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Funded Initiatives and Collaborations

Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center Core Research Project: Project Take Charge

The Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center is one of a network of 26 academic research centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The PRC theme is "Risk Reduction and Early Detection in African American and Other Minority Community-Coalitions for Prevention Research." This center’s research infrastructure is designed to conduct multi-interdisciplinary community-based research initiatives, train community-based researchers and public health practitioners, demonstrate the value of community coalitions in conducting research, and communicate and disseminate research findings and public health information widely to advance public health practice and improve health outcomes in communities.

The center’s core research project, "A Multi-Method Approach to STI and HIV/AIDS Prevention among Urban Minority Youth," will implement a STI and HIV/AIDS prevention intervention with 384 youths ages 14-18, residing the Neighborhood Planning Units serviced by the Prevention Research Center. It also aims to address evidence gaps in the intervention research and analysis, such as the effects of gender, the effectiveness of multi-component interventions, and the effectiveness of including parents in intervention efforts. Tabia Henry Akintobi, PhD, MPH, is principal investigator, Rhonda Holliday, PhD, is core research project principal investigator and LaShawn Hoffman is Community Coalition board chair.

Project Take Charge, Principal Investigator: Rhonda Conerly Holliday, Ph.D., oversees the implementation of the Core Research Project—a collaborative effort between Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and their surrounding communities to address the burdens of HIV/AIDS, STIs and Substance Use among African American young adults ages 18-24. Take Charge seeks to these health conditions among young adults by implementing evidence based practices (EBPs including HIV testing, condom distribution, educational workshops) at four MSIs in Georgia - Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College and Albany State University. MSIs, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities, can serve as important collaborators with public health institutions to address the high rates of HIV in their surrounding communities. Using an implementation study paradigm, we will examine the strategy to implement these evidenced based practices (EBPs) and assess the health impact of these EBPs. We are hypothesizing that conducting routine HIV testing, distributing condoms online, and conducting health education activities on college campuses and in the surrounding communities will increase the number of individuals who are tested for HIV, enabling those who are HIV-positive to begin receiving care, and reducing engagement in risky sexual behaviors (as measured by increased condom use) among high risk young adults in areas that are heavily affected by HIV.

Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance

The Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) is an inter-institutional magnet that concentrates basic, translational, and clinical research investigators, community clinicians, professional societies, and industry collaborators in dynamic clinical and translational research projects.

Georgia CTSA is one of over 50 in a national consortium striving to improve the way clinical and translational research is conducted across the country.  The consortium shares a common vision to train the next generation of clinical investigators, translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, and engage communities in clinical research efforts.

The Community Engagement (CE) Key Function is led by the MSM and co-directed by co-leaders at The University of Georgia, Emory University and the Georgia Institutes of Technology. The CE supports community-university research partnerships, obtains community input into university research, and increases health research in community settings that is responsive to the health needs of the community. It connects existing academic community research programs from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, and University of Georgia, transforms research from a scientist-subject interaction to an equitable partnership, and trains investigators in principles of community-based participatory research. To reduce health disparities, Community Engagement:

  • Builds community capacity to develop and conduct collaborative research projects to address critical public health needs
  • Assists in the development of effective and sustainable community academic partnerships
  • Conducts courses and seminars on Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Provides training workshops for Community Engagement academic and community partners
  • Provides a platform for shared communication, networking, and community engagement among our partners and other stakeholders

Learn more information on Community Engagement and view rack card.

Georgia CTSA Principal Investigators include: W. Robert Taylor MD, PhD, Emory (Contact PI), Elizabeth O. Ofili, MD, MPH, Morehouse School of Medicine (PI), Andres J. Garcia, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology (PI), Bradley G. Phillips, PharmD, University of Georgia (PI), Henry M. Blumberg, MD, Emory (KL2 and TL1 PI).

Created in 2017 as one of a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health's Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts and train the next generation of clinical investigators.

Georgia Center for Diabetes Translational Research

The diabetes epidemic in the United States (US) has evolved considerably over the last quarter century. Though the evidence base for diabetes prevention and management has grown, major gaps persist: 1) The proportion of people with undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes has not improved; 2) Engagement in prevention is exceedingly low; and 3) Young adults and disenfranchised populations with diabetes fare poorly in terms of control. 

