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Featured Investigators

Betty Monroe Kennedy, MPA, PhD
Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Dr. Betty Kennedy grew up with humble beginnings in Mobile, Alabama, graduating from Williamson High School as Valedictorian. As a result, she received a Norton Biology Scholarship to attend Miles College-Birmingham., Alabama. Within 3 years, she received a BA in Biology/Chemistry and was the first in her family to receive a college degree. She began her career working in the finance industry as a manager trainee, and was promoted to branch manager transferring her to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Dr. Kennedy received her Master's degree in Public Administration (MPA), Southern University and A&M College, and PhD (Vocational Education) from Louisiana State University and A&M College—Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Most recently, Dr. Kennedy received her Biblical Teaching Certificate from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Kennedy has held the positions of Research Recruiter, Instructor, Adjunct Faculty, and is currently a Community Outreach Specialist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. She serves on the Community Engagement and Outreach Resource (CEOR) core for the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS), coordinates the Baton Rouge (BR) Community Advisory Board (CAB), and leads the Health Promotion and Dissemination Activities of the core.  Through this medium, Dr. Kennedy was awarded a CEOR Key Component Activity (KCA) pilot grant  award in 2015.

The pilot award originated through an informal needs assessment and a series of brainstorming sessions conducted within the BR CAB, during which CAB members consistently agreed upon the importance of identifying the roles and needs of caregivers. In response, Dr. Betty Kennedy worked with interested CAB members to develop a study proposal titled, "Caregivers' Perceived Roles in Caring for Patients with Heart Failure: Implications for Healthcare Providers." With funds allocated to the KCA to support the project, the study began in October 2015 and ended March 2016. Overall, the following KCAs and institutions collaborated in the Heart Failure Caregivers Study: Health Literacy Core; Biostatistics and Epidemiology Core; the BR CAB; and the University Medical Center (N.O., LA). The purpose of this study was to determine what roles patients and caregivers perceive and desire for themselves in managing heart failure (HF), and to compare and contrast these roles with those perceived by healthcare providers. A total of 93 (60 patients, 22 caregivers, and 11 healthcare providers), completed the study. Patients and caregivers individually participated in semi-structured interviews, and healthcare providers participated in one of two focus groups. The study found that interventions are needed among HF patient caregivers and should focus on education in family structures, family functioning and skills training in family assessment and engagement. The study is published in the Ochsner Journal, 2017.

Dr. Kennedy and a fellow CAB member submitted a Letter of Inquiry for a Tier A Cycle 1 Award in the amount of $50,000 to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), April 20, 2017 to plan the proposal: "Capacity Building for a Community-Based Participatory Research Model of Caregiver Interventions." Although HF is the specific focus, caregiving has a spillover effect and encompasses all chronic diseases across the lifespan from birth to death.

Dr. Kennedy's other research experience includes: obesity intervention models utilizing nutrition education and physical activity components for families in rural and urban populations; participation of African Americans in clinical research trials; cultural diversity training, community-based participatory research models for health promotion programs and interventions, and qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Dr. Kennedy is a member of the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN). 

Highlighted Publications:

Kennedy BM, Jaligam V, Conish BK, Johnson WD, Melancon B, Katzmarzyk PT. Exploring patient, caregiver, and healthcare provider perceptions of caring for patients with heart failure: What are the implications? Ochsner J. 2017;17:93-102.  PMID: 28331455 PMC5349645

Kennedy BM, Kennedy KB, Sarpong DF, Katzmarzyk PT. Perceptions of Obesity Treatment Options among Low-Income Primary Care Patients and Healthcare Providers.  Ochsner J. 2016;16:158-165. PMID: 27303227 PMCID: 4896661 PMC4896661

Whitt-Glover MC, Borden SL, Alexander DA, Kennedy BM, Goldmon MV. "Recruiting African American churches to participate in research: the Learning and Developing Individual Exercise Skills (L.A.D.I.E.S.) for a Better Life Study."  Health Promot Pract. 2016;17(2):297-306. PMID: 26724311 PMC4755851

Kennedy BM, Cerise F, Horswell R, Griffin WP, Willis KH, Moody-Thomas S, Besse JA, Katzmarzyk PT. Obtaining the Patient's Voice from within Three Patient-Centered Medical Homes. Clin Transl Sci. 2015;8(4):367-75.  PMID:  25066616 PMCID: PMC4698353

Kennedy BM, Katzmarzyk PT, Johnson WD, Johnson GS, McGee BB, Champagne CM, Harsha DW, Crawford T, Ryan DH. People United to Sustain Health (PUSH): a community-based participatory research study. Clin Transl. Sci. 2014 Apr; 7(2): 108-14. PMID: 24405579 PMCID: PMC4006294.

Kennedy BM, Ryan DH, Johnson WD, Harsha DW, Newton RL Jr, Champagne CM, Allen HR, Katzmarzyk PT. Baton Rouge Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Program (BR-HELP): A Pilot Health Promotion Program. J Prev Interv Community. 2015;43(2):95-108. PMID: 25898217 PMCID:  PMC4419749

Gollub EA, Kennedy BM, Bourgeois B, Broyles S, Katzmarzyk PT. Engaging communities to develop and sustain comprehensive wellness policies: Louisiana's schools putting prevention to work. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:130-149. PMID: 24602588 PMCID: PMC3945076

Kennedy BM, Katzmarzyk PT, Johnson WD, Griffin WP, Kennedy KB, Cefalu WT, Ryan DH. Perceptions community residents have about partner institutions and clinical research. Clin Transl Sci. 2013 Dec; 6(6): 469-73. PMID: 24138681 PMCID: PMC3971466.

Kennedy BM, Moody-Thomas, S, Katzmarzyk PT, et al. Evaluating a patient-centered medical home from the patient's perspective. Ochsner J 2013;13(3):343-351. PMID: 24052763 PMCID: PMC3776509