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The Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center

The Yale-Griffin Prevent Research Center (PRC) works with community partners to develop, implement and evaluate community-based approaches to help prevent and control chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer working with communities in both the New Haven and the Lower Naugatuck Valley areas.

The Yale-Griffin PRC was established in 1998 as one of the CDC’s 25 academic research centers across the United States. The center supports a strong academic/community partnership with Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut.

The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) is a primary partner of the Yale-Griffin PRC and is co-housed at the Yale School of Public Health and Southern Connecticut State University. The mission of CARE, since its founding in 2007 at the Yale School of Public Health, has been to work with the New Haven community to improve health in New Haven among people most impacted by disparities, including Black and Brown communities and low-income populations through collaborative research, practice, and engagement.

Research and Initiatives

Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program

This implementation science project is examining the feasibility and pathways to success of low-income populations at risk for diabetes to use a virtually-delivered prevention program, supported by community-based health workers and hospital-based community nurses. This project aims to identify and address barriers that keep low-income populations from successfully participating in evidence-based lifestyle programs.

The Year 1 interviews health care practitioners in both communities will identify areas to address prior to and during implementation.

In Year 2 interviews will be conducted with residents to assess their attitudes and perceived barriers concerning healthy eating and exercise, and the use of digital technology. Guided by these data we will conduct a pilot study to assess the delivery of the first 4 weeks of the vDPP combined with care coordination from CHWs/CHNs to a representative sample of our population of focus in preparation for offering the full-length vDPP and related care coordination.

REALIST Review

A team led by Associate Research Scientist Amber Hromi-Fiedler, PhD, MPH is conducting a realist review of published research articles on Type 2 diabetes prevention/ lifestyle management interventions in low-income communities. The purpose of this review is to determine how, why and in what circumstances diabetes prevention programs (DPPs) delivered virtually can effectively improve diabetes risk factors among adults with lower incomes.

Partnering in CARE Initiatives

In partnership with the New Haven community, CARE works in tandem with the PRC to take action against chronic diseases and other challenges that threaten the health of community members. Current activities include:

  • As part of its Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH grant), CARE has received supplemental funding to promote flu vaccinations to communities most a risk, with a focus on Black and Brown residents. CARE is mobilizing its extensive community-based network to deliver a locally-tailored educational campaign to increase access to and uptake of flu vaccinations.
  • Mobilizing with partners to fight hunger during the COVID-19 Crisis in New Haven
  • Engaging with partners on a New Haven Breastfeeding Initiative
  • Started a new cohort for the New Haven Health Leaders program who will be trained to focus on neighborhood-level health issues while engaging other residents and community partners toward the mission of improving health for their communities.
  • Started a new cohort for the Community Research Fellows program who will be trained to focus CBPR and PCOR approaches, working in partnership with Yale researchers as fellows on their research teams toward the mission of improving health for their communities.

Evaluation

The Center works with community-based organizations to build capacity and encourage participatory and empowerment approaches. The Center in partnerhisp with CARE is engaged on the following evaluations:

  • Wholesome Wave]
  • Gather New Haven Farm Based Wellness Program
  • City of New Haven: Urban Agriculture & Innovative Production Grant
  • REACH and PCORI evaluations • COVID-19 assessment (in partnership with Firewall Project)
  • Flu Vaccine grant

Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

Data from the 2019 Community Index Report shows that heart disease remains a leading cause of premature death among New Haven and Lower Naugatuck Valley residents. By addressing heart disease, we can also influence other chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, stroke and some cancer. Our overall goal is to reduce rates of premature death through community-wide initiatives addressing modifiable lifestyle risk factors.

In the Valley, we have developed a strategic plan using established community infrastructure, the Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Council of Health and Human Services.The PRC is providing leadership for the Heart Disease Working Group in partnership with the Naugatuck Valley Health District, Griffin Health, the Massaro Community Farm, and TEAM, Inc.,

The group is also working with the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Social Marketing and Social Change at the University of South Florida to develop and implement a social marketing campaign.

We are also involved in the Powering Healthy Lives in CT project being led by DataHaven.

In New Haven, we are an active partner with the Healthier Greater New Haven Partnership.

Opportunities for Students and Collaborators

Yale School of Public Health Students are invaluable collaborators in the Y-G PRC, helping implement and evaluate all of the Y-G PRC studies. MPH internship opportunities are available.

Community partners and collaborators are essential to success in the community-based public health research and implementation.

Please direct inquiries to Kathleen O’Connor Duffany.