Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center

Populations of Focus: Connecticut residents at risk of developing chronic diseases

Topic Areas: chronic disease prevention research on diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease; lifestyle intervention research on nutrition and physical activity

Introduction, Mission, and Vision

The Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center (Yale-Griffin 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.

Yale-Griffin PRC is committed to conducting public health prevention research using a community-based participatory research approach. It recently expanded its focus to include prevention research in the digital age.

The center’s research projects and partnerships are aligned with national Healthy People 2030 objectives related to chronic health conditions and health behaviors, specifically nutrition and healthy eating and physical activity. These projects are intended to benefit the residents of New Haven, the Lower Naugatuck Valley, and other communities in Connecticut. The dissemination and translation of research results can also benefit programs and policies at the national level.

Core Research

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.

Improving Health in Low Income Communities: Virtual Delivery of a Diabetes Prevention Program Facilitated with Community Care Coordination

Yale-Griffin PRC’s core research project for the 2019–2024 funding cycle focuses on a virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (v-DPP) developed by incentaHEALTH for adults in New Haven and the Lower Naugatuck Valley who are at risk of type 2 diabetes and have limited resources. The program is expected to improve behavioral and cardiometabolic outcomes for participants. Local community health workers (CHWs) will coordinate care to help residents overcome barriers to successful participation.

DPP is a CDC-recognized lifestyle change intervention with proven success. This year-long program is typically offered onsite in small group settings. However, people with limited economic resources often face barriers to onsite participation. These barriers include irregular work schedules and limited access to transportation, childcare, quality health care, or affordable healthy food. A virtual program could improve participation, engagement, and outcomes.

Additional Research

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.

PRC Vaccine Confidence Network (PRC VCN)

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, Yale-Griffin PRC is examining vaccine hesitancy to find ways to promote vaccine confidence, increase vaccine uptake, and reduce disparities among residents in New Haven. The goal is to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 in the United States.

Yale-Griffin PRC’s strategy includes conducting listening sessions and surveys with community residents and vaccine providers to identify barrier and key beliefs among Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino residents. It also includes developing culturally appropriate strategies and messages to increase vaccine confidence and address barriers, with support from Yale’s Community Alliance for Research and Engagement.

Contact Information
Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center logo

Location: New Haven and Derby, Connecticut

Principal Investigator: Rafael Perez-Escamilla, PhD

Co-Director: Kathleen O’Connor Duffany, PhD

Co-Director: Beth P. Comerford, MS

Phone: 203-732-1265

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