Naa Oyo A. Kwate

Naa Oyo A. Kwate

Naa Oyo A. 



Associate Professor 
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Professional Bio

Dr. Kwate trained as a clinical psychologist, specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, and during graduate school, studied the cultural construction of psychiatric disease classification, the cultural context of clinical practice and the impact of racial/cultural identity on mental health. Her work in the psychiatry departments of large New York City hospitals brought home the extent to which low-income African-American and Latino families were burdened with chronic illnesses and conditions including asthma, overweight and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This led her to a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention and control, and subsequently to a faculty appointment in public health. Kwate has published papers on culture and mental health practice, African-American racial/cultural identity, the role of perceived racism in negative health outcomes and African-American neighborhoods.

Project Description

The overall goals of the study are to investigate fast food in the environments surrounding schools. The aims were to study how spatial proximity and density of fast food varies as a function of school and neighborhood characteristics, and to understand the processes underlying fast food owners’ site selection and store operation.

My New Connections Experience

I applied because the opportunity to participate in the joint programming of New Connections and Healthy Eating was unique. I was attracted not only by the funding that would allow my research study, but the community of scholars and mentors that comprise the program.

The New Connections award has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues, both junior and senior alike, doing related research; to focus on developing a professional vision; to establish a network of relationships with senior colleagues across the nation; and to be inspired by a group of talented individuals who are all dedicated to rigorous science on questions critical to population health.

Research Interests

I am interested in individual and contextual determinants of African-American health and well being, with a focus on multiple levels of racism, racial identity, neighborhood infrastructure and food environments.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2007
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Childhood Obesity
  • Project Name:  Studying Spatial Associations Between the Density of Schools and the Density of Fast Food Outlets

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