The Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) was formed in 2009 to address chronic health issues faced in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Greater Cleveland area.
The mission of the PRCHN is to foster partnerships within low-resource neighborhoods to develop, test, and implement effective and sustainable strategies and interventions to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic disease. We do this by collaborating with neighborhood residents, leaders, and community organizations in Greater Cleveland to address the significant environmental and lifestyle issues that serve as barriers to good health.
About the PRCHN
Housed in the School of Medicine
at Case Western Reserve University
, the PRCHN undertakes research that is truly in collaboration with neighborhoods affected by poverty and chronic health conditions. This is possible in part through partnerships with: city
health organizations, the Network of Community Advisors (NOCA), and four other schools at Case.
The Center grew out of the Center for Health Promotion Research (CHPR), which was founded at CWRU in 2000 and led Elaine A. Borawski, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, now the Director of the PRCHN. In 2010 the CHPR was absorbed into the PRCHN, along with several of its signature projects to become part of the Prevention Research Centers (PRC)
program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The nationwide PRC program began in 1986 with three centers and includes 26 centers as of 2014. The primary aim of the PRC Network is to reduce the rate of chronic disease in the most threatened populations across the U.S. Chronic diseases (such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes) account for 70% of all deaths and are responsible for 75% of the nation's skyrocketing healthcare costs, so this program reflects a critical societal concern (CDC, 2009. OMB, 2008). Due in part to the decline of industry in recent decades, Cleveland often ranks among the poorest and most unhealthy populations in the country (American Community Survey, 2004. CDC BRFSS, 2006).
The PRCHN's initial "core" project was known as FreshLink (formerly titled "Increasing Access to Healthy Foods in Urban Neighborhoods") and specifically targeted the Buckeye and Central neighborhoods of Cleveland as well as the city of East Cleveland. Our investigations use community-based participatory research (CBPR). This means we rely on the expertise of local leaders (both formally and informally recognized) in shaping the direction of our research, giving us the ability to really understand what's happening in these areas. Thus we can intervene with some of the needed resources to help neighborhoods help themselves become healthier and continue that trend long past our involvement. Read more about CBPR and our Network of Community Advisors here.
Our core research project for the 2014-2019 funding cycle is also entitled FreshLink. It is a five-year study to improve nutritious food access in low-income neighborhoods throughout Greater Cleveland. Read more about FreshLink here.
Whether you're a community partner (or potential partner), a member of the neighborhoods in which we're participating, or an outside observer, we hope you find what you're looking for on this site.
Here's the official press release from the beginning of the PRCHN that took a comprehensive look at the components and intentions of the Center for the first funding cycle. Here is the renewal press release about the funding for the 2014-2019 cycle.