LSU Professor Senlin Chen Awarded LDH Research Grant to Address Health Equity in Louisiana

April 24, 2023

BATON ROUGE - Senlin Chen, PhD,  Professor of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University, has been awarded a research grant from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) to study the behavioral and social determinants of health in Medicaid-eligible children. The LDH's Louisiana Medicaid Program has granted $335,000 to fund this project, with LSU contributing $335,000 in match funds over two years, resulting in a total of $670,000.

Photo of Senlin Chen

Senlin Chen, PhD

– -LSU

The research project is a joint effort of LSU, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC), and Louisiana Healthcare Connections (LHCC). In addition to Chen, the team includes Drs. Fahui Wang, Amanda E. Staiano, Gang Hu, and Stewart Gordon, as well as multiple graduate and undergraduate students from LSU. 

Using primary and secondary data collected from various sources such as parents, school administrators and teachers, park staff, and existing databases, the team will identify and map out disparities in health determinants in the targeted population across nine disadvantaged communities in the 10-parish Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology will be employed to visualize the findings. 

Chen expressed excitement about the grant and gratitude to LDH for its support. "We are thrilled to receive this grant and to have the opportunity to conduct meaningful research on health disparities in Louisiana. This project represents a significant step forward in addressing health equity across communities.”  

This research project seeks to better the lives of Louisiana’s citizens, a key part of LSU’s Scholarship First initiative, and is a novel, interdisciplinary collaboration that aims to identify high-risk populations and areas that would benefit the most from prevention and treatment services. The findings will be crucial in guiding policy and practice related to resource allocation. 

Chen continues, “We are grateful to LDH and everyone who contributed to the grant, both pre- and post-award. The success of this grant will lead to new findings that expand the existing research literature and guide health-related practice and policy."

About SOK

The LSU School of Kinesiology (SOK) advances the understanding of physical activity, sport, and health to optimize the quality of life for diverse populations through excellence in teaching, learning, discovery, and engagement. SOK offers a BS, MS, Online MS, PhD, and two certificate options. Graduates go on to successful careers in the health and fitness industry, corporate wellness, sport agencies and businesses, athletic administration, and K-12 educational settings. SOK is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education.

Visit the School of Kinesiology website.

About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Information Studies, the School of Kinesiology the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education website.