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PRC Program Held a Seminar Series in Fall 2012: Highlighting Research from 13 PRCs

The PRC Program held a four-part seminar series to showcase 13 examples of prevention research. The seminars were held in the fall of 2012 at CDC and reached approximately 150 CDC staff. The presentation topics, presenters and their PRC affiliations, and brief summaries are listed below.


Image of a young adult coupleSupporting Young Adults’ Sexual Health
Date of seminar: Sept 19, 2012

Children runningChildhood Obesity Prevention Strategies
Date of seminar: October 16, 2012

Image of people joggingWorksite and Clinic Strategies to Reduce Chronic Disease
Date of seminar: November 6, 2012

Image of a variety of fruitImproving Access to Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Date of seminar: November 13, 2012

Supporting Young Adults’ Sexual Health

Teen coupleSexual health interventions tailored toward adolescents and young adults are important to improving the overall health of the population. During this seminar, researchers from four PRCs presented strategies that encourage HIV and STD risk reduction, teen pregnancy prevention, and HPV vaccine promotion, and discussed each project’s potential for wide-scale dissemination.

Richard Crosby, PhD, from the University of Kentucky PRC
Bradley Boekeloo, PhD, ScM, from the University of Maryland PRC
Susan Morrel-Samuels, MA, MPH, from the University of Michigan PRC
Melissa Peskin, PhD, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston PRC

September 19, 2012

  • Researchers from the University of Kentucky PRC tested the effectiveness of an informational DVD designed to encourage women ages 18-26 to complete doses 2 and 3 of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Findings indicate that utilization of the DVD did increase HPV vaccination completion rates and could be applicable to other rural populations.

  • The University of Maryland PRC surveyed 24 HIV prevention organizations—12 located in the city of Washington, DC, and 12 in the Maryland suburbs—to determine their success rates in meeting HIV prevention goals within and across their jurisdictions. These findings highlight the opportunities and challenges of organizations to work across jurisdictional borders, an issue mirrored in many urban/suburban epidemics across the country.

  • The University of Michigan PRC, local health departments, and other partners collaborated to enhance an evidence-based HIV/STI prevention program for 18-24 year olds with social networking and Web 2.0 technologies. The HIV/STD Outreach, Prevention, and Education (HOPE) program and preliminary results of a comparison of the HOPE program alone to the program plus social media enhancements were presented.

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston PRC discussed their work with school district stakeholders to develop and test a strategy called CHoosing And Maintaining Programs for Sex education in Schools (CHAMPSS). CHAMPSS is designed to assist schools in the discovery, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of evidence-based sexual health programs. Discussion covered the effectiveness of this strategy which provides guidance for school districts to gain widespread support to implement evidence-based sexual health programs, integrate them into current practices, and minimize school- and district-level barriers.

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Childhood Obesity Prevention Strategies

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years. Children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for associated health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Because most children spend half their waking hours in a school setting each week, many interventions that address childhood obesity are implemented in Children runningpartnership with schools. During this seminar, researchers from three PRCs presented their school-based childhood obesity prevention projects and discussed each project’s potential for wide-scale dissemination.

Mark Benden, PhD, DPE, from the Texas A&M Health Science Center PRC
Theresa Cruz, PhD, from the University of New Mexico PRC
Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH, from the New York University PRC

October 16, 2012

  • Dr. Benden from the Texas A&M Health Science Center PRC shared results from a pilot study which compared the caloric expenditure and other outcomes among students in traditional classrooms with classrooms outfitted with stand-biased desks and stools. Successful expansion of stand-biased desks into additional classrooms in Texas and current research to test academic and health benefits of standing in the classroom were discussed.

  • The New Mexico Department of Health and the University of New Mexico PRC partnered to develop a statewide childhood obesity surveillance system. The presentation included obesity surveillance results from a representative sample of 28 public elementary schools. The health department and the PRC mutually benefitted from the availability of reliable data, including documentation of obesity prevalence (30.5% of kindergarten students and almost 38.6% of third graders were found to be overweight or obese), determination of health disparities (American Indian and Hispanic kindergarteners were more than twice as likely as white students to be obese), and evaluation of obesity interventions. View the 2011 New Mexico Childhood Obesity Report [PDF–651K].

