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The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) will receive funds from two 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to create jobs and build healthier communities.

Both projects have been awarded to HPDP partners and will utilize HPDP researchers’ expertise in community-based participatory research (CBPR) and obesity prevention.

The first award, designed to enhance capacity for community-engaged research, is to the new NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (TraCS) in collaboration with a similar institute at Vanderbilt University. HPDP Deputy Director Wanda Hunter, CBPR Core Director Alexandra Lightfoot and Center Director Alice Ammerman will lead this project for UNC. The project will create more than 10 part-time consultant positions for community experts and will support valuable partnerships with community organizations working to reduce health disparities. CBPR seeks to include community members as equal partners in research and depends on strong community connections.

Giselle Corbie-Smith, leader of NC TraCS Community Engagement Core, and Eugenia Eng will serve as senior advisors to the project.

The second Recovery Act project is part of a partnership between HPDP, TraCS and East Carolina University. Alice Ammerman will lead the HPDP work for the project.

The project will expand FoodMASTER, a set of multi-media teacher training material to inspire teachers’ interest and enthusiasm for obesity and chronic disease prevention and sustainable food models. The researchers hope to encourage teachers to regularly incorporate these issues into their K-12 curriculum.

Ammerman said schools offer an important opportunity to reach children as one approach to address the obesity epidemic. However, the pressures on teachers regarding covering content and preparing for testing are great and time is limited. Because FoodMASTER curriculum aids are designed to match with the standard course of study, they can be implemented in the classroom without additional burden on the teacher.

DateAugust 18, 2009

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