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The Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research

Published: July 28, 2021

The UTHealth Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research (CHPPR) was recently re-established as a CDC Prevention Research Center (PRC). From 1986-2014, the UTPRC at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health (SPH) was a founding member of the CDC PRC Program, a collaborative network of research centers focused on the study of how people and communities can avoid or counter the risks for chronic illnesses, particularly among underserved populations. With this re-establishment, CHPPR is now one of just 26 PRCs in the nation and the only PRC in Texas.

“Since 2014, CHPPR has continued a highly productive research program to develop, implement, and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs across multiple topics, populations, and settings in Texas, the nation, and internationally,” said Maria E. Fernandez, PhD, Director of the Center for Health promotion and Prevention Research. “As part of the PRC network, we are able to collaborate on PRC Special Interest Projects and Thematic Networks, including high productivity and sustained leadership in the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN).”

In its capacity as a PRC, CHPPR’s focus is decreasing cancer-related health disparities among African American and Hispanic populations. Texas ranks 48th in colorectal screening nationally and 47th for HPV vaccination, and rates are even worse among African Americans and Hispanics in both urban and rural settings. CHPPR will employing cutting edge models and frameworks to engage community partners and public health professionals in the research of effective methods of implementing evidence-based cancer control interventions on a wide-scale.

“There is a substantial gap between cancer control research and putting that research into practice,” Dr. Fernandez said. “Advancing implementation science is key to bridging this gap and making an impact on cancer-related health disparities among vulnerable populations.”

CHPPR is leveraging the substantial experience and expertise of its faculty and staff to accelerate the adoption and implementation of sustainable cancer control evidence-based interventions (EBIs). This is a community-focused effort that involves linking communities with healthcare providers to address the needs of African-American and Hispanic communities and training the public health workforce to enable the broad implementation of cancer control EBIs.