Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center
Populations of Focus: minority and marginalized communities, statewide
Topic Areas: health equity, population health, early detection methods for chronic diseases among African American populations, HIV/AIDS risk reduction, community research governance
Introduction, Mission and Vision
The Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center (MSM PRC) is one of 26 Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the 2019–2024 funding cycle. Each PRC is funded to establish and maintain their center and to conduct a core research project. PRCs may receive supplemental funding to conduct additional research projects and activities.
MSM PRC’s core mission is to advance scientific knowledge about chronic disease prevention in African American and other minority communities and to share new information and prevention strategies with communities with similar demographics. Its vision is to help advance health equity through community-led prevention research, programs, and policy, system, and environmental change.
MSM PRC works with the local community to:
- Conduct multi-interdisciplinary, community-based research initiatives.
- Train community-based researchers and public health practitioners.
- Demonstrate the value of community coalitions in conducting research.
- Communicate and share research findings and public health information widely to advance public health practice and improve health outcomes.
The emphasis on community collaboration to achieve long-term, health-promoting goals resulted in the establishment of one of the first community governance in the PRC Program, called the Community Coalition Board.
MSM PRC is also recognized as a national leader in effective community-based participatory research within the PRC Program. It has received the Community Service Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (1999), the first Annual Award from Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (2002), CDC’s Outstanding Community-Based Participatory Research Award (2004) and Excellence in Community-Based Research Award for its Community Coalition Board (2005), the Joseph D. Greene Community Service Award from the Georgia Healthcare Foundation (2010), and the Center led the Morehouse School of Medicine Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification (re)designation in 2015 and 2019.
Each PRC uses a community-engaged approach to conduct one primary applied public health prevention research project called a core research project. Project activities include design, development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. PRCs use at least 50% of their CDC funding to conduct the project in partnership with communities.
MSM PRC’s core research project for the 2019–2024 funding cycle provides a unique opportunity to use existing relationships between colleges and their surrounding communities to address HIV/AIDS among young adults aged 18 to 24. It is a collaborative effort between Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and their surrounding communities to address HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, and substance use among African American young adults.
Project Take Charge seeks to reduce these health conditions through evidence-based practices—such as HIV testing, condom distribution, and educational workshops—at four MSIs in Georgia: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, and Albany State University.
MSIs, particularly those that are Historically Black Colleges and Universities, can help public health institutions address high rates of HIV in their surrounding communities. The results of this project will be shared with smiliar communites and MSIs around the country, which could help to significantly reduce national HIV/AIDS rates.
PRCs may receive supplemental funding to work on additional research projects each funding cycle. These Special Interest Projects (SIPs) focus on a variety of health topics or gaps in scientific evidence. PRCs can also conduct additional research as part of SIP Thematic Research Networks, which are groups of PRCs working together on related health topics.
In April 2021, CDC funded a 12-month award to all 26 PRCs to form the PRC VCN in support of the agency’s Vaccinate with Confidence strategy for COVID-19. As part of this network, MSM PRC is examining vaccine hesitancy to find ways to promote vaccine confidence, increase vaccine uptake, and reduce disparities in African American and Hispanic young adults in urban and rural communities. The goal is to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 in the United States.
MSM PRC’s strategy includes working with academic and community partners to develop and implement activities to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence.