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About AACORN

Image of Key Messages Handout
AACORN Overview Document [PDF]

The mission of AACORN is to improve the quality, quantity, and effective translation of research to address weight related issues in African American communities. A major aim of this network is to enhance the visibility and integration of the perspectives of African American investigators within the larger obesity research arena and especially in relation to research in African American populations.

Rationale

African-American communities are disproportionately impacted by obesity and its related conditions including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and osteoarthritis. For AACORN, efforts to ameliorate obesity and associated poor health and quality of life require a full commitment to basic human rights and to addressing the challenges posed by obesity within the broader social and political realities affecting African Americans.

AACORN is currently building its infrastructure with participation of university-based researchers, researchers-in training and community-based researchers and partners. With our foundation based on resource mobilization, the expertise and involvement of our stakeholders are essential in this developmental process. It is our intention that AACORN will serve as a catalyst in the implementation of obesity research and interventions to have a national and, eventually, international reach and impact.

Involvement with AACORN is open to all interested and qualified scholars. Membership is by invitation and is not restricted by "race" or ethnicity.

Origins

Photo of Shiriki Kumanyika, AACORN’s founder and chair

AACORN was formed in 2002 to stimulate and support greater participation in framing and implementing the obesity research agenda by investigators who have both social and cultural grounding in African American life experiences and obesity-related scientific expertise.

Shiriki Kumanyika, an African American public health and nutrition researcher, is AACORN’s founder and chair. The network was founded during Dr. Kumanyika’s 15 year tenure as Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (Penn), Philadelphia PA. As of September 2015, AACORN’s administrative home is at the Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, Department of Community Health and Prevention, also in Philadelphia. Dr. Kumanyika has transitioned to Emeritus status at Penn and is now a Research Professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health.

Sponsorship

AACORN was founded under the rubric of an NIH health disparities center grant. Sponsors of AACORN’s research and convening activities have included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the NIH, the United States Department of Agriculture, The Aetna Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.