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Childhood Obesity Prevention is Focus of Grant Won by DYC Professor

Childhood Obesity Prevention is focus of Grant Won by DYC Professor

Buffalo, New York – July 23, 2014 – D’Youville faculty member, Brian H. Wrotniak, P.T., PhD., professor of physical therapy has been selected to receive $15,000 in funding from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for his proposal entitled “Patient-Centered Medical Home: An Innovative Model for Childhood Obesity Prevention with the Physical Therapist as a Key Player to Improve Quality of Care and Reduce Costs.”

APTA launched the funding initiative to solicit projects that would bolster the impact of physical therapy in innovative and emerging models of healthcare. Following completion of the projects, APTA will create templates of them, including lessons learned, as a resource for members in order to replicate this work throughout the country.

The national selection process was highly competitive with 60 proposals reviewed and 21 finalists selected to present their proposals at the APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Wrotniak’s project was one of only three proposals that were selected to receive funding and in-kind services from the APTA.

“Childhood obesity is a prevalent chronic health condition that has reached epidemic levels," says Wrotniak, who also directs the Center for Health Behavior Research at D'Youville which conducts research on current and emerging health problems locally, nationally and globally. "More cost-effective approaches are needed in addressing this serious health problem. The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) may be a practical solution to providing a more comprehensive cost-effective approach to childhood obesity prevention.”

According to the APTA, the patient-centered medical home is defined as "an approach to providing comprehensive primary care that facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their personal providers and when appropriate, the patient’s family."

“Our feasibility study will test an innovative healthcare model aimed at childhood obesity prevention," says Wrotniak. "The obesity prevention program is termed START TODAY!, an acronym for Scientifically Targeted Assessment, Research and Therapies for Tackling Obesity-related Diseases Among Youth."

Physical therapists will serve to measure obesity-related signs and symptoms that affect the human movement system, evaluate and monitor children's physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and will be trained in behavioral strategies to enhance physical activity and parental support."

Cost-effectiveness will be measured by tracking incidence of obesity, weight-related disease rates and hospitalization for obesity-related conditions. The study will also serve to evaluate the validity of a newly developed functional outcome measure created by Wrotniak to diagnose childhood obesity, Pediatric Obesity Syndrome Evaluation (POSE).

Working with Wrotniak on the project will be Teresa Donegan, PhD., assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lesley Georger, PhD., associate professor of mathematics, Edward Weiss, PhD, RD, professor of dietetics; and colleagues at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

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Brian Wrotniak, P.T., PhD