NewsroomThe Lancet Features PRC Researcher
The April 28 issue of The Lancet profiles Linda Bearinger, PhD, RN, team leader for training and technical assistance at the University of Minnesota Prevention Research Center. The article describes Dr. Bearinger's four decades of contributions to the field of adolescent health, the center's research focus. In 2008–2009, she chaired an Institute of Medicine subcommittee that prepared the report, Adolescent Health Services: Missing Opportunities, which outlines how to prepare the health care workforce to meet the health needs of young people. She is currently president of the International Association of Adolescent Health and has made enormous contributions to the training of practitioners who work with adolescents. Dr. Bearinger's expertise in resiliency and protective factors in the lives of vulnerable adolescents enriches the PRC's emphasis on translating research into programs, policy, and public health practice.
This issue of The Lancet is part of a series on adolescent health, and contains articles from PRC researchers on how adolescence sets the stage for health in later years.
PRC Researchers Find Small Businesses Are Willing to Implement Health Promotion Programs and Policies
Researchers at the University of Washington PRC evaluated the implementation of the American Cancer Society's (ACS) HealthLinks, a workplace health promotion program, in 23 small and low-wage companies in Mason County, Washington. Businesses that participated in HealthLinks received resources and support from ACS to select and implement best practices in workplace health promotion. These are practices designed to reduce behaviors that put employees at risk for chronic diseases. Results showed that businesses that used HealthLinks significantly increased their implementation of physical activity programs (29% to 51%) and health behavior policies (40% to 81%) focused on limiting or banning tobacco use and promoting healthy eating and physical activity. See "Increasing Evidence-Based Workplace Health Promotion Best Practices in Small and Low-Wage Companies, Mason County, Washington, 2009," released April, 5, 2012, by Preventing Chronic Disease.
PRC Researchers Develop an Approach to Selecting Policy Initiatives for Rural Area
Working with the CDC’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative in Pitt and Lenoir Counties, North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill PRC designed an approach to identify achievable local policy initiatives for obesity prevention. CDC has recommended strategies and measures that communities and local governments can use to plan and monitor environmental and policy changes for obesity prevention. In the PRC project, these recommendations were ranked by county stakeholders (such as planners, town managers, and advisory council members) according to feasibility and likelihood of success, based on the community’s culture, infrastructure, extent of leadership support, and potential funding support. In further discussions with stakeholders, the researchers used questions from Community Readiness: A Handbook for Successful Change to determine the county’s readiness to implement the policies the stakeholders had ranked most achievable. Public health professionals and stakeholders in other rural locations may benefit from using the PRC’s approach when selecting obesity prevention strategies. See “A Community-Driven Approach to Identifying “Winnable” Policies Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention,” released March 29, 2012, by Preventing Chronic Disease.
Kentucky PRC Releases Facebook Application for Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the leading risk factor for cervical cancer. As part of its research into ways to raise awareness of cervical cancer, the University of Kentucky Rural Cancer Prevention Center released a Facebook application. The application creates an educational video about cervical cancer screening and vaccination for HPV that incorporates photos of the viewer and the viewer’s Facebook friends. The video explains how screening and HPV vaccination can prevent cervical cancer and invites viewers to share the application with their Facebook friends. The application is part of the center’s Cervical Cancer Free Kentucky initiative, a research project that aims to 1) increase the number of women in Kentucky who get Pap test, a screening test that can detect changes in cervical cells before they become cancerous, and 2) increase the number of eligible residents who get vaccinated against HPV.