Family PArtners in Lifestyle Support (PALS): Family-based weight loss for African American adults with type 2 diabetes.


OBJECTIVE: To develop and test a family-centered behavioral weight loss intervention for African American adults with type 2 diabetes. METHODS: In this randomized trial, dyads consisting of an African American adult with overweight or obesity and type 2 diabetes (index participant) paired with a family partner with overweight or obesity but not diagnosed with diabetes were assigned in a 2:1 ratio to a 20-week special intervention (SI) or delayed intervention (DI) control group. The primary outcome was weight loss among index participants at the 20-week follow-up. RESULTS: One hundred eight participants (54 dyads-36 (SI) and 18 (DI) dyads) were enrolled: 81% females; mean age, 51 years; mean weight,103 kg; and mean BMI, 37 kg/m(2) . At post-intervention, 96 participants (89%) returned for follow-up measures. Among index participants, mean difference in weight loss between groups was -5.0 kg, P <0.0001 (-3.6 kg loss among SI; 1.4 kg gain in DI). SI index participants showed significantly greater improvements in hemoglobin A1c, depressive symptoms, family interactions, and dietary, physical activity, and diabetes self-care behaviors. SI family partners also had significant weight loss (-3.9 kg (SI) vs. -1.0 kg (DI), P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: A family-centered, behavioral weight loss intervention led to clinically significant short-term weight loss among family dyads.





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Publication Info

Samuel-Hodge, Carmen D, Judith C Holder-Cooper, Ziya Gizlice, Gwendolyn Davis, Sonia P Steele, Thomas C Keyserling, Shiriki K Kumanyika, Phillip J Brantley, et al. (2017). Family PArtners in Lifestyle Support (PALS): Family-based weight loss for African American adults with type 2 diabetes. Obesity (Silver Spring), 25(1). pp. 45–55. 10.1002/oby.21700 Retrieved from

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Judith Claire Holder-Cooper

Adjunct Associate Professor of the Practice of Medical Education

Dr. Judith Holder has over 30-years of experience in the human service, healthcare, corporate, and nonprofit sectors as a consultant, executive leadership, performance, communication, interpersonal and life coach, trainer, facilitator, administrator, and psychologist, which has positioned her well to empower individuals, teams and organizations.  She has a diverse background in change management, leadership development, communication dynamics, and the competing stressors confronting medical/healthcare and corporate cultures and workforces.  Judith’s passion is to empower leaders, teams, and organizations to maximize their potential.  She uses her rich background of clinical, consulting and facilitative skills to collaborate with leaders and managers in the honing of the people skills needed to lead effectively and in understanding the psychosocial factors impacting employee sub-optimal performance and well-being.

Some of Judith’s niche areas of expertise include enhancing self-awareness, emotional intelligence competencies, onboarding processes, team dynamics, diversity, corporate, nonprofit and medical culture-politics, personal impact and stress resilience, work-life balance and self-care, interpersonal effectiveness, public image, critical incident debriefings, life transitions, and pre-retirement/retirement pliability. Dr. Holder truly believes that if new and seasoned leaders are aware of their impact on others, and strive to improve their interpersonal and execution skills, the results are positive gains for the organization and the people they lead.  In addition, Dr. Holder works with professionals who are in transition and experience anticipated as well as unexpected lifestyle changes.
Dr. Holder enjoys humor and exhibits a holistic, straightforward approach to her coaching and consulting engagements.  She supports new and seasoned leaders to enhance their professional abilities to exceed performance expectations through:  values clarification, attentiveness to organizational cultural factors, and knowledge regarding their interpersonal and communication skills through emotional intelligence awareness, along with balancing all aspects of the professional’s life.  Further, many professionals and executives work in team environments where it is critical for the leader to have an awareness of each member’s talents, styles and barriers to success. It is also imperative in today’s work environments to have strategic alliances that support the business goals.  Judith focuses her coaching and consulting in the arenas most helpful to the leader, which may involve building leader strengths, supporting leaders’ in developing their direct reports, creating strategic alliances and honing interpersonal skills.

Dr. Holder received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in stress management from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a master’s degree in Systems Dynamics (Marriage and Family Therapy and Community Development-Prevention) from the University of Maryland-College Park.  As a former American Psychological Association and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health fellow, Judith is one of the few psychologists clinically trained as an Occupational Health Psychologist in the United States. She is a adjunct assistant professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health Nursing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  

Judith has specialized training in personal, professional, executive, leadership, and business coaching from the UNC Charlotte Business Coaching Program™, MentorCoach™, CoachU™, Masterful Coaching™, and Physician Leadership Institute™ Advanced Certificate Program. Dr. Holder is a licensed psychologist, a Board Certified Coach (BCC) and a member of the International Coach Federation.(ICF). She designed the LEAD coaching and consulting programs for physicians and healthcare professionals, and a network of LEAD Premier Coaches who have an exclusive contractual arrangement to provide their services through Duke PPDP.  They work closely with Judith in providing individual and team coaching and consulting services.  Dr. Holder is perceptive to her healthcare, corporate, and nonprofit clients’ needs and collaborative in working with them to achieve optimal results in her coaching and consulting engagements.

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Laura Pat Svetkey

Professor of Medicine

Laura P. Svetkey, MD MHS is Professor of Medicine/Nephrology, Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity in the Department of Medicine. She is also the Director of Duke’s CTSA-sponsored internal career development award program (KL2) and the Associate Director of Duke’s REACH Equity Disparities Research Center, in which she also leads the Investigator Development Core.

Dr. Svetkey has over 30 years of experience in the investigation of hypertension, obesity, and related areas, conducting NIH-sponsored clinical research ranging from behavioral intervention trials to metabolomics and genetics, with a consistent focus on prevention, non-pharmacologic intervention, health disparities and minority health. Her research has affected national guidelines, having served on the 2013 national Hypertension Guideline Panel (JNC) and the Lifestyle Guideline Working Group. She is an American Society of Hypertension certified hypertension specialist, and a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). She is the Associate Director, Core Director and Project PI of Duke’s NIH-sponsored REACH Equity Disparities Research Center (PI: Kimberly Johnson).

As Department of Medicine Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity, she implements a wide range of programs to enhance the experience and advancement of faculty and trainees, with particular emphasis on those from racial and ethnic groups under-represented in medicine, and women.

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