Illinois Prevention Research Center: Partnering to Promote Health in Urban Communities


The Prevention Research Center (PRC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago was first funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1989 under the scientific direction of the Brian Flay, DPhil, and Robin Mermelstein, PhD. Under their leadership, the PRC focused on adolescent health research, development of methodological and statistical approaches for behavioral health research, and enhancing relationships with state and local public health agencies. As a result of the initial success of the PRC, funding from CDC has continued uninterrupted, with current funding available through 2009.

Subsequent to the initial grant, the PRC was able to expand its research to incorporate smoking cessation, adolescent health, and diabetes prevention. First under the direction of Loretta Lacy, PhD, and later Susan R. Levy, PhD, the PRC expanded its scope and presence on the UIC campus, in Chicago neighborhoods, and across Illinois.

Additional funding from the CDC allowed investigators from across the UIC campus to join with the PRC to conduct research on a broad range of topics, including cancer control, healthy aging, and school health. These efforts resulted in numerous scientific advances, on-going productive collaborations and partnerships, and improved educational opportunities for students in public health and the health professions.

Now under the leadership of Robin J Mermelstein, PhD, the Illinois Prevention Research Center (IPRC) continues to work closely with its community partners, Chicago's academic community, and local, state and national public health leaders to improve the health of all Illinoisans. Among other activities, the IPRC is engaged with community partners on Chicago's southwest side to control diabetes through lifestyle changes incorporating improved nutrition and physical activity.

Collage of active community members