Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children

A Progress Report

Dates of Program: July 2007 through January 2015

Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children established and engages an online network of researchers, policy-makers, advocates, and others interested in addressing childhood obesity among Latinos.

Description: The program surveyed network members to determine their most important research priorities. The resulting research agenda guided the selection of 20 pilot research projects in 11 states for funding.

When RWJF shifted its childhood obesity focus away from research and toward supporting action, advocacy, and policy, Salud likewise shifted in this direction.

"Much of what we try to do is conduct the research, get the data, synthesize it, and then make it available to different audiences through different constructions and using different channels”—Deputy Director Kipling J. (Kip) Gallion, MA

For example, Salud America! Growing Healthy Change is an online platform featuring research vetted by Salud staff and consultants and integrated with information about policy that has been gathered and monitored by Salud "curators."

Key Results

  • By August 2013, the Salud America! network included 2,200 members.

  • Salud spent $1.5 million on its 20 pilot research studies. In four years, the researchers leveraged those funds to more than $30 million in funding from federal and other foundation sources. The researchers "were able to use the pilot information to write federal grants," said Director Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, MPH.

  • Salud demonstrated a research-to-policy connection that allows researchers to understand their contribution to policy and that has informed the funding agenda of the National Institutes of Health.

  • An aggressive and multifaceted approach to communications has resulted in award-winning videos, as well as a website, journal articles, newsletters, blog posts, and other vehicles that spread information about Latino childhood obesity.

"Little research is out there on how to prevent obesity, and research is typically done 'on' the people rather than with them."—RWJF Special Adviser for Evaluation Laura Leviton, PhD

"Salud represents a really important point of entry to the Latino community that I don't think anyone else has."—RWJF Senior Vice President, James S. Marks, MD

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Salud America! network: 2200 experts, community leaders & advocates re Latino childhood obesity prevention.