Community Outreach


The Division of Scientific Education at Pennington Biomedical in close collaboration with our NORC conducts two flagship community education and outreach events each year: The Irene W. Pennington Wellness Day for Women in February and The Men’s Health Conference in August. These events have proven to be great opportunities for the lay community to learn about the many research studies that are being conducted at Pennington Biomedical and within this NORC.

Wellness day for Women: Annually, this event brings together 600-800 women from the community to engage in a valuable information exchange directly relating to issues of women’s health, nutrition, and wellness. Each year, the program activities include a keynote address, 5-7 short educational sessions, interaction with local health and wellness exhibitors, and a multitude of free health screenings from blood pressure and cholesterol checks to free mammograms. Over the past 5 yrs, an average of 790 women have registered to attend on an annual basis and 88% of those opted to be contacted for research opportunities at Pennington Biomedical.

Womens Health Fitness Demo Womens Wellness Lower Level
Wellness Day for Women attendees stretch out
during the morning Fitness Demonstration
Attendees stop at informational
booths during the day

Men’s Health Conference: Similar to the Wellness Day for Women, the Men's Health Conference is an annual event that offers educational sessions on a variety of important men’s health topics, including urology, cardiology, preventive care, nutrition, cancer, and Medicare changes. In addition to the educational sessions, this event also includes health and wellness exhibitors, and free health screenings. Over the past 5 years, an average of 735 men have registered each year and 83% opted to be contacted for future opportunities at Pennington Biomedical.

Mens Health Garret Graves Mens Health Heymsfield Breakout
Senator Garret Graves gives Keynote Address at the 2019 Men’s Health Conference Educational break-out session on “Diet and Exercise to Improve Longevity”. Speaker - Steve Heymsfield, M.D., Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Other Community Outreach Events: In addition to these annual flagship community outreach events, the enrichment program staff attends numerous community events each year. We began tracking our participation in these events in December 2017. In both 2018 and 2019 we hosted or attended 293 independent events in the greater Baton Rouge Area. We place emphasis on trying to reach underserved communities and under-represented minority groups. For example, the Sickle Cell 5K Run in August which raises awareness for Sickle Cell Disease attracts ~600 registrants and MLK Back to School Bash in July attracts ~400 registrants and majority are African American. Other examples include NORC member participation in school science fairs such as the Glen Oaks Park Elementary School which is a primarily under-represented minority school. Importantly, we also began tracking the number of attendees at these events who interact with our enrichment and outreach teams and those who opt-in to the Pennington clinical trial listserv which has averaged close to 5,000 new engagements each year.

Rolling Store 30 Students
Rolling Store Empower 225, February 8, 2020 30 High School Students received groceries to take home to their families from Empower 225 - Rolling Store February 8, 2020

Outreach to the medical community: Pennington Biomedical joined Cleveland Clinic to co-host the Annual Diabetes, Obesity, and Cardiology Summit. This annual event includes presentations, workshops, and discussions about innovative solutions and new strategies for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease management. The objective is to highlight the causes of obesity and diabetes, preventive strategies, and therapeutic management approaches. Participants include healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, and other allied health professionals in obesity-related fields who obtain continuing medical education (CME) credits. This event promotes interaction between Pennington Biomedical and Cleveland Clinic faculty as well as the local healthcare community and helps foster more research and collaboration opportunities.