The Impact of Racial Disparities on Obesity and COVID-19 Care


Robert F. Kushner, MD, MS, DABOM
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Medical Education
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Robert F. Kushner, MD, MS, DABOM
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Medical Education

Robert Kushner is Professor of Medicine and Medicine Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine in Chicago, IL, USA. After finishing a residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University, he went on to complete a post-graduate fellowship in Clinical Nutrition and earned a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Nutritional Biology from the University of Chicago. Dr. Kushner is past-President of The Obesity Society (TOS), the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists (ABPNS), and a founder and past-Chair of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM). He was awarded the 2016 Clinician-of-the-Year Award by The Obesity Society, the John X. Thomas, Jr. Best Teachers of Feinberg Award at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2017, and the Friend Award by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Weight Management Group in 2020.

Dr. Kushner has authored over 250 original articles, reviews, books and book chapters covering medical nutrition, medical nutrition education, and obesity, and is an internationally recognized expert on the care of patients who are overweight or obese. He is author/editor of multiple books including Nutrition and Bariatric Surgery (CRC Press, 2015), “Lifestyle Medicine: A Manual for Clinical Practice” (Springer, 2016), Obesity Medicine, Medical Clinics of North America (Elsevier, 2018), Creating a Lifestyle Medicine Center (Springer, 2020), and “Primary Care: Evaluation and Management of Obesity” (Wolter Kluwer, 2022). His latest popular book is “Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!” (Eat Right Press, 2020). Dr. Kushner’s research interests include medical and obesity education, and lifestyle and pharmacological approaches to obesity.

Donna H. Ryan, MD
Professor Emerita
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, New Orleans, LA
Donna H. Ryan, MD
Professor Emerita

Donna H. Ryan, MD is Professor Emerita at Pennington Biomedical in Baton Rouge, LA and currently serves as Past President of World Obesity Federation. Dr. Ryan is Associate Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Obesity, and has authored more than 250 publications.

Statement of Need

According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016, and since the first known case of COVID-19 in December 2019 through May 23, 2021, there have been 167 million cases reported worldwide, and more than 3.4 million deaths. Obesity is a risk factor for adverse outcomes in COVID-19, tripling the risk of hospitalization and also increasing the risk for mechanical ventilation and death. This has led to obesity and COVID-19 being considered a syndic, or synergistic epidemic, which is when two or more epidemics interact synergistically. The result of their interaction contributes to excess disease burden in a population. Due to social determinants of health including racial and ethnic discrimination, access to healthy food and health care, location and physical environment, socioeconomic status, education, and social and community context, there are many common underpinnings between obesity, chronic diseases, and COVID-19.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this CME/CE activity, participants should be able to:

  • Describe how disparities manifest in patients with obesity.
  • Develop two strategies to address disparities in patients with obesity that contract COVID-19.

Financial Support

Supported by an educational grant from Novo Nordisk Inc.

Target Audience

Primary care physicians, endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, PAs, nurses, and pharmacists

Credit Information

Physicians (ACCME) 1.0

CME Outfitters, LLC, designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Note to Nurse Practitioners

Nurse Practitioners can apply for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). AANP will accept AMA PRA Category 1 Credit  from organizations accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Nurse practitioners can also apply for credit through their state boards.

Pharmacists/Pharmacy Tech (ACPE) 1.0

This application-based activity is approved for 1.0 contact hour (0.10 CEUs) of continuing pharmacy credit.


Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 1.0 medical knowledge MOC point in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider's responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

Royal College MOC

Through an agreement between the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, medical practitioners participating in the Royal College MOC Program may record completion of accredited activities registered under the ACCME’s “CME in Support of MOC” program in Section 3 of the Royal College’s MOC Program.

MIPS Improvement Activity

Completion of this accredited CME activity meets the expectations of an Accredited Safety or Quality Improvement Program (IA_PSPA_28) for the Merit-based Incentive Payment Program (MIPS). Clinicians should submit their improvement activities by attestation via the CMS Quality Payment Program website.

Note to PAs

AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit  from organizations accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

Disclosure Declaration

It is the policy of CME Outfitters, LLC, to ensure independence, balance, objectivity, and scientific rigor and integrity in all of their CE activities. Faculty must disclose to the participants any relationships with commercial companies whose products or devices may be mentioned in faculty presentations, or with the commercial supporter of this CE activity. CME Outfitters, LLC, has evaluated, identified, and attempted to resolve any potential conflicts of interest through a rigorous content validation procedure, use of evidence-based data/research, and a multidisciplinary peer review process. The following information is for participant information only. It is not assumed that these relationships will have a negative impact on the presentations.

Dr. Kushner reports that he receives research support from Epitomee Medical. He is a consultant for Novo Nordisk and WW International, Inc.

Dr. Ryan reports that she is on the speakers bureau for Novo Nordisk. She is a consultant for Alyvant, Inc.; Boeringer Ingelheim; Epitomee; Gila Therapeutics, Inc.; IFA Celtic; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Naturally Slim; Novo Nordisk; Phenomix Sciences; Real Appeal (United Health); ReDesign Health Inc.; Roman; and Sanofi. She has ownership interest in Epitomee; Gila Therapeutics, Inc.; Phenomix Sciences; ReDesign Health Inc.; Scientific Intake; and Xeno Biosciences Inc.

Michael J. Franks, MSN, AGACNP-BC, FNP, BC (planning committee) has no disclosures to report.

Warren Beckman (planning committee) has no disclosures to report.

Evan Luberger (planning committee) has no disclosures to report.

Jan Perez (planning committee) has no disclosures to report.

Sharon Tordoff (planning committee) has no disclosures to report.

Disclosures were obtained from the CME Outfitters, LLC staff: No disclosures to report.

CME Outfitters, LLC and the faculty do not endorse the use of any product outside of the FDA labeled indications. Medical professionals should not utilize the procedures, products, or diagnosis techniques discussed during this activity without evaluation of their patient for contraindications or dangers of use.

Additional Formats

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NOTE: Pharmacist CE Universal Activity Number, Enduring: JA0007185-0000-21-128-H01-P.


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The Impact of Racial Disparities on Obesity and COVID-19 Care
Event Date: 06/22/2021