Assistant professor Jennifer Leeman, DrPH, MDIV, and her colleagues in the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) received $3.75 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue to conduct innovative public health prevention research.
HPDP is a CDC Prevention Research Center, an academic research center committed to community-based, participatory prevention research. Dr. Alice Ammerman, a professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is principal investigator of HPDP and Dr. Leeman directs its communication and dissemination core. Each center is home to multiple ongoing research projects, with extra effort dedicated to a core research project.
The focus of the HPDP core research project will be the Carolina Heart Alliance Networking for Greater Equity (CHANGE) strategy, led by co-principal investigators Drs. Leeman and Samuel Cykert, MD, a professor in the UNC School of Medicine. HPDP will partner with the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center and Hertford County Public Health Authority initially, and then other clinical sites and health departments will join the work.
The CHANGE strategy is designed to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and related deaths by strengthening clinical-community linkages and by implementing Heart to Health, an evidence-based intervention developed by HPDP researchers. The CHANGE strategy will engage community health workers to address North Carolina’s large underserved, rural population, which is at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center and the Hertford Public Health Authority on this project,” said Dr. Leeman. “Through this partnership, we plan to develop and test a novel approach to train community health workers to help patients, families, and friends better understand their personal heart disease risks and deliver a lifestyle change intervention to reduce this risk. The health workers will also link community members with needed clinical and public health services.”