To address these trends in Georgia, where disparities in diabetes outcomes are particularly apparent, Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Morehouse School of Medicine collaboratively established the Georgia Center for Diabetes Translation Research (GCDTR), funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK - P30DK111024) and inter‐institutional partners. Learn more about the GCDTR.

Research Centers for Minority Institutions (RCMI) Center for Translational Research in Health Disparities

Major support for the bio-medical research infrastructure of Morehouse School of Medicine is received through the Research Centers for Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program, sponsored by the National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities. With RCMI funding, state of the art bio-medical research technology cores, shared use facilities, and other resources and other resources are available to the MSM community

The U54 Center for Translational Research in Health Disparities (CTRHD) consists of five Cores (Administrative, Research Infrastructure, Investigation Development, Community Engagement and Recruitment), that will proactively develop an MDTT-based approach for quickly applying research findings to the health o underserved communities. Learn more about the CDTRD.

Core Research Project: HIV/AIDS Prevention Program for Youth

The Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center is one of a network of 26 academic research centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The PRC theme is "Risk Reduction and Early Detection in African American and Other Minority Community-Coalitions for Prevention Research." This center’s research infrastructure is designed to conduct multi-interdisciplinary community-based research initiatives, train community-based researchers and public health practitioners, demonstrate the value of community coalitions in conducting research, and communicate and disseminate research findings and public health information widely to advance public health practice and improve health outcomes in communities.

The center’s core research project, "A Multi-Method Approach to STI and HIV/AIDS Prevention among Urban Minority Youth," will implement a STI and HIV/AIDS prevention intervention with 384 youths ages 14-18, residing the Neighborhood Planning Units serviced by the Prevention Research Center. It also aims to address evidence gaps in the intervention research and analysis, such as the effects of gender, the effectiveness of multi-component interventions, and the effectiveness of including parents in intervention efforts. Tabia Henry Akintobi, PhD, MPH, is principal investigator, Rhonda Holliday, PhD, is core research project principal investigator and LaShawn Hoffman is Community Coalition board chair.

Special Interest Project: Adapting Evidence-Based Epilepsy Self-Management Programs for Blacks in Georgia

Epilepsy self-management can improve treatment outcomes and overall quality of life for people with epilepsy. Using a community-engaged approach—including an Epilepsy Community Advisory Board, focus groups and interviews with community stakeholders—this project proposes to replicate the use of Project UPLIFT among African Americans, and to disseminate three CDC Managing Epilepsy Well Network products (i.e., Project UPLIFT, Self-Management Instrument, & WebEase) in Atlanta and around Georgia.

The research goals are to promote the adoption and replication of self-management programs in underserved communities, and to understand the features that facilitate dissemination, replication, and adoption of these programs among people with epilepsy.

Rakale C. Quarells, PhD, (MSM) is principal investigator and Nancy Thompson, PhD, (Emory University) is co-principal investigator. This special interest project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Morehouse School of Medicine Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Health Initiative: Transforming Metropolitan Atlanta Communities through Prevention, Primary Care Linkages and Policy Change

Resources for Healthy Living

This comprehensive implementation grant partners the MSM Prevention Research Center with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Georgia State University and the National Center for Primary Care. It will employ an evidence‐based and culturally tailored model that bridges community and clinical connections, and employs tailored policy, systems and environmental change.

Strategies will be designed to improve access to quality healthcare and reduce risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease among vulnerable adult African Americans. MSM REACH HI will accomplish this through a community‐based participatory approach that connects residents to care through community health workers, enlists the clinical leadership of federally qualified health centers, improves behavioral health and chronic disease management, engages community leaders, and improves health outcomes.

Tabia Henry Akintobi, PhD, MPH, PRC director, is principal investigator and Kisha Holden, PhD, MSCR, SHLI deputy director, is co-principal investigator. This project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Past Initiatives

Partnerships to Improve Community Health

PICH is a 3-year initiative that supports implementation of evidence-based strategies to improve the health of communities and reduce the prevalence of chronic disease. PICH builds on a body of knowledge developed through previously funded Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs and encourages collaborations with a multi-sectoral coalition to implement sustainable changes in communities where people live, learn, work, and play.

The purpose of the program evaluation, funded through the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, is to assess the implementation of evidence- and practice-based strategies to address tobacco use and exposure, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, lack of access to chronic disease prevention, and risk reduction and management in Fulton County.