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Jennifer Leeman HeadshotThe UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention announces Jennifer Leeman, Dr.PH., as the new director of HPDP Dissemination and Communications Core.

Leeman also recently became principal investigator for Comprehensive Cancer Control Collaborative of NC (4CNC). As one of eight centers nationwide within the CDC-funded Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network, 4CNC builds connections between researchers and communities across North Carolina to confront cancer using evidence-based approaches. Both projects are funded through the Prevention Research Centers Program.

Leeman is ideal for both roles, as her research focuses on how to effectively translate and disseminate evidence to inform policy and practice. She is an assistant professor in the UNC School of Nursing. She has been the co-principal investigator of the CDC-funded Center of Excellence in Training and Research Translation (Center TRT) since 2009, and served as a co-investigator on the project from 2004-2009.

Center TRT aims to advance the skills of public health practitioners working in Obesity Prevention programs nationwide by identifying, translating and disseminating evidence-based interventions, best practices and implementation tools for use by public health practitioners. The research team provides in-person and online training to develop processes to identify and disseminate the best evidence on how to change practice, policy and environments to prevent obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Leeman co-directed the dissemination core of a National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)-National Institutes of Health (NIH) P30-funded Center for Research on Chronic Illness in Vulnerable Populations. Her post-doctoral research explored the extent to which researchers generate publications and interventions that are conducive to use in practice.

“I am interested in the research-practice connection, how to generate research more useful to practitioners. I would like to learn how we can pull more from practice,” said Leeman.

In addition, Leeman is a trainee on the UNC Mentored Career Development Program in Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). CER is funded by the Agency for Healthcare and Research and Quality and provides training, research funding and salary support for Leeman to develop skills and a program of research in CER with a focus on dissemination and implementation.

Leeman’s role as co-investigator of two NINR-NIH funded studies is to explore methods to inform policy and practice via translation and dissemination of the findings from qualitative and quantitative meta-syntheses.

Leeman’s work on systematic reviews of the literature use mixed methods review. The review methods that she employs are relevant to public health and community-based practitioners including nurses, planners, program managers and health educators.

Currently, Leeman is collaborating with the Susan G. Komen Foundation on a grant regarding how to implement CDC’s Community Guide to Preventive Health Services. The grant focuses on making the strategies web-based, thereby allowing people anywhere to use them.

As a tool for community action, CDC’s Community Guide is a resource for evidence-based recommendations and findings on interventions and policies that improve health and prevent disease in communities.

Leeman’s collaboration with the Komen foundation has involved low-resourced agencies.

“What we have learned is that they have to put together multiple funding sources and create complicated strategies to keep their programs going,” Leeman noted, “The Community Guide’s approaches allow more creativity for implementation.”

Leeman is the author and co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and has served as co-editor of Key Aspects of Preventing and Managing Chronic Illness.

Katie Krantz, HPDP Communications Intern

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