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Health Promotion Research Center                 April  2017

AARP Foundation Grant to Fund Study of PEARLS Program

PEARLS Depression Program for Depression TreatmentThe American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation, as part of its initiative to study and scale up evidence-based solutions for vulnerable older adults, has awarded a $750,000, three-year grant to HPRC. The grant will fund research to evaluate the financial and social benefits of HPRC’s PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives), a national depression treatment program for older adults. HPRC will be working with PEARLS programs around the country, as well as the Research and Data Analysis Division at the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Lesley Steinman will be the study's principal investigator, supported by investigators Mark Snowden, Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, and Norma Coe. The AARP Foundation is funding this and six other U.S. studies with the goal of scaling evidence-based programs to serve increased numbers of low-income adults.

“We are really excited about this opportunity to further study how PEARLS has an impact on people’s lives,” says Lesley Steinman. “While we know that the program is effective at treating late-life depression, this project will allow us to better understand the effect of PEARLS on other outcomes, including health services utilization, transition to nursing homes, and social isolation. These outcomes are of interest to not only older adults and their families, but also to the community-based organizations and policymakers that support them.”

Spotlight on Paige Denison, Sound Generations

Sound Generations (formerly known as Senior Services) has been a community partner of HPRC’s since 1994 and licenses the EnhanceFitness program nationally. Paige Denison became an EnhanceFitness instructor in 1999, and now oversees all facets of the program, including collaboration with HPRC on PT-REFER, our core research project.

Tell us about your role at Sound Generations.

I oversee the Health & Wellness Department at Sound Generations. Locally, our work is focused on providing evidence-based health promotion programs in King County, Washington, to improve health outcomes for older adults. Nationallysoon to be internationallywe license and manage the research coordination, continued development, and dissemination of the EnhanceFitness and EnhanceWellness programs. Additionally, we handle data collection, management, and analytics for multiple evidence-based programs and the national Falls Prevention Database. It's a busy department with an incredibly dedicated and talented team.

In addition, I serve on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council (EBLC) and the American College of Sports Medicine Exercise is Medicine Older Adult Advisory Group.

How did you get into this field of work? 

My undergraduate work in finance led to years as a corporate auditor for a large financial holding company and a lot of travel. When my husband Steve and I moved to Seattle and started a family, we embraced the outdoor life in the Pacific Northwest. I became certified as a fitness instructor and enjoyed teaching classes in the evening. In 1999, a friend reached out to me to teach an EnhanceFitness class at a local senior center. I never left! I taught for 17 years, eventually achieving National Trainer status and a series of managerial roles for the EnhanceFitness program. The attention to its sound program design and fidelity appealed to the auditor in me, but the change I saw in participants was the reason I stayed with it.

What do you think about community-based research, and academic/community organization partnerships? 

The community-based research being done at HPRC is so important. The researchers bring the community into studies as true partners; they use the knowledge of the community to thoroughly develop research protocols that lead to better understanding of health problems, and effect change in an impactful and replicable way in the real world. 

EnhanceFitness is a wonderful example. The program came out of a research partnership between Sound Generations (then called Senior Services), Kaiser Permanente of Washington (previously Group Health Cooperative), and UW HPRC. Sound Generations continues as licensor/disseminating organization, Kaiser Permanente of Washington provides ongoing support, and UW HPRC remains our scientific advisory partner. This collaboration has resulted in a growing presence in 40 states plus the District of Columbia, and more than 70,000 participantsthat is a lot of lives changed.

How do you stay physically active?

Running is my meditation: one foot in front of the other, one mile at a time. I haven’t run as much lately, but I'm looking forward to increasing my mileage again. I’ve completed 27 marathons and 3 ultramarathons. I also strength train 2-3 times a week and enjoy yoga.

What keeps you passionate about this work?

The participants in our workshops, counseling sessions, and fitness classes who share their stories keep me passionate. We help people take charge of their lives, and it doesn’t get much better than that!

Older Americans Month May 2017Each May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the celebration of Older Americans Month. This year's theme, Age Out Loud, is designed to give aging a new voice. Go here for activity ideas and stories. 

HPRC is a CDC Prevention Research Center

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Save the Dates

Community Advisory Board meeting

Date: Friday, April 28
8:45 am to 12:00 pm

At: Tukwila Community Center  Directions

Seminar: Washington State Department of Health Hypertension Control Plan

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

Presenter: Mia Vogel

Attend in person: HPRC conference room  Directions

Attend via webinarJoin here
Audio: 206-616-2663 or 1-866-495-7016 (Passcode: 288912)

Visit our website to see a full schedule of upcoming seminars.


Nikki Eller, a second-year MPH student, is working with the Healthy Brain Research Network and the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging on our memory messaging study.

We welcome three new Community Advisory Board members:

G De Castro, Director, Aging and Adult Services, Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Pama Joyner, State Chronic Disease Director, Division of Prevention and Community Health, Washington State Department of Health

Rose Quinby, Vice President of Business Development and Programs, Sound Generations


We thank Janna Bardi, HPRC CAB member since 2013, for her service and contributions.


HPRC Director Peggy Hannon has been selected to serve on the CDC Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee (BCCEDCAC). Congratulations to Peggy for the appointment to this national role.

Recent Publications

Special Supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

The March 2017 issue of AJPM celebrates 30 years since the CDC bridged academic public health research and practice to develop the Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program. HPRC authors and programs are featured in several of the articles. Read more

Tang W, Kannaley K, Friedman DB, Edwards VJ, Wilcox S, Levkoff SE, et al. Concern about developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia and intention to be screened: An analysis of national survey data. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2017;71:43-49. Abstract

See all of our recently published articles 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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