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Promoting Healthy Communities: Research conference focused on strategies for achieving public health

Posted: April 7, 2014

Keynote speaker Lawrence Green and Dean Alexa Stuifbergen

Saba W. Masho, associate professor at the
Virginia Commonwealth University.

Lynn Rew, professor at the UT Austin School of Nursing.

George Demiris, professor at the University of Washington.

Miyong Kim professor at the UT Austin School of Nursing
and Lorraine Walker, director of the St. David’s–CHPR.

Students viewing the poster presentation. More than
40 posters were displayed at the annual conference.

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer — the list of chronic diseases affecting almost 50 percent of Americans goes on and on. Many of these illnesses, however, are avoidable when communities come together to change the places we live in, according to experts at the 2014 St. David’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations (St. David’s–CHPR) annual research conference.

Health and safety are not achieved just in clinics, but in the environment — on our streets, in our homes and workplaces, and through education. But in order to promote a healthy public we need solid data. Without such evidence, informed changes would be difficult, if not impossible.

This is why public-health research is so crucial, and it’s why this year’s conference brought together experts from across the country to discuss evidence-based strategies to improve the places where we live, work and play.

Lawrence Green, DrPH, MPH, and the originator and co-developer of the PRECEDE-PROCEED model, which has been used throughout the world to guide health program intervention design, implementation, and evaluation, was the keynote speaker. His presentation “Community-based Research — Past, Present and Future” described the importance of linking research and public health practice. He also discussed why researchers should actively involve people in a co-learning process for the purpose of action conducive to health rather than just involving them as subjects of research and evaluation.

Additional speakers included:

  • Saba W. Masho, MD, MPH, DrPH, associate professor of Family Medicine and Population Health and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Virginia Commonwealth University, who presented “A Collaborative Approach in Reducing Perinatal Disparities: Experience From the Richmond Healthy Start Initiative”

  • Lynn Rew, EdD, RN, FAAN, the Denton and Louise Cooley and Family Centennial Professor of Parent-Child Nursing at UT Austin School of Nursing, presenting “Health Promotion in Homeless Populations”

  • Harold W. Kohl, PhD, professor of Epidemiology and Kinesiology at the UT Health Science Center – Houston School of Public Health, and UT Austin, presenting “Evidence-based Practices for Increasing Physical Activity”

  • George Demiris, PhD, the Alumni Endowed Professor in Nursing at the School of Nursing and Biomedical and Health Informatics at the School of Medicine, University of Washington presenting “Using Technology to Facilitate Community-based Interventions to Support Older Adults”

  • Miyong Kim, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor of Nursing and associate vice president for Community Health Engagement at UT Austin presenting “Academic and Community Partnerships to Promote the Health of Underserved Communities”

In addition to the presentations, students and faculty had an opportunity to present research results in a poster session. More than 40 posters were displayed. Click here to view the 2014 poster presentation abstracts.

Since 1999, the St. David’s–CHPR has sought ways to improve the health of underserved people through theory-driven, efficient and culturally competent health promotion and disease prevention research-based interventions. The annual conference is one way the group disseminates methods and findings to scientists, clinicians, policymakers and consumers.

Co-sponsors of the event were the St. David’s Excellence Fund for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, Jack and Laura Lee Blanton Lectureship in Nursing, the George and Diana Sharpe Perinatal Lectureship in Nursing, the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Regents Chair in Health Care Management, Sigma Theta Tau International-Epsilon Theta Chapter, and the Center for Social Work Research.

Photos by Brian Birzer, Birzer Photograhy