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Empowering Local Health Departments: A Spotlight on Prevention Research Centers

Apr 10, 2024 | Johanna Segovia

In the ever-evolving landscape of public health, access to evidence-based tools and resources is paramount. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is proud to announce a collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Prevention Research Centers. Together, we are amplifying a breadth of new tools and resources to empower local health departments across the nation.  

At the heart of this initiative lies the network of Prevention Research Centers (PRCs), comprising a diverse array of academic, community, and public health partners united in their dedication to applied public health research. These centers serve as leaders of innovation, driving the development and dissemination of practices proven to prevent and manage chronic diseases.  

PRCs are more than just research institutions; they are catalysts for change at the community level. Through collaborative partnerships and grassroots engagement, these centers translate research findings into actionable policies and practices, directly impacting the health and wellbeing of communities nationwide.  

Over the course of this blog series, we will shine a spotlight on various PRCs and the invaluable, practical, and useful resources they bring to the table. From innovative interventions to robust evidence-based tools, each featured PRC offers a unique perspective on chronic disease prevention and management.  

Continue reading below as we delve into the work of two institutions: The Prevention Research Center at UMass Chan Medical School and the Emory Prevention Research Center.  

Transforming Homes, Transforming Lives: Emory Prevention Research Center - Healthy Homes/Healthy Families

For over a decade, the Emory Prevention Research Center (EPRC) has been on the frontlines of battling the obesity epidemic in rural, southwest Georgia. EPRC has spearheaded research efforts aimed at understanding obesity within familiar settings. They have worked to empower families to make tangible, lasting changes that promote healthier lifestyles and combat the epidemic of obesity.

Healthy Homes/Healthy Families, developed by EPRC, is a research-tested program that harnesses the power of health coaches to guide families on a transformative journey towards better health. From identifying and minimizing the consumption of unhealthy foods to fostering a culture of healthy eating, the program equips families with the tools and knowledge needed to cultivate healthier home environments. Families enrolled in the program experienced improvements in the quality of their diet, consuming fewer calories and shedding excess weight along the way. But perhaps most importantly, these changes were not fleeting; the families continued to embrace healthier habits even a year after participating in the program.  

Interested in learning more? Explore the Healthy Homes/Healthy Families program and discover how you can adapt its principles to your own community.

Emory PRC Contact Information
Michelle C. Kegler, Dr.PH, MPH
Director
[email protected]

Empowering Health Through Partnerships: The Prevention Research Center at UMass Chan Medical School 

Since 2009, the Prevention Research Center at UMass Chan Medical School (PRC at UMass Chan) has been a beacon of progress in public health. For over a decade, the PRC at UMass Chan has spearheaded numerous projects, each aimed at addressing critical public health challenges. Among these initiatives is the Physical Activity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (PAPREN). PAPREN has been a catalyst for transformation by fostering partnerships across sectors and disciplines, harnessing collective expertise and resources of its members to advance evidence-based practice and research in physical activity promotion.  

PAPREN’s success lies in its commitment to collaboration. Through a series of work groups, members can dive deep into priority topic areas related to the built environment and physical activity. If your local health department is interested in becoming a member of PAPREN, you will gain access to a wealth of resources, and collaborative projects aimed at maximizing physical activity and fostering healthier environments in the local community. We invite you to visit the PAPREN website to learn more.  

At the heart of the PRC at UMass Chan’s research portfolio lies BP Control – a program led in partnership with two local community health centers designed to empower individuals in managing their high blood pressure through medication adherence. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a widespread health concern that affects millions across the country. Left uncontrolled, it can lead to severe complications such as heart disease and stroke. Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, the PRC at UMass Chan has developed the BP Control program comprised of five components: 1) Identify; 2) Refer; 3) Deliver; 4) Document; and 5) Track.  Through these five components, the BP Control program can leverage a combination of education, support, and innovative strategies to help individuals take control of their blood pressure.  

To learn more about the BP Control program and access the resources, visit the following links:

PAPREN and PRC at UMass Chan Contact Information
Stephenie C. Lemon, PhD, MS
Director
[email protected]

BP Control Contact Information
Milagros C. Rosal, PhD, MS
Director
[email protected]


About Johanna Segovia

Johanna is a senior program analyst, community health at NACCHO.

More posts by Johanna Segovia

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