Announcement
June 6, 2014

$4.35 Million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant Establishes Penn Prevention Research Center

Funding aims to support chronic disease prevention and reduce health disparities

PHILADELPHIA — A five-year, $ 4,350,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a Prevention Research Center (PRC) at the University of Pennsylvania. The PRC, one of 26 in the nation, will conduct innovative public health and disease management research aimed at preventing chronic disease and reducing health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This will be the first PRC in Philadelphia.

The PRC is co-directed by Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, George A. Weiss University Professor and professor of epidemiology and nursing, and Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, professor in the department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine and professor of health care management at The Wharton School. Glanz is also Director of the Center for Health Behavior and Volpp is also Director of the LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics.  Among other initiatives, the PRC will conduct a workplace weight loss study to evaluate environmental change strategies and incentives for decreasing obesity and preventing cardiovascular disease in employees of the City of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

The PRC will strengthen public and private sector community partnerships; improve understanding of how behavioral economics and public health strategies can reduce health risks and improve health in social-environmental contexts; and extend collaborative training, education, and communication in high-risk and underserved populations in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“This grant is a unique opportunity to create a hub for interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination here at Penn,” said Glanz. “This Center greatly extends our commitment at reducing disparities and improving the health of those in our communities.”

The PRC team is dedicated to promoting well-being, health equity, research translation, and development, and evaluation of population-based and sustainable community health and clinical interventions.  Faculty members from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Annenberg Public Policy Center, The Wharton School and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are among the leadership of the new Center.

“While using the latest behavioral economics techniques and technologies to target conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and poor diet here in the Philadelphia region, and blending them with accepted public health strategies, we’re creating a sustainable model that can be replicated by other institutions,” said Volpp. “Fostering communication, creating valuable connections, and sharing tools and research to other communities helps amplify this progress.”

The CDC awarded a total of $19.5 million to 26 academic institutions in 25 states to support development and evaluation of practical public health prevention interventions during the first year of the funding period. Further information, a map of all centers and their research description may be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/prc/center-descriptions/index.htm.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

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