The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) remains one of the most active centers at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (Tulane SPHTM), with a strong focus around the social determinants of health. One of the center’s signature projects is Movin’ for Life, a community-engaged health promotion effort. The project works with residents of the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, with many eager participants.
“The Movin’ for LIFE activities have the potential to positively impact behaviors that can prevent many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” said Dr. Carolyn Johnson, Tulane PRC director and lead on the project. “The residents of the Ninth Ward have a special opportunity here, and it is gratifying to see how eager many are to participate and make their lives healthier.”
Starting in March 2017, the PRC’s Movin’ for LIFE team worked with members of the Movin’ for LIFE Community Coalition to hold free, public activities starting with monthly Walkin’ for LIFE Community Walks. Following the successful launch of these walks, the coalition decided to expand the programming. The group began holding quarterly Dancin’ for LIFE classes and then Yoga for LIFE classes, led by members of the coalition Ms. Greer Mendy of Tekrema Center for Art & Culture and Mr. Jeff Supak of Global Green USA. Reading for LIFE was also developed to incorporate education-based goals of the coalition, especially member Ms. Mary Abler of the Martin Luther King Public Library, to nurture young learners through events.
The project also launched a photovoice project that gave residents the opportunity to share and discuss the needs of their community through photos. Empty streets, community gardens and abandoned buildings were some perspectives captured by 25 New Orleans residents who participated.
The PRC has also been involved in promoting the City of New Orleans’ new Blue Bike bicycle share program, and surveying certain audiences about the program.
Tulane University Obesity Research Center
While the PRC looks out to the environment for obesity solutions, the Tulane University Obesity Research Center (TUORC) looks deeply inward – at the genetic level. Led by Dr. Lu Qi directory, the TUORC brings together epidemiologists and other researchers to examine genetic clues to obesity and the solutions therein. Recent research suggestions that improving diet quality over time can attenuate a genetic predisposition to obesity.