The Maternal Child Health team provides and connects individuals and families to health services available in the community. Through this work, the team seeks to understand health disparities in maternal and infant health among low-income and/or racial and ethnic minority communities in Northwest Arkansas while improving health practices and outcomes for mothers, children, and families.

For more information about the Maternal Child Health Program, please contact Krista Langston at

The Community Programs team works with community partners to create and improve access to resources, healthy foods, health care, and safe places for physical activity for all. Through Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), the Community Programs team has worked to increase nutrition and promote physical activity throughout the state, and to offer better clinical access for Marshallese, Hispanic and rural populations in Northwest Arkansas. As of March 2020, staff have enrolled more than 300 students in the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), which helps students make healthy decisions that will lead to them becoming healthy, thriving adults. Together, the Community Programs team works to build an environment where every person has access to their best health.

For more information on Community Programs, contact Layza Lopez-Love at or Hershell West at

Healthy Food Systems team provides expertise, guidance, and hands-on training to organizations and schools striving to offer nutritious foods and healthy eating habits. Through multiple programs, the team works to ensure that everyone has access to healthy food.

For more information about Healthy Food Systems, contact Bonnie Faitak at


The Health Research Team engages with the community in research to better understand significant health issues that exist, while also providing resources for those facing health disparities. Through Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME) programs, the team works to improve patient-centered care and outcomes among diverse populations affected by Type 2 Diabetes. Through the Diabetes Prevention Program, the Health Research team studies the effectiveness of achieving weight loss between two lifestyle interventions in the Marshallese population, and has implemented similar evaluations in a Faith Based Organization setting in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Our pilot research projects include:

  • A study on the Affordable Care Act and how it affects Marshallese COFA migrants.
  • A study on the prevalence and severity of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among the Marshallese in Arkansas.
  • A pilot study of a family model of diabetes self-management in the Marshallese community, which led to the current PCORI grant.
  • A study on infant feeding practices among Marshallese mothers.
  • A study of health beliefs related to type 2 diabetes among the Marshallese in Arkansas.
  • A needs assessment survey of the greatest health concerns and perceptions of research participation among diverse communities in Northwest Arkansas.
  • A study of participants’ and communities’ perceptions and preferences related to research dissemination.