Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Obesity Research Interest Group

Welcome to the webpage for the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) / Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) Obesity Research Interest Group, or the “ORIG” for short.

The mission of this CICATS/CHIP group is to bring together researchers and stakeholders from the greater Connecticut community who share a common interest in understanding, preventing, and treating obesity and related co-morbidities.  The group has over 140 members from multiple campuses and over 20 departments at UConn, and it also includes community partners and researchers from other institutions in the region.

The group meets twice a year, co-sponsors obesity-related talks as part of the CHIP lecture series, and hosts an information/discussion listserv to share research ideas and funding opportunities.

Join Us

To join the ORIG, contact Dr. Amy Gorin at

Leadership Team

The CICATS/CHIP Obesity Research Interest Group Leadership Team is comprised of faculty from both UConn-Storrs and UCHC and is headed by Amy Gorin:

Amy Gorin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Psychology
Michelle Cloutier, M.D.
Professor, Pediatrics
UConn Health
Helen Swede, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Community Medicine
UConn Health
Linda Pescatello, Ph.D.
Board of Trustees Distinguished
Professor, Kinesiology
Amy Mobley, Ph.D., R.D.
Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences
Alicia Dugan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Medicine
UConn Health

What can ORIG do for you?

ORIG Highlights: 2014-2015

ORIG sponsors a variety of activities throughout the year.

  • In both Fall 2014 and Spring 2015, the ORIG sponsored and promoted several CHIP Lecture Series speakers on obesity topics: Melicia Whitt-Glover (Ph.D., Gramercy Research Group) gave a presentation entitled, “It Takes a Village: Strategies for Changing Physical Activities in Community;” Marlene Schwartz (Ph.D., Yale University, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity) gave a talk entitled, “Improving Children’s Nutrition with Strategic Science;” CHIP Affiliate Valerie Duffy (Ph.D., Allied Health Sciences) made a presentation entitled, “Can we assess health behaviors by simply asking liking/disliking? Evidence from dietary-based studies;” and Suzanne Mitchell (M.D., Boston University School of Medicine) spoke on, “Women in Control: Virtual World Diabetes Self-Management Education for African American Women with DM.”
  • In October 2014, ORIG researchers participated in an all-day Obesity Retreat to discuss current and next steps for the interest group. They identified common areas of interest and opportunities for collaboration, discussed funding for team science research/training, and identified strategies to foster collaborative work in the future. One specific action item that came out of this meeting was to make a proposal to the Childhood Obesity journal to publish a special issue on obesity prevention in childcare settings. Spearheaded by Dr. Marlene Schwartz, the proposal was accepted, and up to 6 manuscripts from UConn investigators will be published in the journal in 2015-16.
  • In March 2015, ORIG held an event at CHIP, “Low Hanging Fruit” Breakfast, organized by Dr. Amy Gorin, to facilitate new partnerships and collaborations among ORIG members. Researchers briefly presented on unfinished projects and datasets available for collaboration. Attendees (19 in total) also participated in informal networking and discussion of next steps after the presentations.
  • In Spring 2015, two networking events were organized by Dr. Kim Gans and held immediately following obesity-related CHIP lectures. The first event, which occurred in March 2015 following Dr. Michelle Cloutier’s presentation, focused on opportunities for obesity research in various primary care settings. This event was well attended by faculty from various departments. The second event, which occurred in April 2015 following Dr. Tricia Leahey’s presentation, focused on adult weight management interventions.
  • In June 2015, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity held a Community Science Café attended by over 50 community leaders, researchers, and health professionals. The Café focused on the issues of food security and obesity in the Hartford community, with a panel discussion featuring Marlene Schwartz (Rudd Center), Yvette Bello (Hartford Foundation for Public Giving), Grace Damio (Hispanic Health Council), Tevonne Ellis (YMCA of Greater Hartford), Katie Martin (University of St. Joseph), and Martha Page (Hartford Food System).