SeonAe Yeo Receives Grant to Investigate Gestational Diabetes

Associate professor SeonAe Yeo, RNC, PhD, FAAN, was awarded a grant by the UNC Center for Diabetes Translation Research to Reduce Health Disparties. She will use the grant to conduct a pilot study of a program designed to reduce gestational diabetes in pregnant women.

“Many low-income women are at-risk for gestational diabetes because they tend to gain excess weight during pregnancy,” said Dr. Yeo. “We want to determine if integrating evidence-based components into existing services for these women could reduce the occurrence of this disease.”

She will be teaming up with Drs Jennifer Leeman, DrPH, MDIV, and Jaime Crandell, PhD, from the SON as well as Dr. Carmen Samuel-Hodge, PhD, from the School of Public Health. They plan to work with several health departments in North Carolina to incorporate an evidence-based program called Weight-Wise into the services these departments provide for pregnant women, such as prenatal classes.

Dr. Yeo said they will also focus on tailoring Weight-Wise to the specific needs of a smaller group of health departments. They plan to use focus groups to ensure each implementation of Weight-Wise will function optimally within the department’s existing structure, and once the programs are adapted, they will conduct a pilot study with each of those departments.

The ultimate goal of the project is to determine if the program is feasible and has a positive impact. “Gestational diabetes can increase a woman’s risk for obesity as well as her child’s risk for obesity,” said Dr. Yeo. “We hope this approach will be a sustainable way to reach underserved pregnant women.”