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Project Title

Scaling up the Med-South Lifestyle Program to Reduce Chronic Disease in Partnership with Rural Communities

Funding Dates



Med-South Lifestyle Program LogoThis project is studying the most efficient and effective ways to scale up a previously proven lifestyle intervention, the Med-South Lifestyle Program, for use in public health and clinical practice settings so that it reaches people of color, rural residents, and medically underserved populations.

The Med-South Lifestyle Program is an evidence-based, behavior change intervention that translates a Mediterranean dietary pattern for the Southeastern U.S. population. Med-South also includes support for increased physical activity and has optional smoking cessation and medication adherence components. In previous research, the program has resulted in positive health outcomes for hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Although the scientific rationale for implementing lifestyle interventions is robust, evidence is limited on supporting broad-scale implementation of these interventions in clinical and public health settings. This project is using a three-phase approach to scale the Med-South Lifestyle Program:

  • Phase 1: Identify facilitators and barriers to implementation and develop, pilot test, and refine implementation strategies that will be used to take Med-South to scale.
  • Phase 2: Apply an effectiveness-implementation hybrid Type 3 design to compare two formats for scaling up Med-South on implementation outcomes (primary aim) and confirm Med-South impact on behavioral and clinical outcomes (secondary aim).
  • Phase 3: Initiate Med-South’s full-scale implementation in North Carolina in coordination with North Carolina’s current transition to Medicaid Managed Care.

This project is the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention’s 2019-2024 core research project as a CDC Prevention Research Center.

Research Areas 

Cardiovascular Health, Obesity, and Diabetes
Health Equity
Healthy Food Access
Nutrition and Physical Activity
Rural Health

Principal Investigators

Carmen Samuel-Hodge, PhD, RD and Jennifer Leeman, DrPH, MDiv


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Med-South Lifestyle Program
Med-South Lifestyle Program One-Pager (PDF)
Med-South Lifestyle Program Materials (Manual and Cookbook)
CDC renews HPDP’s center grant to study chronic disease prevention