Transdisciplinary team science for global health: Case study of the JUS media? Programme

Gail M. Ferguson, Barbara H. Fiese, Michelle R. Nelson, Julie M. Meeks Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The world's most pressing health problems, such as the childhood obesity pandemic, demand creative new solutions. In this article it is argued that psychological theories, concepts, and methods are ripe for integration with those of other disciplines to synthesize innovative transdisciplinary global health solutions. As a model, the process of blending developmental and cross-cultural psychology with health and media sciences to develop a transdisciplinary intervention for youth and families in Jamaica-the J(amaican and) U(nited) S(tates) Media? Programme-is described. Jamaicans on the island are being inundated by the inflow of U.S. media, and those who have internalized U.S. culture and become "Americanized" via a process called remote acculturation are especially vulnerable to negative health habits promoted by U.S. media and advertising. In response, the JUS Media? Programme teaches critical thinking skills about food advertising (especially U.S.-produced) to decrease unhealthy eating among Americanized youth and families in Jamaica. In this article, first, transdisciplinarity is defined and distinguished from other scientific orientations (uni-, multi-, and interdisciplinarity) using the evolution of scholarship within JUS Media? Programme's transdisciplinary team as an example. Next, the application of transdisciplinary team science to global health problems is explained. As an example, the guiding transdisciplinary model for the JUS Media? Programme is described, and the cultural adaptation process used to design the JUS Media? Programme for Jamaican families is detailed. Finally, there is a reflection on best practices for transdisciplinary team leadership and collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-739
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was funded by the Christopher Family Foundation Food and Family Program at the Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois at Urbana−Champaign (75%), and by National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center, Grant R21TW010440 (25%). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. We gratefully acknowledge additional project team members in Jamaica and the United States, especially Brenda Koester, Rachel Powell, Hari Sundaram, Cagla Giray, Regina Ahn, Rosain Stennett, Arianne Anderson, and Tashaine Morrison, as well as the students and staff at our partner schools in Jamaica.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Media literacy
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Remote acculturation
  • Transdisciplinary-interdisciplinary-multidisciplinary

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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