Kent State Professor Dr. Melissa Zullo Receives Award
Kent State University Professor Dr. Melissa Zullo was presented the Beginning Investigator Award by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). Dr. Zullo is an assistant professor of epidemiology in Kent State’s new College of Public Health. Her research was presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of the AACVPR on Oct. 1, 2009.
The mission of the AACVPR is to reduce morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease and to improve the quality of life in people with established disease. The AACVPR represents healthcare professionals and researchers in the area of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation, publishes guidelines for the field and accredits rehabilitation programs.
Dr. Zullo’s research, conducted in collaboration with Drs. Leila Jackson and Mary Dolansky from Case Western Reserve University, examined cardiac rehabilitation programs' practices and interventions related to modifying metabolic syndrome, and cardiac rehabilitation staffs’ knowledge and beliefs related to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of metabolic risk factors including abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, increased blood pressure, and insulin resistance. People with metabolic syndrome are at high risk for diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancers. The prevalence of this syndrome nationally is 24 percent and in cardiac rehabilitation approximately 50 percent; however, it is increasing worldwide due in part to its close ties with the obesity epidemic.
Findings from Dr. Zullo’s research indicated that opportunities exist to better manage patients with metabolic syndrome as currently less than 25 percent of cardiac rehabilitation programs in Ohio assess their patients for the syndrome and few have guidelines for interventions. Improving care for these patients could reduce their risk for disease and death. Her research has been submitted for publication.
A resident of Solon, Ohio, Dr. Zullo joined the Kent State faculty in August 2009 and is a Kent State alumna (BA 1994, MA 1998, MPH 2004). Her research is in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors through modification of biobehavioral, environmental and system-level factors.
For more information on Kent State’s College of Public Health, visit www.kent.edu/academics/publichealth.
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