The Center for Global Health and Development, on behalf of the College of Public Health, signed two MOU’s with Hacettepe University, the preeminent health sciences academic training institution in Turkey. The COPH is committed to nurture this important partnership in ways which maximize the impact of collaborations that not only benefits Nebraska and Turkey but also extends to the region and the world at large.
The agreements are with the (1) Institute of Public Health and (2) Institute of Population Studies and are designed to provide a framework for collaborations including joint research projects, student and faculty exchanges, and the co-hosting of conferences and workshops. The initial collaboration is being undertaken in the area of childhood obesity as part of Nebraska University’s institutional interest on establishing global and comprehensive early childhood development and health programs. The project is co-funded by the Rector of Hacettepe University, Professor A. Murat Tuncer, M.D and the Office of the President, the University of Nebraska. The central goal of the project is to conduct a population-based random cluster survey of parent-child dyads in Ankara, Turkey, to understand the individual and familial factors that are associated with childhood overweight and obesity and that might be relevant to parental support. This proposal will leverage the unique partnership between investigators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health (Drs Ozgur Araz and Terry Huang), and Hacettepe University Institute of Public Health (Drs Hilal Ozcebe and Sarp Uner). The investigators from the University of Nebraska Medical Center are helping to develop the surveys while investigators at Hacettepe University will conduct the surveys of parents and children through local schools. By the successful completion of this pilot project, associations between parental factors and child body mass index (BMI) and overweight status across low, middle and high SES in Turkey will be assessed along with associations between child factors and child BMI. More importantly associations between parental perceptions of obesity and level of support for potential obesity policies and interventions will be assessed and evaluated. Finally, message frames that parents believe are most favorable reasons for obesity policy actions will be determined. Plans are to explore expanding the relationship to address other issues of importance in Turkey and towards which our joint efforts would make a significant contribution not locally but across the region and globally.