  • New York City (NYC) public schools, with assistance from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department of Education and New York University PRC, placed water jets in school cafeterias. Researchers interviewed school staff, surveyed nearly 3,000 5th, 8th, and 11th graders, and observed all the students in their cafeterias. This relatively easily implemented initiative for encouraging a healthy beverage choice among youth showed promising result, increasing water consumption at lunchtime. Researchers are working on final analysis and scientific journal article.

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Worksite and Clinic Strategies to Reduce Chronic Disease

Workers exercising

Worksites and health clinics reach large numbers of people every day, making them a great place to deliver health promotion strategies. During this seminar, each presenter described a health promotion strategy implemented in a worksite or health clinic and discussed strategies for wide-scale dissemination.

Peggy Hannon, PhD, MPH, from the University of Washington PRC
Rudolph Fedrizzi, MD, from the Dartmouth College PRC
Milagros Rosal, PhD, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School PRC

November 6, 2012

  • The University of Washington PRC developed and tested two workplace health promotion interventions. These interventions aim to assist employers’ adoption and implementation of evidence-based cancer screening, physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco cessation strategies. The presentation described the implementation of HealthLinks and Workplace Solutions to over 1,500 employers nationwide through the PRC’s partnership with the American Cancer Society.

  • The University of Massachusetts Medical School PRC developed and tested the impact of three narrative-based interventions—a written story, a telenovela, and patients’ testimonials—implemented in clinical settings on improving clinical measures, such as blood pressure and blood glucose, among Latinos and African Americans. These interventions can be used with a variety of diverse populations and settings, take many formats, reach individuals in a culturally sensitive and literacy appropriate manner, target knowledge and attitudes while preventing cognitive resistance, and model desirable behaviors and skills necessary for health behavior change.

  • To raise awareness of high blood pressure prevention and improve blood pressure screening, the Dartmouth College PRC developed an 8-panel, foldable wallet card and pilot tested it with 50 employees at two worksites. The majority retained their cards at subsequent contacts and more than half shared the card with a friend or family member. The card was inexpensive and easily customized, required a minimal effort to incorporate into clinical work flow, and has the potential to support other campaigns. These promising results encouraged the researchers to disseminate the card in other settings, such as clinics and wellness programs.

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Improving Access to Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

fresh fruit and veggiesSome efforts to prevent and control obesity are specifically designed to change environments and systems to facilitate access to healthy foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. During this seminar, each presenter described research promoting access to healthy eating and discussed each project’s potential for wide-scale dissemination.

Jeanette Gustat, PhD, MPH, from the Tulane University PRC
Pamela J. Murray, MD, from the West Virginia University PRC
Erika Trapl, PhD, from the Case Western Reserve University PRC

November 13, 2012

  • The Tulane University PRC is documenting policy and environmental changes due to the enactment of the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI), a $14 million program which provides low-interest loans to grocers who open stores in underserved areas of New Orleans, Louisiana. The hypothesis is that increased access to supermarkets leads to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, which leads to decreased risk of obesity and better health. PRC researchers described how shopping habits influence diet based on data from 3,000 random telephone surveys conducted at baseline in a neighborhood receiving a new grocery store through the FFRI program.

  • Researchers from the West Virginia University PRC presented formative research results of eating patterns during transportation, or “car calories.” The surveys reported demographics (e.g. age, gender, race, BMI, education) of 76 respondents, time spent traveling, drinks and calories consumed while traveling, influence of others in the car, and reasons to eat or not to eat in the car. Given the substantial number of people who eat meals and snacks in the car, this innovative research has implications for strategies regarding environmental changes and access to healthier food while on the move.

  • The Case Western Reserve University PRC developed a portable tool called FreshLink that can be used to assess fruit and vegetable availability in food retail stores. Dr. Trapl explained how this tool was adopted by local agencies and organizations to identify and address the healthy food gap in Cleveland, Ohio. Other local health departments could use the tool to identify areas with limited access to fruits and vegetables, help guide interventions, monitor effects of these efforts, and help inform obesity prevention research.

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