Our Work

Reducing Childhood Obesity; Improving Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Social Support for Families through Community-based Partnerships

Bull City Fit


June 01, 2019 - August 01, 2019

Project Objectives

Children with obesity are at risk for chronic disease. Lifestyle modification is the mainstay of therapy, yet is very challenging to achieve, particularly for families in low-resource settings. Partnerships between clinical and community organizations have the potential to recognize children at risk and provide both high-quality medical care and family-based physical activity and nutrition. Bull City Fit, a local partnership between Duke Children’s and Durham Parks and Recreation, has been operating since 2012.

Project Opportunities

After training with Bull City Fit staff, students will have the opportunity to develop longitudinal relationships with Durham families through volunteer work at Edison Johnson Community Center in Durham. Students must be willing to commit two hours a week starting in the Spring through the end of the summer, and must have their own transportation. In addition to working directly with children, students will complete an 8-week intensive project during the summer (listed summer dates may change).

Potential Activities for summer 2019
• Develop sustainable collaborations and service-learning capacity with Bull City Fit staff
• Help collect longitudinal and cross-sectional data using current tools on bio-psycho-social health, including attachment, risk/resiliency, trauma, physical health, growth and nutrition
• Distill findings from last 4 years, combine and help analyze past and current physical and mental health data, write reports to disseminate results for professional staff, children, caretakers, and larger Durham community.
• Explore, develop, and help investigate new tools for nutrition and activity delivery, including videos and other multi-media options
• Active involvement in engaging with and mentoring children and teens at Bull City Fit

Project Application Process

Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to GH-Education@duke.edu by October 2. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. The scheduled interviews for this project location will take place during the week of October 22.

Selected students will also need to complete the Bull City Fit-Duke volunteer application form which includes a background check.
Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen.

Project Selection Criteria


Spanish is helpful but not required

Area of Interest

• Interest in physical activity and nutrition

• Interest in mentoring and working with children and families

• Interest in social science research. Knowledge (course or experience) in research methods, qualitative and/or quantitative data collection and statistical analysis helpful

• Interest in developing models that support capacity building and tasks that allow sustainable transfer of research and policy skills to local leadership.

• Self-motivated learner, passionate about child health and sensitive to low-resource conditions of many of the families that participate

• Ability to work independently as well as in a team of peers, community co-workers and community supervisors in fun and non-competitive fitness environment

• Course work and/or experience in developmental psychology, pediatrics, child/maternal health, and mental health helpful but not required

• Experience with Latino families very helpful but not required. Of primary importance: Cross-cultural sensitivity openness, interest in self-reflection

• Professionalism and maturity in working with care-providers, health workers, and staff.

• Excellent organizational and communication skills required

• Team members will be required to participate in weekly team training meetings and engage actively in post-fieldwork follow-up tasks

Project Application Deadline


Project Placements Available


Project Status



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