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Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2009
Contact: Division of Media Relations (404) 639-3286

Research will develop strategies to narrow health disparities gap

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded more than $25 million to study how people and their communities can avoid or counter the risks for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.

The funds will support prevention research at 35 academic institutions in 25 states. This includes 28 previously funded programs and seven newly funded programs. The awards are for the first year of a five-year funding period.

“Prevention research centers have reached more than 41 million people in 66 partner communities, some of which are the most underserved in the country,” said Janet Collins, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “By involving communities in designing and conducting research, the centers ensure that health strategies found to be effective can be readily applied where they are most needed.”

The Prevention Research Centers program is recognized for having advanced the field of participatory research in which researchers work hand in hand with communities at every research step. Five of the new centers are considered developmental and will be funded to develop community partnerships and a pilot study for future research. Two new comprehensive centers already have research plans in place with community partners.

The new communities include:

  • New York City neighborhoods, where Korean-Americans and South Asian-Americans are at risk for diabetes.
  • Cleveland, Ohio, where residents of underserved neighborhoods lack access to affordable and healthy foods.
  • Worcester, Mass., where many people in the Latino community have diabetes.
  • Columbus, Ohio, where preschoolers are at risk for obesity as they grow up.
  • Prince George’s County, Md., where rates of sexually transmitted diseases are high among African Americans.
  • The Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, where schoolchildren lack good nutrition and physical activity.
  • The Vermont-New Hampshire border, where cardiovascular disease rates are disproportionately high among people with serious mental illness.

“Preventing chronic disease is critical to improving our nation’s well-being and avoiding excessive health care costs,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., M.S., director of CDC’s Division of Adult and Community Health. “Our investment in the prevention research centers moves us closer to helping all Americans share the richness of good health.”

Chronic diseases account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States, and almost half of all Americans live with at least one chronic condition. The costs of people with chronic diseases account for more than 75 percent of the nation’s $2 trillion in medical care costs.

For more information on the Prevention Research Centers and a complete listing of their locations, please visit CDC’s Web site at



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