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PRC History




Public health leaders propose a network for applied public health research.


Congress authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to select academic health centers to conduct community-based public health research.

CDC is identified as administrator of PRC Program.


PRC Program takes shape as the first three research centers are funded.

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Centers begin collaborating on thematic networks for

  • tobacco prevention & control
  • behavioral risk factor surveillance system
  • school health
  • women’s cardiovascular health
  • oral health

Networking concept continues for new themes; those above have become inactive over time.


Program grows to include seven research centers.


Program expands to nine research centers.

CDC and other federal agencies sponsor additional research by PRCs by funding special interest projects.


Four additional centers bring prevention research to tribal governments, Appalachia, and the Ozarks; total number of centers reaches 13.


NIH selects PRC Program for the community component of the Women’s Health Initiative.


One center added to address the national health concern about teenage pregnancy.


Institute of Medicine publishes expert committee review of the program.


Congress reauthorizes the PRC Program.

Nine centers are added to expand regional scope and broaden research themes; brings total number of centers to 23.

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One center is added to reduce the disproportionate burden of cancer in central Appalachia.

National Community Committee (NCC) begins to take shape in discussions among 40 community members.


Two additional centers enhance the program’s research depth and breadth; brings total number of centers to 26.

PRC Program co-sponsors CDC’s annual Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Conference.


Two additional centers are selected to expand the network’s research capacity in both urban and rural health issues.

2-year PRC fellowship conducted at a PRC is established for doctoral-level students of ethnic or racial minority origin, in collaboration with the Association of Schools of Public Health.

Centers collaborate on new thematic network, Healthy Aging Research Network.


PRC Program adopts a framework (or logic model) for conceptualizing the research process.

National Community Committee holds first yearly retreat in Houston, Texas.

Centers collaborate on new thematic network, Cancer Prevention & Control Research Network.


CDC acknowledges 20 years of PRCs’ achievements.

CDC completes competitive peer review of applications for Prevention Research Centers and announces the 2004–2009 research period for 33 centers.

NCC formalizes structure during a retreat in Birmingham, Alabama.

Centers collaborate on new thematic network, Physical Activity Policy Research Network.


Centers collaborate on new thematic network, Cardiovascular Health Network.


Centers collaborate on new thematic network, Managing Epilepsy Well Network.


A CDC-convened Blue Ribbon Panel of external experts releases a report assessing the PRC Program.

NCC provides the PRC Program office with recommendations for the future.

PRC Program office compiles a Web-based catalog of trainings developed and offered by the PRCs.


PRC Program Cosponsors the 20th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control.

CDC completes competitive peer review of applications for Prevention Research Centers and announces the 2010–2014 research period for 37 centers—5 developmental and 32 comprehensive.

National evaluation findings released.

Program announces joint 2010 conference with Society for Public Health Education.

Centers collaborate on new thematic network, Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research Network


Four PRCs funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to conduct Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Second set of National evaluation findings released.

Searchable database of PRC research projects created.


CDC gives 2011 Charles C. Shepard Science Award to a scientific paper about the Breastfeeding, Antivirals, and Nutrition (BAN) study, a special interest project awarded to the PRC at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Video overview of the PRC Program released.

Publication [PDF - 3.97MB] summarizes the achievements of the Healthy Aging Research Network.

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