The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) awarded $4 million to the Arizona Prevention Research Center (AzPRC) at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health to study how people and their communities can avoid or counter the risks for chronic illnesses. The funds will support the development and evaluation of practical public health prevention interventions in Arizona, with particular focus on Latinos living in border communities.
In May, the CDC awarded $19.5 million to its network of 26 Prevention Research Centers (PRC) which are housed within academic institutions. The AzPRC is one of only two centers funded in the southwestern United States. Each PRC conducts prevention research and translates the results into public health policies and practices that drive major sustainable community changes that can prevent and control chronic diseases and improve overall health.
“Preventing chronic disease is critical to improving our nation’s well-being and avoiding excessive health care costs,” said Dr. Wayne Giles, director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Our investment in the prevention research centers moves us closer to ensuring all Americans share the richness of good health.”
Over the next five years, researchers at the AzPRC will partner with El Rio, Mariposa and Sunset Community Health Centers and health departments in Pima and Yuma counties to improve the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease while promoting mental well-being through innovative community-based interventions. In addition, the center will partner closely with the Arizona Department of Health Services to disseminate and evaluate effective policy, environmental, and systems change strategies designed to prevent chronic disease.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to affect change in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods,” said Dr. Scott Carvajal, director of the AzPRC. “We will be tackling ways to improve diet and fitness along with promoting mental well-being in the community with programs in their neighborhoods. Further, our collaborations with the community health center partners will result in an efficient and effective program for health promotion that could be a model for communities across the United States.”