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New Research Center in Iowa to Address Disease Prevention

Press Release

November 26, 2002—The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded approximately $700,000 to the University of Iowa (UI) to expand research capacity for preventing chronic diseases in underserved populations.

"This award will support creative research that can untangle the factors influencing the health of disadvantaged and underserved residents of Iowa," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "These Americans are at risk for the leading causes of death and disability in our nation."

The UI now joins the CDC's Prevention Research Centers Program, a network of 28 academic research centers that work with communities to develop strategies for preventing disease and disability.

"While the researchers will address local health needs," said CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding, MD, "experience shows us that promising research results achieved through this program are eventually shared with and adapted to other communities, ensuring a lasting legacy."

The UI will address poor nutrition and lack of physical activity among residents of one rural county that will be a model for a state in which nearly 90 percent of counties are rural.

"The rates of some cancers, birth defects, chronic respiratory disease, noise-induced hearing loss, and injury are greater for rural than non-rural residents," said the center director John Lowe, DrPH. "We plan to focus first on nutrition and physical activity and expand research in other areas as we strengthen our community relationships."

The Prevention Research Centers Program, an activity authorized by Congress, is notable for engaging communities as participants in research. Academic researchers build relationships with communities that help define research questions and conduct research and interventions—such as performing community surveys and educating fellow residents. As a result, many communities develop programs for ongoing services while contributing to new knowledge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.


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