Linda May, MS, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Dental Medicine Department of Foundational Sciences and Research, has received the Faculty Re-assignment Award for teaching release time for spring 2014 from the ECU Division of Research and Graduate Studies to prepare a competitive grant application to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) for continuation of her ENHANCED by Mom project.
With North Carolina being the 5th worst state for childhood obesity rates, Dr. May studies how physical activity in mothers during pregnancy influences the development of the child before and after birth.
“Although there are many programs targeting children to attenuate or eliminate childhood obesity, few programs begin the intervention during pregnancy,” said May. “From past studies, we know that exercise during pregnancy decreases fat gain and risk of gestational diabetes, and it improves pregnancy outcomes.”
May will seek NIH funding to continue studying pregnant moms and their babies and to take her work a step further by offering education programs for pregnant moms.
She plans to work with the school’s Community Service Learning Centers across the state to partner with pregnant moms and health professionals to explore the effects of obesity during pregnancy on babies and children and to identify barriers to change and solutions.
Dr. May was among nine faculty members to complete the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy in December. The year-long program cultivates scholars who can be leaders in their professions while engaging with communities to improve quality of life.
Dr. May also received a Health Sciences Authors Award this fall from ECU’s Laupus Library in recognition of her 2013 publications, including “Nutritional Habits during Pregnancy: Patient Knowledge and Provider Intervention” in the Journal of Perinatal Education and “Exercise During Pregnancy: The Role of Obstetric
Providers” in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Dr. May teaches anatomy for the School of Dental Medicine and does research in exercise physiology with the College of Health and Human Performance. She published her first book Physiology of Prenatal Exercise and Fetal Development in 2012. She has taught for over fifteen years in subjects including histology, physiology, gross anatomy, and biology.