News Release

RWJF grant to Brown University supports childhood obesity research

Grant and Award Announcement

Brown University

Akilah Dulin Keitah, Brown University

image: Akilah Dulin Keitah, Brown University assistant professor of public health, will study protective and risk factors for childhood obesity among Southeast Asians. view more 

Credit: Brown University

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation's leading philanthropy on health and health care, has awarded Akilah Dulin Keita, Brown University Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, a 24-month grant through the New Connections program. Keita is among a select group of Junior Investigators to receive one of the 24-month grants from New Connections. The grant will allow Keita, who studies health disparities at the Brown Institute for Community Health Promotion, to examine the risk and protective factors for childhood obesity among Southeast Asians.

New Connections is a national program designed to introduce new scholars to RWJF and expand the diversity of perspectives that inform the Foundation's programming. New Connections seeks early to mid-career scholars who are historically underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college graduates, or individuals from low-income communities.

"We are thrilled to welcome Professor Keita to a program that reflects the Foundation's commitment to increasing the diversity in our grant making and in the broader fields of health research," says Debra Pérez, PhD, MPA, MA, Assistant Vice-President for Research and Evaluation at RWJF.

"More than a grant opportunity, New Connections serves as a lifelong professional network for diverse researchers and evaluators," says Pérez.

"I am extremely proud to be among the junior investigators/midcareer consultants honored with this prestigious grant," says Keita. "This award will connect me to a network of established experts in research and evaluation related to health and health care, while providing me with an opportunity to evaluate a program that has far-reaching implications for childhood obesity."


More information about New Connections is available at

About Brown University

Founded in 1764 and a member of the Ivy League, Brown University is globally known for its culture of independent thinking and academic excellence. In FY 2012, Brown spent $179 million on research, an increase of nearly 29 percent since FY 2009. Professor Keita performs her teaching and research in the university's Program in Public Health. Earlier this year Brown announced that the program will become School of Public Health and that the university will seek accreditation as such.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, RWJF works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For 40 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, RWJF expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

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