Since 1993, the vision of the University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center (USC PRC) has been Physically Active People in Active Community Environments. Crafted jointly with its community committee, Sumter County Active Lifestyles (SCAL), the specific aims of the USC PRC for 2009-2014 are: 1. Conduct a core community-based participatory research (CBPR) project. The overall goal of the USC PRC core CBPR project is to determine the effectiveness of a 12-month multi-level intervention on walking behavior and health-related outcomes in a cohort of 250-325 adults living in five underserved communities consisting of a high proportion of African-Americans and families below the poverty level. The project will explore the impact of the intervention on social norms, capital, cohesion, and support for PA in these areas. 2. Engage the community and key partners in USC PRC efforts. The USC PRC engages individuals in SCAL coalition as the community committee. SCAL, comprised of over 30 persons representing diverse community interests, will continue to engage members of underserved Sumter County communities in core research and capacity-building activities, and continue as the lead organization for the partnership, as they have done since 1998. 3. Maintain an integrated set of strategies, including electronic channels, to disseminate research findings to diverse audiences, including researchers, public health practitioners, and community partners. 4.The USC PRC will work with SCAL and an external advisory board to develop, implement, and replicate a Community Advocacy and Leadership Program (CALP) to develop skills of grass-roots leaders in underserved communities in Sumter County and elsewhere in SC. Through a series of 8 workshops and year-long technical assistance, the CALP will support local groups in their efforts to effectively advocate for positive changes in their communities in support of physical activity and health. Peer Mentors will be trained to provide technical assistance, thereby increasing the likelihood of being able to disseminate the program. 5. Evaluate center activities. The USC PRC will use designated resources to assess the CALP and other center activities, and collect data related to the National PRC Performance Indicators.
With a focus on low income, predominantly racial/ethnic minority underserved communities, the center-level and core research endeavors will greatly assist with reducing individual and social disparities in PA behavior and overall health, and will provide a firm foundation of evidence and experience to support the researchers'and community's ability to secure additional funding and expand the impact on eliminating health disparities.
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