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From Bench to Community: Addressing Health Disparities by Investigating Host Metabolic Benefits of Red Raspberry Polyphenols and Understanding the Macrosystem Level of Influence on Community Health Worker Effectiveness
In the United States, Latino/Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease compared to Non-Hispanic Whites. Despite numerous interventions to rectify these obesity-driven diseases, this health disparity remains. To explore possible solutions, we used a multidisciplinary approach that investigated the host metabolic benefits of red raspberry polyphenols and argued for the support of the community health worker workforce to promote connections to underserved communities. At the bench, we first conducted a comprehensive literature review on the red raspberry polyphenol gut microbiota-derived metabolite, urolithin A. Next, we examined the metabolic benefits of urolithin A in high fat diet-fed mice. We found that daily intraperitoneal injections of urolithin A protected against insulin resistance by augmenting mitochondrial function. We next sought to understand whether the gut microbiota was required for conferring the health benefits of red raspberry polyphenols. Specifically, we administered red raspberry polyphenols to germ-free and conventionalized mice fed high fat diets and found that conventionalized mice had improved metabolic health compared to their germ-free counterparts. We then specifically investigated the effects of one urolithin producing microbe, Gordonibacter urolithinfaciens (G. uro). We observed that supplementation of G. uro improved metabolic health; however, those beneficial effects were abrogated in the presence of red raspberry polyphenols. Lastly, we also considered the potential for community health workers as partners for reducing health disparities. We found evidence of several macrosystem level barriers that inhibit CHWs from conducting their jobs to their full potential and provided solutions for increasing workforce support and sustainability in Nebraska. CHWs can aid in reducing health disparities, but more work needs to be done to support them. By investigating solutions both at the bench and in the community, we contribute evidence for combating metabolic diseases through a whole-foods approach and solutions for sustaining the community health worker workforce to address health disparities.
Nutrition|Food Science|Public health
Toney, Ashley Mulcahy, "From Bench to Community: Addressing Health Disparities by Investigating Host Metabolic Benefits of Red Raspberry Polyphenols and Understanding the Macrosystem Level of Influence on Community Health Worker Effectiveness" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28713204.