

Ph.D. students in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine participated in the 2023 American Heart Association (AHA) Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions held in Boston, MA. Their research project – which emphasizes the significance of considering nativity when analyzing the association between the amount of time Black adults spent living in the U.S. and their cardiometabolic health outcomes – was accepted for oral presentation at the conference.

The AHA Scientific Sessions themed “From Science to Action: Implementing Knowledge for Healthy Hearts,” provided an engaging and informative platform for cardiovascular professionals to come together and share their knowledge and research findings. The conference also gave participants opportunities to network and connect with other cardiology professionals from around the world, exchange ideas, and collaborate on discovering new solutions to improve cardiovascular health.

Ifedi Anikpo presenting at AHA

Ifedi Anikpo, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., a Ph.D. student of Epidemiology, along with co-author Leah Dodds, M.D./Ph.D. student in Prevention Science, participated in the conference during which Anikpo presented their study, “Length of Time in the United States and Cardiometabolic Outcomes Among Foreign and US-Born Black Adults,” at the Scientific Sessions.

Leah Dodds

Dodds expressed appreciation for being able to attend the conference where they were able to share their findings with other researchers and scientists in the field of cardiovascular disease.

“This experience was very educational, allowed me to make new connections in the field, and exposed me to new research interests. Ifedi did an excellent job at his oral presentation and represented our team and institution extremely well. I am proud of him and the work we are doing as a team.”

“This was a remarkable opportunity to share our study findings with members of the scientific community who share our interest in cardiovascular health as it relates to immigrant populations,” added Anikpo.

The abstract, published in Circulation, examined the association between length of time (LOT) in the U.S. and cardiometabolic outcomes among U.S. Black adults. The study aimed to fill a gap in the existing literature by exploring the relationship between LOT in the U.S. and cardiometabolic health among Black immigrants by region of birth.

The study examined data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which is a representative survey of non-institutionalized U.S. civilians conducted between 2016 and 2018. The dataset comprised all Black adults in the research, for a total of 10,034 participants. Length of time was defined as the number of years individuals were reported to have lived in the U.S.

Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol were the outcomes of interest, each was defined based on self-report of being diagnosed by a doctor.

Adjusted logistic regression models were used to evaluate whether LOT in the U.S. was associated with cardiometabolic health variables overall and by nativity subgroups - non-Hispanic U.S.-born, Hispanic, African-born, and Caribbean/Central American-born.

The results of the study imply that a shorter LOT in the U.S. is associated with less obesity and hypertension in non-Hispanic Black individuals who were born abroad, particularly those who were from Caribbean/Central American countries. These findings have important ramifications for public health initiatives that try to close the gap in health between Black and White populations in the U.S.

Dr. Tali Elfassy

Anikpo and Dodds were mentored by Dr. Tali Elfassy, Research Assistant Professor in the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“The AHA Epi Lifestyle Conference is a wonderful meeting full of opportunities to connect with key scientists in the field,” said Dr. Elfassy, who also holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences.

Ifedi’s presentation was professional, scientifically sound, and very well received by a large audience. Both Ifedi and Leah did a fantastic job representing their work and the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences, she added.

“The invitation to present our findings at a major session of this prestigious conference was not only exciting but also a reflection of the great work being done by graduate students and faculty at our institution. I am grateful to be working with Dr. Elfassy and her team,” stated Anikpo.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on April 24, 2023