Edward A. Frongillo, PhD
Research project: "Understanding Conceptualizations and Social Environment for Improving Pre-Pregnancy Planning and Nutrition for Adolescent Women in Harare, Zimbabwe"
"Promoting the health and nutrition of undernourished adolescent girls is a high global priority, but many in low-income countries are poorly prepared for pregnancy and the roles of being adult women and mothers. We want to learn about how adolescent girls in Harare, in the context of their social environment, understand pregnancy, planning for pregnancy, and nutrition, with the ultimate goal of developing effective ways of helping address their needs for information and preparation."
Edward A.Frongillo,PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. His research interests are growth, development, feeding, and care of infants and children; household and child food insecurity; and policy advancement and programs for improving nutrition and development.
Mark J. Manary, MD
Research project: "Treating Pregnant Adolescents with Moderate Malnutrition in Malawi"
"I am so delighted that the Sackler Institute has chosen to take the bold step to support the nutritional health of older adolescents in Malawi through our antenatal project. These girls are so vulnerable and the deleterious consequences of malnutrition will extend for two lifetimes if not ameliorated. We look forward to helping hundreds of girls."
Mark Manary, MD, is the Helene B. Roberson Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. His vision is to solve pediatric malnutrition in Africa. He was one of the first champions of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a lipid-based food rich in calories and nutrients used to treat uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition in a child's home, away from hospitals burdened with malnourished children. He conducted the first clinical trial of RUTF in 2001; because of his work, this therapy is now standard of care worldwide. Since then he has conducted dozens of groundbreaking studies over the last 20+ years into the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic malnutrition, both in inpatients and outpatients. Dr. Manary is also the founding director of Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization which manufactures and distributes RUTF within Malawi. He continues to explore the basic pathophysiology and metabolism of malnutrition, and is currently looking at the gut microbiota and metabolome in kwashiorkor and marasmus, and well as zinc homeostasis.
Deepa Sekhar, MD, MSc
Research project: "Improving Detection of Iron Deficiency Among United States Adolescent Females"
"In the United States, 9-16% of adolescent females are iron-deficient with potentially negative effects on school performance, mood disorder, and concentration. Iron deficiency screening in primary care is based on testing for anemia, a late-stage indicator of iron deficiency, and misses most with the condition. Screening is not tailored to age or other risk factors specific to adolescents. In short, we use the wrong test, potentially at the wrong time, on the wrong women. Our study aims to develop a clinical risk assessment questionnaire to identify adolescent females at high-risk of iron deficiency, which we plan to incorporate into a sensitive and cost-effective primary care screening model."
Deepa Sekhar, MD, MSc, is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Sekhar completed medical school at Brown University and a Pediatrics residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. In 2008, she joined the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Sekhar participated in the K30 Penn State Clinical Research Training Program and completed a Master’s of Science Degree in 2012. As a general pediatrician, she is committed to pursuing an academic career focused on optimizing child and adolescent health in the primary care setting. Dr. Sekhar is currently funded as a Penn State NIH K12 BIRCWH Scholar.