The University of Pennsylvania is submitting this application for a new Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC), which will use the tools of behavioral economics combined with environmental/structural strategies to focus on chronic disease prevention and reducing health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania. We are requesting funding to accomplish seven interrelated Specific Aims that will enable the UPenn PRC to become established as a hub of interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination at the University of Pennsylvania; strengthen public and private sector community partnerships; implement a research agenda to improve understanding of how behavioral economics and public health strategies can be used synergistically to reduce health risks and improve health in social-environmental contexts; and extend collaborative training, education, communication and dissemination activities in high-risk and disadvantaged groups in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The primary mission of the proposed UPenn PRC will be to address the widespread health concerns of obesity prevention, reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and minimizing race- and income-based health disparities. These health issues will be addressed by working toward the NCCDPHP strategic priorities of well-being, health equity, research translation, and development, evaluation, and dissemination of sustainable community health and clinical interventions. The UPenn PRC research project will be conducted in collaboration with partners in the City of Philadelphia workforce, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and Independence Blue Cross. This intervention research will be a 4-arm randomized trial to test novel and scalable strategies that blend behavioral economics and environmental change strategies to prevent and reduce obesity. The study will leverage an existing UPenn based infrastructure for intervention studies, using wireless devices and remote communication and include a mix of private and public sector community partners to test novel strategies disseminate them into practice. The Center will serve as a catalyst for prevention research, training and practice activities that are currently dispersed across campus and among community partner organizations. The UPenn PRC will use new and emerging technology for research and communication, and linking public health and disease management in a variety of settings including employee health.
The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC) will use the tools of behavioral economics combined with environmental/structural strategies to improve chronic disease prevention and reduce health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The UPenn PRC will operate through six cores: Administration and Infrastructure; Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Technical Assistance; Communication and Dissemination; Training; Evaluation; and an Intervention Research Project. The Center will serve as a catalyst for prevention research, training and practice activities that are currently dispersed across campus and among community partner organizations.
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