April 11, 2003

Figaro receives RWJ award

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Figaro receives RWJ award

Dr. M. Kathleen Figaro, assistant professor of Medicine, recently won a Robert Wood Johnson Career Development Award for her work with underrepresented minorities and diabetes care.

Figaro, whose project is titled “Disability Expectation: Impact on Self-care of Type 2 Diabetes,” is developing a scale measuring expectations of disability associated with diabetes and possible links to self-management of the disease.

She is also doing work on inflammatory markers and their impact on disability in older persons with diabetes. She will be giving an oral presentation on this subject at the annual American Diabetes Association.

Figaro received the four-year, $365,000 grant in January, and is one of only 12 people in the United States to receive the award this past year.

As part of this award, Figaro is being mentored by longtime diabetes specialist Dr. James Gavin, past president of the American Diabetes Association and president of the Morehouse School of Medicine.

“While the number of Americans with diabetes continues to rise, reasons why African-Americans have worse outcomes are not completely understood,” said Figaro. “Likely, self-care has something to do with the disparities in outcomes. This grant will help us begin to find out some of the reasons why.”

"We are delighted that some of this important work is going on at Vanderbilt," said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, Morgan Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine. "Dr. Figaro's project is part of our long-range plan to increase our commitment to diabetes care in Middle Tennessee and we are delighted to have her here with us."

Robert Wood Johnson devoted his life to public service and to building the family firm of Johnson & Johnson into the world’s largest health and medical care products conglomerate.

Johnson’s sense of personal responsibility toward society was expressed in the disposition of his own fortune. He left virtually all of it to the foundation that bears his name, creating one of the world’s largest private philanthropies.