Kirsten Davison, MS, Ph.D, is a widely published researcher and Associate Professor of Nutrition and Director of the Public Health Nutrition concentration at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. We’re very excited to have her on the faculty of our SPARK! Leadership Conference, which takes place in Boston Nov. 5. Dr. Davison will co-lead the breakout session “Parent to Parent: Fighting Obesity in Pre Schoolers” with Sonia Carter, LN MS, the Nutrition Coordinator at ABCD Head Start in Boston.
Davison completed her PhD in Child and Family Development at Penn. State University. Over the past 15 years her research has focused on family and community contributions to childhood obesity, particularly in low-income and underserved families. She is particularly interested in the role of parents in shaping healthy diet and exercise behaviors in children that support lifelong health and wellbeing.
Davison and Carter are collaborating on implementing Communities for Healthy Living (CHL), the obesity prevention program Davison developed with Head Start parents and staff, in Boston area Head Start programs. The program engages parents and staff as collaborators in working to assist low-income parents in building the advocacy and life skills needed to instill healthier behaviors―such as healthier eating, more physical activity, and enough sleep―in their children. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, the program is being tested in a randomized controlled trial over the next four years. A key component of CHL is parent-led information sessions for other parents that address life skills such as as effective communication, health literacy, and the ability to identify and advocate for resources that promote health in the family.
Should CHL succeed in reducing obesity, increasing healthier behaviors in children and families, and improving advocacy skills among parents in the program, Davison is hopeful CHL could be expanded to Head Start programs across the country.
We look forward to hearing more about Davison’s research and CHL at the SPARK! Leadership Conference on Nov. 5. If you’re interested in improving the health and wellbeing of children in low-income families please register today so you can join us. See you on Nov. 5.