Mary Beth Weber, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor of Global Health | Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University


Dr. Weber conducts mixed methods studies, including techniques to gather and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data. Her recent research in these areas includes the South Asian Health and Prevention Education study (SHAPE) and the Diabetes Community Lifestyle Improvement Program (D-CLlP). SHAPE is a planning and pilot feasibility study ( #NCT01084928). They conducted 17 focus group discussions with adult South Asians living in Atlanta to better understand views of diabetes and other chronic diseases, diet and physical activity behaviors, and preferences for diabetes prevention efforts in this community. They then used this information to modify the U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP, a lifestyle intervention program which significantly reduced incidence of diabetes in high risk groups) to be culturally appropriate and acceptable to the U.S. South Asian community. They then tested the feasibility of identifying, recruiting, enrolling, and maintaining South Asians in the program in a small before and after pilot study. In addition, they performed a secondary analysis of the focus group discussion data to compare the quality of transcripts created by student transcribers using audiotapes of the discussions to transcripts created in real-time by professional court reporters. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the SHAPE study, as well as planning for a larger trial based on the SHAPE study results, is on-going. The goals of the D-CLIP randomized controlled trial ( #NCT01283308) are to assess the effectiveness (in terms of reducing diabetes incidence and increasing incidence of regression to normoglycemia), cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of a culturally tailored, step-wise, lifestyle intervention program for diabetes prevention in a randomized controlled trial in Chennai, India. The D-CLIP study included community-based screening on almost 20,000 people, clinic-based screening on 1,285, and randomization of 602 overweight or obese Asian Indians with pre-diabetes. The intervention included 6 months of group-based, culturally tailored diabetes education classes, with metformin (a glucose lowering drug) added at months four or later for participants not responding to lifestyle change alone. The D-CLIP trial closes out in September 2013, with reporting of primary results expected in early 2014.