Deaf sign language users and people with hearing loss comprise health disparity populations overlooked by most public health research, surveillance and programs. The mission of the Rochester Prevention Research Center (RPRC) is to promote health and prevent disease with these two distinct populations through community-based participatory research (CBPR). A RPRC long term objective is to eliminate health disparities in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HOH) populations. RPRC will work to achieve the mission and that goal through six aims based on the key elements of a Prevention Research Center (PRC):
Aim 1 - To organize and administer RPRC to carry out CBPR with D/HOH communities;
Aim 2 - To engage D/HOH individuals and stakeholder organizations in all aspects of RPRC activities;
Aim 3 - To connect RPRC and stakeholders through effective bi-directional communication channels;
Aim 4 - To create education and training programs that enhance D/HOH communities' capacity and health;
Aim 5 - To evaluate RPRC achievements guided by the RPRC Logic Model and Work Plans;
Aim 6 - To further advance the respective research agendas set with the D/HOH communities. RPRC proposes a dissemination and implementation research project focused on obesity, a CDC winnable battle. The overall goal of this research, called Deaf Weight Wise 2.0 (DWW 2.0), is to adapt an evidenced-based healthy lifestyle intervention for use with Deaf adult American Sign Language (ASL) users ages 21-40, delivered either locally as an in-person group intervention or remotely as an individual counseling intervention via videophone (VP), and to assess the interventions with a randomized trial. The VP, an existing technology that is virtually ubiquitous in the US Deaf community, has broad implications for remote delivery of health interventions with Deaf and other populations. RPRC's overarching premise is that an evidenced-based healthy lifestyle intervention adapted by Deaf people for use with Deaf people and delivered by Deaf people will improve diet, physical activity and weight. DWW 2.0 builds on RPRC strengths including a longstanding collaboration with the Rochester Deaf community, experience adapting measures and materials for use with Deaf ASL users, and a successful research focus on obesity intervention with Deaf ASL users. DWW 2.0 is responsive to the Deaf community in that it focuses on: 1) obesity, a health disparity that the Deaf community selected as a health research priority, 2) an age demographic identified by the Deaf community for inclusion in health promotion research, and 3) scalability and the request that the benefits of RPRC research be extended to reach Deaf communities outside of Rochester. RPRC, a unit of the Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute, brings academic health center expertise to these issues. DWW 2.0 is consistent with RPRC's work with the Rochester Community Transformation Grant and local health department. RPRC activities match the PRC FOA aims and support the Healthy People 2020 Goal to promote the health and well-being of people with disabilities.

Public Health Relevance

Deaf sign language users and people with hearing loss comprise two populations that are overlooked by most public health research, surveillance and programs. The mission of the Rochester Prevention Research Program (RPRC) is to promote health and prevent disease with these two populations through community- based participatory research (CBPR). RPRC and Deaf community members will develop and evaluate a healthy behavior intervention to treat and prevent obesity with Deaf adult sign language users.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Chronic Disease Prev and Health Promo (NCCDPHP)
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Centers (U48)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDP1)
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Darling, Natalie
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University of Rochester
Family Medicine
School of Medicine & Dentistry
United States
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Mathos, Kimberly K; Landsberger, Sarah A; Diaz, David R et al. (2018) Experiences in Psychiatric Residency Training: Teaching About the Mental Health of Persons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Acad Psychiatry 42:869-870
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