Akilah Dulin Keita

In Funded Scholars
Akilah Dulin Keita
Akilah Dulin Keita


Dulin Keita


Assistant Professor
Brown University

Professional Bio

Akilah Dulin Keita, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Program in Public Health at Brown University. Dr. Dulin Keita is also affiliated with the Institute for Community Health Promotion at Brown. Prior to her academic appointment, Dr. Dulin Keita was a postdoctoral fellow at the NIDDK (T32) funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Dulin Keita obtained a BA in sociology and a BA in Spanish (2003) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; a MA in Medical Sociology (2005) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and a Ph.D. (2007) in Medical Sociology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Project Description

The overall goal of this research project is to identify the risk and protective factors for childhood obesity among Southeast Asian children residing in Rhode Island. This project will use a socio-ecological framework to elicit from Southeast Asian parents and key stakeholders, the risk and protective factors for childhood obesity. To achieve the study aims, a mixed methods approach will be employed. All data collection will occur at the Socio-Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians, which is the central hub for Southeast Asians residing in Rhode Island. We will collect demographic data for the study participants. We will use concept mapping methodology, which is a mixed methods approach that incorporates both data collection and analyses. Using this approach, we will identify the risk and protective factors for childhood obesity and we will examine whether these factors significantly differ by level of acculturation and socioeconomic status. We will also use concept mapping to identify factors that are significantly protective against obesity. We will conduct semi-structured key informant interviews with stakeholders and will use focused coding techniques to identify theoretically derived themes of risk and protective factors for childhood obesity among Southeast Asians. The findings will inform the development of culturally relevant interventions that are appropriate and can be implemented large scale.

My New Connections Experience

I became acquainted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and its mission during my postdoctoral fellowship. I always admired the goals of the Foundation and I wanted to be involved in conducting research issued through the Calls for Proposals, but lacked the experience required to undertake large-scale projects. I applied to the New Connections Program because it was specific to my career level and offered extensive support and career development to junior investigators. I am excited about the mentoring, methodological training and research opportunities made available through this program. I will be able to receive invaluable mentorship from well-established investigators in my field of interest and this is a wonderful opportunity. The New Connections Program will provide me with the protected time to conduct my research and will help me to strengthen my research skills. Further, the New Connections Program will allow me to meet with other junior investigators, to extend my professional network and to develop collaborative partnerships that will enhance my abilities as both an academician and researcher.

Research Interests

My research focuses on identifying neighborhood contexts of diet, physical activity, obesity and obesity-related comorbidities among children. I have strong interests in processes of neighborhood dynamics resulting from urban revitalization policies and public health interventions and the potential effects on the aforementioned behavioral and health outcomes. I am also interested in using mixed methods approaches to identify culturally appropriate childhood obesity interventions for under-served Asian populations and examining the roles of psychosocial stressors on health behaviors and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The Details
  • New Connections Status:¬†Awarded in 2013
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Childhood Obesity
  • Project Name:¬†Analyzing both risk and protective factors for obesity among children in
    Southeast Asian communities.

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