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Health Promotion Research Center  July 2014

HPRC Awarded $3.75 Million CDC Grant

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month awarded $3.75 million to HPRC for another 5-year cycle of research on healthy aging. “I applaud the CDC for their continued investment in the Health Promotion Research Center,” stated Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “This critical funding will help the HPRC continue their invaluable research to promote the health of older adults in Washington state and across the country.”

HPRC Director Dr. Jeff Harris will lead a new core research project during this funding cycle. “Older adults are much more likely to participate in a community-based program like Enhance®Fitness if it is recommended by their physician or another health care provider,” said Harris. “So, we will be conducting research with physical therapists and primary care providers to learn about effective means of increasing recommendations to attend a program like EnhanceFitness.” 

The previous 5-year CDC award enabled HPRC to bring more than $20 million into Washington state to conduct research on topics ranging from cancer screening techniques to physical activity assessment and employee health. This new grant will allow the center to continue and expand on 40+ ongoing research projects aimed at improving the health of older Americans.

CDC Site Visit to HPRC EnhanceFitness ClassCDC site visitors and HPRC staff visit an EnhanceFitness class at the Matt Griffin YMCA.






EnhanceFitness Program Shown to Reduce Costs and Improve Health Outcomes for Medicare Beneficiaries

EnhanceFitness class participantIn a recent report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) described promising evidence suggesting that the EnhanceFitness Program had driven down total healthcare costs, decreased unplanned hospitalizations, and decreased mortality rates for participating Medicare beneficiaries. 

EnhanceFitness was one of nine programs retrospectively analyzed as part of an Affordable Care Act requirement under Section 4202(b), which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a plan for promoting healthy lifestyles and chronic disease self-management for Medicare beneficiaries. Findings related to EnhanceFitness included the association of program participation with an estimated total medical cost savings of $945—specifically, participants in an unplanned inpatient setting saw savings of $545 and those in a skilled nursing facility setting saved $139. Read the report summary >>


Jeff Harris, HPRC Director

Jeff Harris, MD, MPH, MBA, director of the UW Health Promotion Research Center since 2007, and professor and vice-chair of Health Services, has an interesting background that demonstrates his sincere dedication to public health. His career has included community health care in Guatemala and Bangladesh, and research work with the Washington State Department of Health, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the CDC prior to joining the UW School of Public Health in 2001.

Raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Jeff found inspiration in his father, who was a physician and the first college graduate in his family. At three years old, Jeff appeared on the “Bozo the Clown” TV show and announced he was going to be a pediatrician. He entered college (UT Austin) at 16 years old, and by age 22 had finished medical school at UT Southwestern. “I was very focused—for better or worse,” laughs Jeff. During his internal medicine residency at Columbia University in New York, Jeff met his wife, Dr. Judy Wasserheit—they married in 1981. More >>

Selected Publications

Baldwin LM, Trivers KF, Andrilla CH, Matthews B, Miller JW, Lishner DM, Goff BA. Accuracy of Ovarian and Colon Cancer Risk Assessments by U.S. Physicians. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2014 May;29(5):741-9. Read the abstract >>

Meischke H, Stubbs B, Fahrenbruch C, Phelan E. Factors Associated with the Adoption of a Patient Education Intervention among First Responders, King County, Washington, 2010-2011. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2014 Jan; 11:130221. Read the abstract >>

Goins RT, Jones J, Schure M, Rosenberg DE, Phelan EA, Dodson S, Jones DL. Older Adults' Perceptions of Mobility: A Metasynthesis of Qualitative Studies. The Gerontologist. 2014 Mar 17.
Read the abstract >>

Harris JR, Hammerback KR, Hannon PA, McDowell J, Katzman A, Clegg-Thorp C, Gallagher J. Group Purchasing of Workplace Health Promotion Services for Small Employers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2014 Jul;56(7):765-70. Read the abstract >>

Save the Dates

The next Community Advisory Board meeting will be on Friday, July 25, 2014 at the Tukwila Community Center, 8:45 am to noon. Directions >>

Seminar: Washington DSHS Aging and Long-Term Services Administration

Date: Thursday, August 14
10:00 am to 10:50 am 


Presenter: Candace Goehring, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Visit our website for notices of other upcoming seminars.

UW Gerontology Conference: Building Elder Friendly Futures Locally and Globally

Date: October 8-9

At: Husky Union Building

Apply to present at Poster Session or Innovation Showcase by September 2.

More info here >>


Tori Bradford, MPH student completing her practicum with the Worksite Immunization Project.

Debbie Passey, PhD student working with the HealthLinks group.

Shobhit Maruti, visiting doctor working on a worksite health project.


Laura Farren, HPRC Program Coordinator extraordinaire, will be leaving HPRC in July to pursue her MPH at Columbia University in New York.


Congratulations to all graduating students, including HPRC's:

Dr. Christina Miyawaki, who received her PhD in Social Work.

Lina Walkinshaw, who received her MPH in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program.

Another award-winning Healthy Aging Research Network (HAN) publication!

Pathways to Better Community Wayfinding

Pathways to Better Community Wayfinding has been awarded the 2014 Apex Award for "One-of-a-Kind Electronic Publications."

This blueprint document provides information, tools, and practices to stimulate cross-sector interaction around the public health aspects of community wayfinding. Download it here!




Health Promotion Research Center is a research center at the University of Washington School of Public Health funded by the Prevention Research Centers Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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