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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

UNC Center Awarded $3.75M to Conduct Prevention Research

The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received a $3.75 million cooperative agreement to renew its status as a Prevention Research Center (PRC) through 2019. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding will help UNC researchers conduct innovative prevention research in North Carolina communities that can help combat chronic disease with long-term solutions.


Dr. Alice Ammerman, professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, is director of the UNC center.

HPDP was one of the first three centers funded when the program began in 1986 and has been continuously funded since then. One of 26 PRCs in 25 states to receive the award this year, HPDP is eligible for additional funding in the next five years to study how people and their communities can avoid chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer.  The UNC center partners with other PRCs to ensure effective health strategies are readily shared with other underserved communities.

The cooperative agreement includes Carolina Heart Alliance Networking for Greater Equity (CHANGE), an applied research project that will begin in Hertford County, NC, an underserved community with high rates of heart disease. The project will test more effective ways to prevent heart attacks and strokes through approaches including clinical care, behavior-change counseling, and policy and environmental change such as accessible sidewalks and farmers markets.

“HPDP serves the people of North Carolina by leveraging substantial federal funding to help prevent chronic disease, thus building a healthier population and workforce and improving quality of life,” Dr. Ammerman said. “By building on and connecting the strengths of local communities, we will help foster their capacity for long-term health, rather than creating something that will disappear at the end of the grant.”

Successful strategies will be scaled up and disseminated to other communities across the state. Dr. Jennifer Leeman, assistant professor in the UNC School of Nursing, and Dr. Sam Cykert, professor of medicine in the UNC School of Medicine and adjunct professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School, will lead the CHANGE project.