Call for Abstracts

A book, Obesity Interventions with Underserved U.S. Populations: Evidence and Directions, to be published in early 2013 by Johns Hopkins University Press, will be a collection of papers in the area of obesity/overweight prevention/reduction in underserved communities in the U.S.

This notice is a Call for Abstracts. The editorial team and Advisory Board will select among the abstracts, looking for those of the highest quality that also are likely to contribute to making the book a cohesive whole: the authors of those abstracts will be invited to submit full papers for blind peer review.

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words (excluding references). They should be sent, together with complete author contact information, to no later than 11:59 p.m. on January 23rd, 2012. Full invited papers will be due no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2012.

Inquiries may be directed to Ms. Naa Amponsah at (800) 669-1269 or

The editorial office for this book is the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (JHCPU) and the sponsoring organization is the Aetna Foundation. The Editor is Virginia M. Brennan, PhD, MA (Meharry Medical College) and the Guest Editors are Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH (UPenn Perelman SOM) and Ruth Zambrana, PhD (U. of Maryland, College Park).

We welcome submissions that establish the state of the art for some part of the obesity/overweight epidemic in underserved U.S. communities, with an emphasis on solutions. Such state-of-the-art papers might take the form of:

  • Literature Reviews that encompass what is known and what still must be learned in order to overcome the epidemic for some particular population
  • Commentaries on the development of the obesity/overweightepidemic in the U.S. and/or how to overcome it
  • Reports from the Field that describe innovative and effective programs in underserved communities.

Literature Reviews

We strongly encourage authors with suitable expertise to submit Literature Reviews.

The 250-word abstracts submitted for the January 23rd deadline proposing Literature Reviews on the prevention and reduction of obesity in one or more minority or other underserved population in the U.S. should:

(a) State the particular problem being addressed.

(b) State the intention to review what interventions to address the problem have been evaluated; the nature of those evaluations; and the results of those evaluations; as well as to review what sorts of interventions still must be evaluated – i.e., ones for which the evidence is not firm as to the intervention’s effectiveness.

(c) Fit into the general framework for this book: We would like authors of articles for this book to take a systems perspective, identifying ways that contextual factors bear upon the epidemic of overweight/obesity in underserved communities in the U.S. and on interventions to address these problems.

In evaluating Literature Reviews (the full papers), the reviewers, editors, and advisory board will look for papers that:

(a) enumerate their search criteria, enumerate the date range considered, and name the databases consulted;

(b) discuss what the applications of the work reviewed to the real world are, and how broadly the conclusions might ultimately be generalized (as well as discussing the status of the work in terms of certainty as to causal relationships identified );

(c) explicitly say whether socioeconomic status (solely, or along with other demographic parameters) was taken into account in selecting work for review; and

(d) are tied to one or more of these contextual domains:

  • Characteristics of target population
  • Interpersonal variables (e.g., family patterns)
  • Organizational variables (characteristics of the organization delivering the intervention)
  • Ethnically-specific and/or general social norms and culture
  • Larger political and economic forces.

(e) are between 2,000 and 10,000 words long.

Not all of this must be covered in abstracts for Literature Reviews, but the abstract should indicate that the fully written paper will meet these criteria.


The 250-word abstracts submitted for the January 23rd deadline proposing Commentaries should address a particular topic within the overall area of obesity/overweight reduction/prevention in underserved U.S. communities. The abstracts should provide a good idea of the argument the author will make in the full paper. We will look for emphasis on context in these abstracts as well.

Commentaries (the full papers) should provide an overview of a particular topic within the overall area of obesity/overweight reduction/prevention in underserved U.S. communities, with appropriate references to the empirical literature, and then take a position on it. We will look for emphasis on context in these papers as well. Full papers should be 1,000-4,000 words.

Reports from the Field

For this volume, Reports from the Field are descriptive accounts of programs and other interventions, or of new policies in the area of obesity/overweight prevention/reduction in one or more underserved U.S. communities. While still hewing to the highest standards for timeliness and accuracy, Reports are not structured as research papers and do not contain statistical analyses. Programs and policies that are notable for their innovation, their success, and their replicability will especially interest us. Full papers should be no longer than 2,000 words.

The 250-word abstracts submitted for the January 23rd deadline proposing Reports from the Field should reflect these characteristics and draw attention to the noteworthiness of the program or policy being described, in view of what is already well-established. Emphasis on and description of the larger context in which the program or policy is implemented (and why that context is important to consider) is welcome. Why did you do this (what evidence compelled you to design this program or policy)? What exactly did you do? What happened? Would you do anything differently if you had the opportunity to do it again? Do you think this can work in other communities? Why or why not? Statistical analyses are not suitable given the descriptive nature of Reports from the Field, although some descriptive statistics may be included.

Population Parameters

To develop a topic, choosing among (or combining several of) the following population parameters may prove helpful. While the book will be organized in terms of race/ethnicity, we also welcome work that — while including information about race/ethnicity — also bear on other characteristics of underserved populations, including sexual orientation [LGBT], mental health and cognitive development, disability, and others.


  • African American (or Black)
  • Latino (or Hispanic) broken down by subgroups
  • Non-Hispanic White (or White)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native, broken down by subgroups
  • Pacific Islander, broken down by subgroups
  • Asian Americans, broken down by subgroups
  • Multi-ethnic perspectives

Age groups

  • Children (pre-school, school age, or combined)
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Reproductive-aged women (including pregnancy, post-partum, gestational influences, and infancy)
  • Elderly

Other demographic characteristics

  • Geographic regions
  • Urban areas
  • Rural areas
  • Groups with low socioeconomic status