Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Prevention Research Centers are a network of academic health centers across the USA that promote health and prevent disease in underserved communities. There are 37 centers across the country. Each center is part of a university and works closely with communities that have low incomes, low education, and higher health risks. The network of centers is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
"The vision of the centers is to improve health and well-being for everyone across all communities."
"All centers share a goal of addressing behaviors and environmental factors that contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes."
Each center works closely with community residents, community organizations and public health agencies to identify, understand, and address the needs of each community. Building strong working relationships between communities and health researchers leads to more relevant research and appropriate interventions to address the health needs of the community. Working together in a partnership allows the researchers to understand the values and culture of each community. Communities are then more committed to incorporate the needed changes. The long-term commitment of the PRCs and the communities ensures the sustainability of the changes.
Each Prevention Research Center is guided by a community advisory committee comprised of community residents, public health agency representatives, disease focused organizations, and community-based organizations. The community advisory boards provide guidance to their PRCs and provide community insight into priority health topics.
The National Community Committee (NCC) helps guide the overall PRC program at a national level. This national committee represents the people in communities that work directly with their local PRC. Each PRC community advisory committee sends a representative to the NCC, which makes recommendations about how community committees can share information and serve the individual centers and the national program.
The health focus of each PRC is determined by both the research expertise of the academic institution where it is located and also the community-identified health needs of the community it serves. The PRCs are focused on their local communities that bear the highest chronic disease burden and the greatest health disparities. As a result, the PRCs work with diverse populations, variously defined by geography, race, ethnicity, disease, and age.
Each center conducts at least one core project that represents the center's main research focus. Some examples of core projects are:
"The PRC program reaches 41 million people in 66 partner communities."
This article is a NetWellness exclusive.
Last Reviewed: May 15, 2011