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1.  Plasma Selenium Biomarkers in Low Income Black and White Americans from the Southeastern United States 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84972.
Biomarkers of selenium are necessary for assessing selenium status in humans, since soil variation hinders estimation of selenium intake from foods. In this study, we measured the concentration of plasma selenium, selenoprotein P (SEPP1), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX3) activity and their interindividual differences in 383 low-income blacks and whites selected from a stratified random sample of adults aged 40–79 years, who were participating in a long-term cohort study in the southeastern United States (US). We assessed the utility of these biomarkers to determine differences in selenium status and their association with demographic, socio-economic, dietary, and other indicators. Dietary selenium intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire designed for the cohort, matched with region-specific food selenium content, and compared with the US Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) set at 55 µg/day. We found that SEPP1, a sensitive biomarker of selenium nutritional status, was significantly lower among blacks than whites (mean 4.4±1.1 vs. 4.7±1.0 mg/L, p = 0.006), with blacks less than half as likely to have highest vs. lowest quartile SEPP1 concentration (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.4, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.2–0.8). The trend in a similar direction was observed for plasma selenium among blacks and whites, (mean 115±15.1 vs. 118±17.7 µg/L, p = 0.08), while GPX3 activity did not differ between blacks and whites (136±33.3 vs. 132±33.5 U/L, p = 0.320). Levels of the three biomarkers were not correlated with estimated dietary selenium intake, except for SEPP1 among 10% of participants with the lowest selenium intake (≤57 µg/day). The findings suggest that SEPP1 may be an effective biomarker of selenium status and disease risk in adults and that low selenium status may disproportionately affect black and white cohort participants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084972
PMCID: PMC3896351  PMID: 24465457
2.  Prevalence and Correlates of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Services Use in Low-Income African Americans and Whites: A Report from the Southern Community Cohort Study 
Abstract
Objectives
This study aimed to examine the prevalence, trends, and correlates of practitioner-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services use according to race in a socioeconomically disadvantaged population.
Design
Included in this cross-sectional analysis were 50,176 African Americans (AAs) and 19,038 whites enrolled into the Southern Community Cohort Study from March 2002 through September 2009. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of CAM services use associated with participant characteristics.
Outcome measures
Outcomes include the prevalence of and trends in use of CAM services during 2002–2009 and correlates of use by race.
Results
CAM services use during 2002–2009 was greater among whites (11.7%) than among AAs (8.5%), but no significant temporal trends within the 8-year period were observed. The significant associations were observed for CAM services use with higher educational attainment (OR 1.78, 95% CI: 1.61–1.96 for college versus less than high school), household income (OR 1.61, 95% CI: 1.44–1.81 for ≥$50,000 versus <$15,000), and having a history of a chronic disease (OR 1.34, 95% CI: 1.21–1.47) among both AAs and whites. Significant differences in findings between AAs and whites were seen for age (with a sharp decline in use with older age among AAs but not whites), sex (with the excess of female users more striking among whites), employment (with the unemployed among AAs but not whites more likely to be users), alcohol consumption (with white but not AA drinkers more likely to report CAM services use), and cigarette smoking status (with negative association of use with current smokers more striking among whites).
Conclusions
CAM services use is associated with sociodemographic and health-related factors, and racial differences in such use exist. The descriptive findings of this study help supplement the limited information on CAM use among low-income and minority populations in the United States.
doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0363
PMCID: PMC3429268  PMID: 22866972
3.  Relationship Between Smoking and Obesity Among Women 
Objectives
To examine the relationship between smoking and weight status in adult women and whether this association differed by race.
Methods
The study sample consisted of 22,949 African American and 7831 white women enrolled in the Southern Community Cohort Study from 2002 to 2006.
Results
Both African American and white current smokers had decreased odds of being overweight or obese compared to normal-weight nonsmokers, and the inverse trends between current smoking and BMI held for both groups.
Conclusion
A strong relationship exists between smoking and weight status, with patterns nearly identical for African Americans and white women.
PMCID: PMC3717966  PMID: 22040623
BMI; smoking; race
4.  Operationalization of community-based participatory research principles across the National Cancer Institute’s Community Network Programs 
American Journal of Public Health  2011;102(6):1195-1203.
Objectives
To examine how the National Cancer Institute-funded Community Network Program (CNP) operationalized principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR).
Methods
Based on our review of the literature and extant CBPR measurement tools, scientists from nine of 25 CNPs developed a 27-item questionnaire to self-assess CNP operationalization of nine CBPR principles.
Results
Of 25 CNPs, 22 (88%) completed the questionnaire. Most scored well on CBPR principles to recognize community as a unit of identity, build on community strengths, facilitate co-learning, embrace iterative processes in developing community capacity, and achieve a balance between data generation and intervention. CNPs varied in extent to which they employed CBPR principles of addressing determinants of health, sharing power among partners, engaging community in research dissemination, and striving for sustainability.
Conclusions
Although tool development in this field is in its infancy, findings suggest that fidelity to CBPR processes can be assessed in a variety of settings.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300304
PMCID: PMC3292685  PMID: 22095340
Cancer disparities; community health; empowerment; health status disparities; indigenous populations; minority health; partnerships; training

Results 1-4 (4)