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Health Promotion Research Center              October 2015

PT-REFER Study update

The goal of HPRC’s core research project, PT-REFER, is to develop and test an intervention to increase physical therapist referrals of older adults to EnhanceFitness (EF). EF is an evidence-based physical activity program licensed nationally by Senior Services and offered at YMCAs and other community venues.

Year 2 of this five-year project is now underway. In the past year, we have conducted formative research through observations of physical therapists (PTs) interacting with patients in clinical settings and interviews with PTs and YMCA staff. Here are some of the findings that will drive the design of the intervention to be tested:

  • PT quoteA physical therapy visit fosters dialogue around appropriate physical activity.
  • Both PTs and patients see value in physical activity; written information would be helpful for them.
  • PT/patient priorities align with EF goals: to improve function, prevent reinjury, reduce pain, and provide a safe, fun activity that is tailored individually to participants.
  • PTs are interested in building partnerships with physical activity programs in the community.
  • PTs want detailed knowledge of a program’s foundation and structure, and the people delivering it, in order to recommend it to their patients.
  • PTs are interested in seeing a coordinated, safe continuum of care for their patients.
  • YMCA staff have an extremely diverse set of resources, experience, partnerships, and personalities.
  • YMCA representatives feel additional partnerships would benefit their programs.
  • Support in providing outreach and expansion would be welcomed by YMCA staff.

We are encouraged by these findings and are now developing the intervention (called the “PT Outreach Toolkit”) that will be used in the trial. We believe EnhanceFitness participation can be increased through partnerships between physical therapists and YMCAs. Stay tuned for future updates as we develop and test the toolkit. Learn more about PT-REFER here.

New Projects Funded by the CDC

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded HPRC $2.56 million to fund three special interest projects:

Lung screening study

Economic Costs of Quality Assurance in Lung Cancer Screening Programs

This study will convene an advisory board of experts from five cancer screening programs to identify and rank critical quality measures of lung cancer screening. Three screening programs will then pilot the proposed measures by integrating them into their ongoing quality improvement efforts. Study investigators will measure the costs of generating these quality measures, and the advisory board will review their findings in order to recommend a final set of quality measures for community adoption. “I really care about how screening investments and decisions are made so we have optimal outcomes, and ultimately save lives,” says Steve Zeliadt, principal investigator of the study.

HPV Vaccine MSM

HPV Vaccine Impact among Men who have Sex with Men

Compared to men who have sex with women, men who have sex with men (MSM) are at higher risk of acquiring anogenital human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and developing anal cancers. Although vaccine trials demonstrated protection against genital lesions and anal neoplasias in MSM, the real-world impact of HPV vaccination introduction in young MSM (18 to 26 years old) has not been established. This study will be the one of the largest to date to evaluate the epidemiology of HPV infections in young men who have sex with men. Principal investigator Rachel Winer states, “HPV and HPV-related diseases are serious health problems. It is important to get data from this population (young MSM) to assist in guiding vaccination policies and promotion.”

FIT test CRC trial

Pilot Program of Mailed Fecal Immunochemical Tests to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates

This study seeks to collaborate with Medicaid health plans to first develop a registry tool to identify patients eligible for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, then support health plans in implementing a screening and follow-up program to directly mail fecal immunochemical tests to patients' homes. “Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths," says Laura-Mae Baldwin, co-principal investigator (PI). "If the program is successful and Medicaid health plans can maintain it over the long term, fewer people will die from CRC." The project is a collaboration with Group Health Research Institute (Beverly Green, co-PI) and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Northwest (Gloria Coronado, co-PI).

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Save the Dates

Community Advisory Board meeting

Date: Friday, Nov. 6
8:45 am to 12:00 pm

At: Tukwila Community Center Directions

Seminar: Vida PURA: A Cultural Adaptation of Screening and Brief Intervention to Reduce Unhealthy Drinking for Latino Day Laborers

Date: Thursday, Nov. 12
10:00 am to 10:50 am

At: HPRC Directions

Presenter: India Ornelas, Assistant Professor, Health Services

Visit our website for notices of other upcoming seminars.

HPRC Leadership Update


In August, Jeff Harris, Director of HPRC since 2008, accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Health Services in the UW School of Public Health. Peggy Hannon has been promoted to HPRC Director, having served as Associate Director for the past two years.

Congratulations and best wishes to Jeff and Peggy in their new roles!

Welcome New Staff and Students

  • Ria Francisco joins the HPRC administrative team to provide fiscal support.
  • Hannah Calas, an undergraduate public health student, will support the HealthLinks team.
  • Ernesto Sosa, a dual MSW/MPH student, will work on HPRC's Washington Department of Health projects.

Recent Publications

Topics of our latest publications include:

  • Patient navigation in a colorectal cancer screening program
  • A review of mall walking program environments
  • Using social network analysis to assess mentorship and collaboration in a public health network
  • and more

See our recently published articles here

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HPRC is a CDC Prevention Research Center


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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