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More than 30 community representatives from around the country are visiting North Carolina this week to advise a national program focused on promoting good health through partnerships with communities.

The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) is hosting the annual meeting of the Prevention Research Center (PRC) program’s National Community Committee (NCC) October 18-21. Katie Barnes, a social research assistant at HPDP and the Southeast Regional Director of the NCC, is organizing the meeting.

The NCC advises the PRC program, a national network of 35 centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PRCs conduct prevention research and promote the wide use of practices proven to promote good health. HPDP has been a PRC since 1986, and the Center’s partnering community is in Sampson and Duplin counties.

The NCC particularly focuses on community-based participatory research, a research method where investigators and communities work as equal partners to benefit both parties. At the end of the meeting, the committee will make recommendations about how community committees can share information and better serve the individual centers as well as the national program.

The event kickoff was held Sunday, October 18 with a new member orientation followed by a welcome reception that featured the husband-wife musical duo COYOTE. Marcy Brenner, who is half of COYOTE, is a breast cancer survivor whose story is presented as an award-winning documentary, Dead Girl Walking. She shared her inspirational story with the committee members before showing the movie’s trailer.

The 3-day meeting includes evidence-based public health trainings, a presentation of HPDP research projects, NCC elections and a tour of the UNC Campus, including a stop at HPDP.

The group will travel to Sampson and Duplin counties Tuesday afternoon for a presentation by the Coharie princesses and HOPE Works, HPDP’s core research project. Neal’s Deli in Carrboro provided a boxed lunch of local food for the trip. The group plans to wrap up the day at the Duplin Winery for tours, tastings, and a dinner with the HPDP Community Action Council.

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