Research Informing Policy and Environmental Change
Chronic diseases and conditions — including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes — account for most deaths, disability and health care costs in the United States. Most chronic diseases are caused by health behaviors, especially unhealthy eating, sedentary behavior and tobacco use.
Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work with at-risk communities to promote health, prevent chronic diseases, and address behaviors and environmental factors that affect chronic disease.
As a PRC, we are focused on scalable research results. Our goal is to establish health promotion and disease prevention strategies that will bring long-term benefits to our city and state, as well as our nation as a whole.
The Illinois PRC pursues this mission by:
- Translating research results into policy and public health practice.
- Working with communities to develop, evaluate, and implement major community changes that can prevent and control chronic diseases
- Identifying gaps in research and develop innovative approaches to improving public health that can be shared broadly with public health partners.
Through collaboration with the PRC Program at CDC, state and local health departments, other academic institutions, and public and private partners, Illinois PRC research has the potential to affect health behavior change in communities across the country as well as environmental and policy issues at the local, state, and national levels.
Our work contributes to the advance on national priorities, especially those in the CDC Winnable Battles for nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Learn more about these national priorities.
We are increasing physical activity by improving access to the built environment and use of parks in the community.
We studied 60 Chicago parks before their renovation in the Chicago Plays! program. In our applied public health research project, we are measuring the effects of those renovations on park programming, maintenance, safety, park use and physical activity levels of users. We will share the best practices we identify with communities planning their own park renovations, and see if they can build even better parks. Given the startling rates of obesity among children, this information has the potential for dramatic increases in public health.
Illinois PRC partners with local communities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and researchers outside of Illinois to advance efforts toward national public health priorities.
With additional CDC funding, we collaborate in six thematic networks involving PRCs across the country to address these public health goals:
- Cognitive function in older minority adults
- Early detection of women’s cancers in low- and middle-income countries
- Effective self-management of epilepsy
- Availability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods
- Walkability in all communities
- Health promotion of the working poor
Learn more about our collaboration in these thematic networks.
Illinois PRC welcomes opportunities to partner with foundations, health agencies, community organizations and other community stakeholders.
Together, we can pursue science-based, community-sensitive strategies to address public health goals, especially those to reduce chronic disease and health disparities. Learn more about partnership opportunities.
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The image of the Chicago City Hall columns is owned by ©iStockphoto.com/nazdravie.
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The Illinois Prevention Research Center (PRC) and this website is supported by cooperative agreement No. 1U48DP005010 under the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Institute for Health Research and Policy is the Illinois PRC's research home in the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lisa M. Powell, PhD, is the director and principal investigator of the Illinois PRC.
The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the State of Illinois.
Illinois Prevention Research Center
Institute for Health Research & Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago
1747 West Roosevelt Road MC 275
Chicago, IL 60608-1264