Dr. Ogedegbe studies ways to reduce racial disparities and improve high blood pressure in Black communities. He teaches population health and medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and is the founding director of the Institute for Excellence in Health Equity at NYU Langone Health. Although most of his research relates to high blood pressure and heart disease risk factors, Dr. Ogedegbe has also studied blood and sleep disorders like sickle cell disease and sleep apnea. With the help of NHLBI funding, his work extends around the globe. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. Ogedegbe works to improve research capacity and reduce the burden of heart disease. “NHLBI is the single most important contributor to my career in the United States and Africa,” he said. “NHLBI allows me to fulfill my areas of interest and motivates what I do.”

Fast Facts. NHLBI has studied behavioral interventions for decades. These studies examine the lifestyles and habits of people with chronic diseases and find ways to encourage them to improve their health. Behavioral interventions can include offering health education in a new way, in a new setting, or from a new source.

Sweet Inspiration. Dr. Ogedegbe believes in investing in people. Sometimes that means working to target health disparities that drive the behaviors leading to poor health. It also means making sure these research efforts continue. With the help of NHLBI’s Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS), Dr. Ogedegbe’s group has developed a strategy to train the next generation of scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa to research heart disease.

Dr. Ogedegbe facilitating a capacity-building session for community health workers in Ghana.
Dr. Ogedegbe facilitating a capacity-building session for community health workers in Ghana.

Big Impact. Findings from Dr. Ogedegbe’s NHLBI-funded studies are changing the way health providers manage high blood pressure around the world. In Ghana and Nigeria, the findings helped create policies that led to new methods for improving patient outcomes. Now, for example, nurses are taught how to use lifestyle counseling, cardiovascular risk assessments, and medication dosing regimens more effectively. Dr. Ogedegbe’s group was also the first in Ghana and Nigeria to teach health providers on the use of “motivational interviewing” techniques: a behavioral counseling strategy that includes helping patients remember to take their medicine and adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

Bright Future. In the future, Dr. Ogedegbe wants to help build systems that address the socioeconomic factors that impact health. “We’ve developed strategies to improve heart disease outcomes in practice-based settings for Black populations,” he said. “We want to see how we can do a similar thing in community-based settings.” This includes finding ways to promote more evidence-based policy changes, including connecting Black communities with health care systems so health providers can better monitor patient care.