Joshua Joseph, MD, FAHA Brings Research Into Our Communities
Over the past four years, Joshua Joseph, MD, FAHA, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and member of the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center, has been working hard to advance the treatment and prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Throughout his career, Dr. Joseph has been committed to improving the health of communities in central Ohio and beyond.
Dr. Joseph’s career was forged by a formative, personal experience. After a long battle with type 2 diabetes, his grandmother had a heart attack and died. Seeing the impact of diabetes on his grandmother’s health up close, Dr. Joseph became determined to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease by creating impactful research that expanded into communities to make a difference.
Dr. Joseph’s interest in community research led him to epidemiology, the study and analysis of patterns and causes of health and disease conditions in populations. In addition to being an epidemiologist, Dr. Joseph is a physician-scientist. Not only does he spend time in clinic seeing and advising patients, he devotes a large portion of his time to scientific research. Dr. Joseph strongly believes that while data is important, using that data to transform the health of a community is life changing. Four key projects that align with Dr. Joseph’s philosophy are:
Exercise Is Medicine (EIM)
Physical activity is critical to the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. EIM is a community-based, 11-week program designed to increase physical activity via personal instruction and group classes. Participants are referred to the program by a physician and work in coordination with the YMCA, Columbus Recreation and Parks, Worthington Community Center and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany. For this program, Dr. Joseph’s group performs quality improvement research to evaluate changes in important components of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including blood pressure and physical activity.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Diabetes and Depressive Symptoms
More than 1 in 5 people with diabetes has symptoms of depression. Management strategies for diabetes and depressive symptoms are critical. Dr. Joseph is collaborating with Sophie Lazarus, PhD, an assistant professor in the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, on an eight-week program focused on mindfulness to combat diabetes and depression. The program evaluates mental and physical wellness, along with change in hemoglobin A1c (a marker of blood glucose control over a three-month period). Two group sessions are complete with a plan for future sessions.
Cooking Matters for Diabetes
Nutrition is a key factor in diabetes prevention and management. Dr. Joseph, Jenny Shrodes, RD, LD, CDCES, and Jessica Radabaugh, MS, are conducting a 60-person clinical trial testing the effectiveness of a six-week, diabetes-focused cooking class. A registered dietician and chef lead the class in collaboration with Local Matters, a nonprofit organization in Columbus, Ohio that’s working to create healthy communities through food education, access and advocacy.
Creating Healthier Communities through Meaningful Partnerships: A Model from the National African American Male Wellness Initiative
OSU Partnership: Black Impact 100 – Ohio is 43rd in the nation in overall population health. Currently, African American men in Ohio suffer disproportionately from hypertension, diabetes and cancer, leading to far shorter life expectancy compared to other racial/ethnic groups and women. To improve the health of this group, Dr. Joseph has partnered with fellow Ohio State researchers Timiya Nolan, PhD, APRN-CNP, ANP-BC, and Darrell Gray II, MD, MPH, alongside the National African American Male Wellness Initiative and many community partners on a 24-week physical activity and lifestyle program. The team has already recruited 100 men for this program, which will take place at community recreation centers throughout Columbus. The project will commence when all of the safety precautions are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this project is to advance health equity in this important population.
In addition to his research, Dr. Joseph believes in the power of community engagement. He gets involved with communities not only locally, but throughout the United States. He is passionate about advocating for and educating on the importance of the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7,” seven health factors and behaviors—total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, dietary intake, tobacco use, physical activity and body weight—that promote cardiovascular health and healthy aging. Dr. Joseph often discusses these seven factors in his community outreach efforts to increase awareness of how important their impact is to an individual’s health.
These are just some examples of the many research projects focused on bringing science and research out of the lab and into people’s lives. You can find more information on Dr. Joseph and his research efforts at u.osu.edu/josephlab.