About the PRC Program

Chronic diseases are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the United States. In 1984, Congress authorized the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a network of academic research centers to conduct community-based applied public health research to address chronic diseases and other leading causes of death and disability in the United States. CDC was selected to provide leadership, technical assistance, and oversight for the Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program.

A Collaboration with Communities to Build a Healthier Tomorrow

Mixed age group discusses community research

PRCs work with local communities to develop, test, and evaluate solutions to public health problems. During 2019–2024, CDC is funding 26 PRCs across the United States. Each PRC is funded for 5 years to maintain a research center and conduct prevention research that promotes health and prevents chronic illness and other diseases and disabilities. The solutions developed by PRCs are intended to be applied widely, especially in populations affected by health disparities. In addition to creating healthier communities, PRCs have increased the public health workforce and conducted research that will guide future initiatives.

In the 2014–2019 funding cycle, PRCs reported the following accomplishments:

Trained over 77,000 public health professionals and community members to understand, conduct, or translate prevention research

Published over 2,000 journal articles and more than 75 books or book chapters on public health prevention approaches

Developed more than 400 research and practice tools that help public health practitioners, researchers, or community members use evidence-based practices and policies.

Three Decades of Community Engagement Makes Us Unique


Group of community members smiling at camera

A cornerstone of the PRC Program is the community engaged research. PRCs have built trust by listening and truly collaborating with local communities through Community Advisory Boards. These long-term relationships allow PRCs to accelerate research into practice effectively and efficiently and improve health.

Working to Improve Health Outcomes

Every PRC conducts a core research project that engages community members on a range of topics such as cancer, nutrition and physical activity, diabetes, violence prevention, sexual health, immunization, healthy aging, and more.

In addition to their core research projects, PRCs can conduct prevention research as a part of a Special Interest Project (SIP) or SIP Thematic Research Network.

PRC Network Committees and Workgroups

As part of ongoing Network activities, PRCs participate in committees and workgroups. In the current funding cycle, the Network has six committees and four workgroups. The committees focus on Network leadership, policy, community engagement, communications, and day-to-day operations. The workgroups cover special interest topics including monitoring, evaluation, mental health work, and anti-racism work within the PRCs. These groups provide a collaborative workspace for PRCs to connect, share information, and leverage the collective experiences and expertise of the PRC Network.

Forward Thinking

The PRC Program has advanced public health research and practice for more than 30 years, and it will continue to work towards building a healthier tomorrow in communities across the country. Future efforts include increasing the PRC Program’s population health impact by accelerating the translation, dissemination, and implementation of evidence-based public health research that address chronic disease prevention priorities among communities to advance health equity.