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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / September 2019 / Continued CDC-Funding Allows Deaf Health Research to Expand Beyond Rochester

Continued CDC-Funding Allows Deaf Health Research to Expand Beyond Rochester

The UR CTSI’s Rochester Prevention Research Center: National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR) will soon be able to expand its research and community outreach efforts to Buffalo and Syracuse, thanks to renewed funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While NCDHR remains dedicated to Rochester’s local community, the five-year, $3.75 million Prevention Research Center grant will allow the center to fulfill a long-time goal of working with Deaf communities beyond Rochester.

NCDHR staff: Jennifer Stewardson, Vince Samar, Neil Curran, Song Hoa Choi, Lori DeWindt, Tamala David, Kelly Matthews, Erika de la Wink, Steve Barnett, Jana Sirianni, Erika SutterNCDHR is funded through the CDC’s Prevention Research Centers program, a network of academic researchers, public health agencies and community members that conducts applied research in disease prevention and health promotion. The NCDHR is one of 25 Preventive Research Centers to receive the latest round of awards, but is the only research center in the world that works with Deaf sign language users and people with hearing loss to promote health and prevent disease through community based participatory research.

“We greatly appreciate our partnership with the CDC, to eliminate health disparities among Deaf sign language users and people with hearing loss,” said Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., associate vice president for Health Sciences Research at URMC. “This latest award begins the 16th year of consecutive funding as a Prevention Research Center and is a testament to the outstanding work of NCDHR’s leadership and staff; it will enable us to continue and expand our collaborations with Rochester’s Deaf community, and the national Deaf community at large.”

With this new round of funding, NCDHR will partner with community-based organizations in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse regions to run its highly-successful Deaf Weight Wise research program. Developed by Deaf and hearing researchers and community members, Deaf Weight Wise aims to combat obesity among Deaf ASL-users and scientifically track success.

“When I asked my primary care physician for healthier eating options, I was given a simple sheet of paper with general nutrition information and a referral to an outside nutritionist,” said Earl Allen, a DWW program participant. “DWW program provided direct access to nutrition information beneficial to my health that was inaccessible from my PCP.”

The Deaf Weight Wise program has evolved over time and owes much of its success to the involvement and collaboration with Rochester’s Deaf communities. With this expansion, the NCDHR team hopes to continue that evolution – to further improve this program and the lives of Deaf community members across our region.

NCDHR also partners with Deaf communities on the topic of HIV prevention and education, through the Deaf2 (Deaf-squared) Community Committee, and with communities of people with hearing loss, through the Healthy Living with Hearing Loss Community Committee.  Explore this and NCDHR’s other programs and projects.

Learn more about these efforts on the NCDHR website and in this announcement vlog.

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This work is a product of a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5 U48DP005026-05 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Susanne Pritchard Pallo | 9/24/2019

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