Increasing Illinois’s Capacity to Prevent Chronic Disease

Participants in an interactive breakout session at the 2015 Change Institute. UIC Photo/MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice

Participants in an interactive breakout session at the 2015 Change Institute. UIC Photo/MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice

A core function of all Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) is fostering widespread use of practices proven to promote the health of all populations.

Training is one of the Illinois PRC’s key offerings to public health practitioners. We developed our training plan to address national public health priorities as well as recommendations by key informants in the Illinois public health community, including our community partners.

In its training, the Illinois PRC aims to increase the Illinois public health practice community’s ability to plan, implement, and evaluate disease prevention initiatives oriented to changes in policy and the environment.

The Illinois PRC offers training in the following ways:

  • Organizing and leading formal sessions for public health practitioners and researchers at local and state conferences, focusing on prevention strategies for policy or environmental initiatives.
  • Providing training in evaluation to specific community partners.
  • Educating the next generation of public health practitioners and researchers by involving them in our research.

The Change Institute

The Change Institute, held annually in suburban Cook County, provides local and state organizations with substantive knowledge and skills to advance policy, systems, and environmental changes that strengthen communities and make healthy living easier.

The 2015 Change Institute was a two-day conference that was a joint collaboration between the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice, UIC School of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Prevention Research Center. More than a dozen sessions focused on technical skills and strategies to develop, implement and evaluate policy to promote healthy eating, active living, and tobacco cessation in communities.

All slide presentations from the 2015 Change Institute are available online. View session videos and download presentations for free at www.midamericacphp.com/2015-change-institute.

Rural Public Health Institute

The annual Northern and Southern Illinois Rural Public Health Conferences held by the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice will offer training tracks by Illinois PRC scientists beginning in 2016. These tracks focus on policy-oriented and environmentally oriented change tailored to the needs of rural public health practitioners.

Training in Evaluation

Illinois PRC builds the capacity of Illinois public health practitioners by training a select organizations to increase their capacity to evaluate policy and environmental initiatives with aims to promote healthy behaviors and reduce chronic disease.

Education

Every year, Illinois PRC research provides valuable experience in community-based participatory prevention research for ten graduate students in public health and other health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

EXPERTISE AND LEADERSHIP

Christina R. Welter, DrPH, director of the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, leads the Illinois PRC’s training. Dr. Welter is the former deputy director of the Cook County Department of Public Health, which serves 2.4 million people in 125 suburban municipalities. Her expertise is facilitating systems-oriented change by collaborating with diverse partners to design, execute and evaluate strategic and asset-based improvement initiatives.

The Illinois PRC training team also includes other key staff members of the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice:

  • Devangna “Guddi” Kapadia, MS, MPH
  • Manjusha “Rani” Saxena, MPH

Learn more about them on the MidAmerica Center’s staff page.

The UIC MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice has over 20 years of experience conducting training, capacity building, and organizational development activities for the Illinois public health workforce. Among its many programs, the center runs the MidAmerica Public Health Training Center, part of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s national network of public health training centers, and the Illinois Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center, part of the CDC’s national network of Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers. In these and other initiatives, the center develops, delivers, and assesses a variety of in-person, online, and blended (in-person/online) trainings. The center regularly assesses the training needs of Illinois’ public health workforce.

LEARN MORE

Do you have a public health team that seeks training on evaluation, change to promote active living, healthy eating or tobacco control, or other strategic skill? Contact Amber Uskali, Illinois PRC deputy director, at adimasc2@uic.edu.