Alison Brown, PhD, MS is a researcher on the rise. In May 2017, immediately after earning her PhD in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, she enrolled in Tufts CTSI’s Clinical and Translational Science Graduate Program as a certificate student and a Tufts CTSI TL1 Postdoctoral Fellow, working with KL2 Program Director Karen Freund, MD, MPH and her research team.
Dr. Brown’s research interests and experience include the intersection of epidemiology, clinical, and community initiatives to address racial/ethnic health disparities in the US. As a postdoctoral fellow, she is working to broaden her understanding of health science research as it relates to health disparities, and how health insurance instability influences the management of diabetes among various racially and ethnically diverse patients.
“Improving our understanding and characterization of health disparities in the health care sector will help shape how we effectively address these disparities,” she said.
During her fellowship, a paper related to Dr. Brown’s dissertation, “Ethnic Heterogeneity among Blacks, Diet Quality, and Hypertension Risk: A Mixed Methods Approach,” was accepted for publication by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Her study examined the ethnic diversity in the US Black population and how this related to diet quality and hypertension risk, in which the data showed that foreign-born Blacks had better diet quality and lower risk for hypertension than their US-born counterparts. This research is timely considering the national immigration policy debate, and provides more evidence on why the ethnic and cultural diversity of the US Black population needs to be considered, appreciated, and explored in public health research and programs.
“Blacks in the US experience some of the highest rates of diet-related diseases,” said Dr. Brown. “With funding constraints for public health programming and research, these findings can help to prioritize interventions for the most at-risk and vulnerable.”
The future continues to look bright for Dr. Brown. In 2018, she received a “40 Under 40 Leaders in Health Award” from the National Minority Quality Forum.