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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 1, 2008

UI Prevention Research Center funds pilot projects

The University of Iowa Prevention Research Center (PRC) has awarded a total of $60,000 in one-year grants to support pilot research projects aimed at improving the health of rural Iowans.

The PRC conducts community-based projects that address the health disparities among rural Iowans. The PRC placed particular importance on project proposals that concern rural populations and engage community members.

The following four PRC projects were funded for one year and were effective Sept. 1:

--Diane Huber, Ph.D., UI College of Nursing, will lead "Using Community Engagement and Positive Youth Development in Rural Benton County to Prevent Alcohol Abuse and School Dropout." This study will implement and evaluate a positive youth development model to engage at-risk adolescents. Teens who volunteer will participate in a program to assess community needs, brainstorm solutions to the problems of underage substance use and school dropout, and then implement activities.

--Sandra Ramey, Ph.D., UI College of Nursing, will study "Obesity in Law Enforcement Officers." This project will study police officers to obtain preliminary data on the relationship among work place organizational stress, cortisol reactivity, emotional eating, and fat mass and distribution. It will also consider potential confounding factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity. This work will inform the design of a future intervention to reduce stress and improve weight management in law enforcement officers.

--Gerard Rushton, Ph.D., Department of Geography in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will examine "Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis in Community Context: Integrating Geographic Information Science and Community Engagement for Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Control." This study will explore the ways communities can connect their knowledge of space and place with observed patterns of disease to increase abilities to understand processes and implement effective interventions. The project will generate recommendations that integrate Geographic Information Science (GISc) and the community and help in the design of future cancer-prevention interventions.

--Kerry McGannon, Ph.D., Department of Health and Sport Studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will lead "Understanding Gender Differences Across Life Stages in Physical Activity. Participation from a Social Ecological Perspective: A Qualitative Study." This study focuses on physical activity determinants from a gender, life stage, and social ecological (e.g., personal, social, cultural, environmental) perspectives. The information will be helpful in the design of future physical activity programs tailored to the gender and life stage of participants.

The Prevention Research Center is based in the UI College of Public Health and is one of such 33 centers in the United States funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Hannah Fletcher, 319-384-4277,