David O. Garcia, PhD, FACSM, an associate professor of health promotion sciences in the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, was named a member of the NASH kNOWledge board of directors.
NASH kNOWledge is a nonprofit organization with the mission to increase public awareness of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Approximately one-quarter of the U.S. population has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Disparities exist within racial and ethnic groups, with adults of Mexican origin having some of the highest rates of disease.
“It's truly an honor to work with Tony Villiotti, president of NASH kNOWledge, and the board to increase awareness and knowledge of liver disease in communities,” Dr. Garcia said. “In my role, I hope to bring my expertise in working with Hispanic communities to advance the mission of the group and partner to evaluate community outreach efforts to assess the impact of our work.”
“We are excited to add Dr. Garcia to our board because of both his passion to bring awareness of fatty liver disease to the Hispanic community and his hands-on experience in doing so,” Villiotti said. “With David on our board, we hope to expand the work he is doing in southern Arizona to the national Hispanic community.”
At the university, Dr. Garcia is the director of Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud (Committed to Your Health).
“The work of the Nosotros team is centered around taking steps to develop a collaborative care model for liver disease that improves health equity, particularly for those who are under resourced,” Dr. Garcia said.
Risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease include obesity, Type 2 diabetes, physical inactivity and consumption of foods high in simple sugars.
“There is no magic pill to treat this disease,” Dr. Garcia said. “It comes down to living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy body weight. The good news is that it is reversible if detected at earlier stages. We have a FibroScan machine that can help individuals gain knowledge about their liver health.”
NASH kNOWledge is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s tri-state region, which includes Ohio and West Virginia. As a board member, Dr. Garcia said he plans to help expand the organization’s reach to the Southwest.
“The Nosotros team is actively sharing the Spanish website higadograso.org throughout southern Arizona and discussing how we can incorporate community and academic partnerships in both locations,” he said. “We are very excited for future opportunities.”