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Health Promotion Research Center             January 2016

Peggy Hannon, HPRC DirectorFrom the Director

Happy new year! At this time, many of us look back at the highlights of the past year and anticipate the new one. At HPRC, 2015 was full of adventures, including:

  • Welcoming excellent new Community Advisory Board members Wendy Bart, Margaret Boddie, Paula Houston, Maureen Linehan, Jan Olmstead, and Marcia Ridley.
  • Launching our core project, PT-REFER, in which we have already
    • Learned about physical therapists and their work with older adults via clinic observations and interviews,
    • Collaborated with Sound Generations (previously known as Senior Services) and Y-USA, and
    • Enrolled 20 YMCA associations to work with us over the next two years.
  • Starting four new projects: three CDC special interest projects and a project with the Washington Healthcare Authority.

With these initiatives, and continued efforts in all our other projects, 2016 promises to be very exciting. This year will also mark the 30th anniversary of both the CDC Prevention Research Center (PRC) program and the Health Promotion Research Center, which was one of three initial PRCs funded in 1986. HPRC has grown tremendously over 30 years, both in size and in the range of health topics we address. The constants I see linking HPRC's past, present, and future are:

  • Commitment to improving health and healthy aging, regionally and nationally.
  • Partnerships that guide and improve our research and programs, and greatly expand their reach.
  • Staff, students, and investigators eager to advance dissemination and implementation science while serving the community and our partners.

On a personal note, 2016 will be my first year as HPRC director. It is a true honor to lead this talented and dedicated group, and to build on the foundation established by Jeff Harris and all of HPRC’s former directors. I congratulate Jeff on his new appointment as chair of the UW Department of Health Services, and look forward to our continuing collaboration.

Thank you for everything you do to create healthier communities. All of us at HPRC wish you a happy, healthy, and productive 2016.

~ Peggy Hannon

Project Updates

WSPHA PT-REFER presentationThe PT-REFER team is working on the next stage of this core project by collaborating closely with Maureen Pike at Y-USA to develop a toolkit that YMCAs can use to improve outreach to physical therapy clinics in their community.

This fall, PT-REFER team members presented study findings at several local and national meetings: Washington State Physical Therapy Association, Elder Friendly Futures, Washington State Public Health Association (photo above: Lesley Steinman and Paige Denison), the Gerontological Society of America, and the Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation organized by AcademyHealth and the National Institutes of Health.

FIT test mail kitHPRC’s DOH Cancer Prevention team and its partners are evaluating the implementation of evidence-based strategies to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in patient populations. Partners are the Washington State Department of Health and two large health systems, Sea Mar and HealthPoint.

HPRC's team recently visited a Sea Mar clinic to get a closer look at its FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test) kit mailing process. Studies show home-based FIT screening as a highly effective, inexpensive, and easy-to-deliver CRC screening option. Sea Mar hopes to mail out 15,000 FIT kits by June 2016 to clients who are due for CRC screening.

CEOs Against CancerThe American Cancer Society's CEOs Against Cancer network (CAC) gathers executives from 570 of the nation's largest companies into 17 regional chapters to take action for cancer prevention and control. Last year, HPRC and ACS staff teamed up to help companies in the Washington state chapter implement evidence-based practices that promote cancer screening, healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation among their 349,000 employees. Although participating companies implemented an average of 58% of evidence-based practices at baseline, all had room for improvement. Implementation increased by 16% one year later.

Based on these positive results, ACS and HPRC are now kicking off similar efforts with the Colorado and Arizona CAC chapters. Jeff Harris leads the HPRC team involved in scaling up this innovative and exciting research.

HBRN Christine MayawakiIn November, national members of the Healthy Brain Research Network (HBRN) gathered informally at the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, where several HBRN investigators presented. Participating were UW's Basia Belza, lead for the HBRN Coordinating Center, and Christina Miyawaki (third from left in photo), University of Houston faculty and former HBRN Scholar.

RAINBOWResearch Aimed at Improving Both Mood and Weight (RAINBOW) in primary care: PEARLS is being combined with an evidence-based physical activity and nutrition program (Group Lifestyle Balance™) to address co-occurring depression and obesity in the Integrated Coaching for Better Mood and Weight (I-CARE) intervention study. Jun Ma, from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute and the University of Chicago Center for Research on Health and Aging, leads the randomized controlled trial, with 171 adults enrolled to date. HPRC's Mark Snowden and Lesley Steinman provide technical assistance on the study.

HPRC Students

HPRC has mentored hundreds of students during our 30 years of community-based health promotion research. We asked our current students to tell us a bit about themselves.

Photo (l-r): Sarah Fishleder, Daron Ryan, Ernesto Sosa, Deborah Passey (not pictured: Hannah Calas)

Hannah Calas
Undergraduate, Senior, School of Public Health

I have studied occupational health as well as environmental health, but have never had the opportunity to work in the field like I do... Continued

Sarah Fishleder
2nd year PhD student, Health Services

I earned an MPH in Epidemiology, and an MA in Applied Bio-Cultural Medical Anthropology from the University of South Florida in 2014... Continued

Deborah Passey
3rd year PhD student, Health Services

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science, and a Master’s degree in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Utah. Before coming to the... Continued

Daron Ryan
2nd year MPH student, Health Services with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences

I graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a dual degree in Psychology and Spanish. During my time here in Seattle, I have focused on mental health work with Latina immigrants... Continued

Ernesto Sosa
2nd year concurrent MSW and MPH student, Health Services with a concentration in Health Systems and Policy

I did my undergrad program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I majored in sociology and psychology. I took a year off after graduating and did a brief internship with... Continued


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Save the Dates

Community Advisory Board meeting

Date: Friday, Jan. 22
8:45 am to 12:00 pm

At: Tukwila Community Center Directions

Seminar: Successful Aging with Long‐term Physical Disability

Date: Thursday, March 10
10:00 am to 11:00 am

At: HPRC Directions

Presenter: Ivan Molton, UW Rehabilitation Medicine

Visit our website for notices of other upcoming seminars.

Welcome New Staff

Laurel Dillon-Sumner joins HPRC as a research coordinator for the Lung Cancer Screening project and DOH cancer prevention projects.

Laurie Kavanagh supports HPRC's workplace health promotion projects as a research coordinator.

Daron Ryan is assisting various HPRC projects as a data analyst and research consultant.

New CAB Member

This month, we welcome Jan Olmstead to HPRC's Community Advisory Board. Jan serves as Public Health Consultant Coordinator for the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State.

Recent Publications

Topics of our latest publications include:

  • Workplace health promotion for restaurant workers
  • Risk of falls for older adults in physical activity programs
  • Effectiveness of the American Cancer Society's CEOs Challenge for employee health
  • and more

See our recently published articles here

Prevention Research Centers 30 years logo

HPRC is a CDC Prevention Research Center - celebrating 30 years of building healthier communities together.


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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