Illinois Prevention Research Center (Illinois PRC): Supporting Policy & Environmental Change
The center collaborates with Illinois community stakeholders -- residents, service agencies, coalitions, small businesses, local and state governments, and other partners -- to engage in prevention research to reduce chronic disease risk and health disparities. Specifically, our research tests, develops, adapts, implements and evaluates policies and environmental approaches that aim to improve nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco-related health behaviors and health outcomes. The IPRC emphasizes community engagement and community-based research to help reduce disparities and work closely with community partners throughout Illinois to develop and sustain education and training programs and translate research findings into effective public health policies and environmental changes.
The IPRC's theme of Supporting Policy and Environmental Change, with an aim to improve health behaviors and reduce health disparities, will be reflected in all of our activities. This theme was developed as part of a collaborative process of stakeholder input, partnership with community-based organizations, and leveraging of substantial expertise with University of Illinois's strengths in relevant research areas and health disparities. IPRC proposed activities are guided by the CDC’s Logic Model for the Prevention Research Center Program and informed by conceptual frameworks for community engagement and community-based research. The IPRC’s activities will concentrate in six main areas with the following aims:
- Engage researchers and the community in expert multidisciplinary applied health promotion and health prevention community-based research aimed at improving health behaviors and reducing chronic disease through effective evidenced-based policy and environmental changes.
- Conduct community training and provide technical assistance locally and statewide and graduate student and post-doctoral mentoring and education to increase researcher, stakeholder, and community capacity to conduct community-based health prevention research and undertake policy, program, and environmental evaluations.
- Increase translation of evidence-based research findings into best practices and policies.
- Build and provide a communications infrastructure and plan that supports information sharing about programmatic, educational and scientific information for a variety of audiences including the public health practice community; local and state health coalitions and advocacy groups; local, state, and national policy-makers; prevention researchers; and the public.
- Conduct rigorous evaluations of all IPRC components, report findings, and use this information to improve IPRC programs.
- Identify and address racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and rural disparities in all aspects of the Center’s research, community engagement, training, communication, and evaluation to improve health behaviors and reduce related disease risks and outcomes among disadvantaged populations.
The IPRC Applied Public Health Prevention Research Project
This project addresses a key CDC Winnable Battle focused on increasing access to and use of parks working with community stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive, rigorous evaluation of the impact of a Chicago Park District park-based renovation, and apply the study findings to ongoing park renovations by implementing a park coalition building intervention to increase local capacity and influence park-based utilization and physical activity. Learn more about this project.
Special Interest Projects
The IPRC collaborates with other CDC Prevention Research Centers in six national, thematic networks that address specific health challenges: