Village of Skokie and Northwestern University to Partner on South Asian Health Study

The Village of Skokie is partnering with Northwestern University on a five-year
project to improve the health of South Asians in Skokie and the surrounding area,
Skokie Health Director Dr. Catherine Counard announced today. “Numerous studies
confirm that South Asians are at much higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and
high blood pressure when compared to other populations. Our partners at
Northwestern University have successfully addressed these issues with the South
Asian Healthy Lifestyle Intervention (SAHELI), a recent pilot program that
encourages South Asian individuals to adopt specific lifestyle changes to improve
their health,” said Counard. “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is providing a
$3.5 million grant for a study in which Northwestern University, the Village of
Skokie, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Metropolitan Asian Family Services
and other agencies will partner to expand the reach of SAHELI to Skokie and
surrounding communities.”

Northwestern University successfully applied for the NIH grant and will administer
the project over the five-year grant term. The recent SAHELI pilot was led by Dr.
Namratha Kandula and her team at Northwestern University. “Individuals who
participated in SAHELI lowered their blood sugar and weight,” said Kandula. “Most
health advice is not geared to the unique cultural aspects of South Asians’ lifestyle,
but in SAHELI, we provide education and behavior change strategies that are
evidence-based and specifically geared to South Asians. The aim of the continued,
larger study funded by the NIH grant is to implement and evaluate healthy lifestyle
intervention adapted to the cultural context of South Asians, who are the second
fastest growing ethnic minority group in the U.S.”

“The Skokie Health Department will assist Northwestern University with
recruitment, health education and community outreach for the study. We look
forward to working with Dr. Kandula, the rest of her team at Northwestern
University and study partners on the expanded SAHELI to improve the health of
South Asians living in and around Skokie,” said Counard. “We are grateful for the
strong community partnerships that led to this important collaboration.”
Recruitment of study participants is expected to begin in early 2018. For more
information on the study, email southasianhealth@skokie.org or call the Skokie
Health Department at 847-933-8252.

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