New Network Will Tackle Global Health Challenges

Oct. 22, 2014

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry will serve as the hub of a new network that will develop and carry out public health research and interventions in the U.S. territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. 

The University of Rochester has been named by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the Coordinating Center for the Global and Territorial Health Research Network (GTHRN). The new network, which is part of the CDC’s Prevention Research Centers Program, will also include Yale University and the University of Illinois at Chicago as collaborating centers.

“This designation builds upon Rochester’s strong global health connections and track record and expertise in prevention research,” said Timothy Dye, Ph.D., the principal investigator and director of the new Coordinating Center. “Our goal is not only to help communities in the U.S. territories address their own chronic disease challenges, but also to take the lessons that are learned and apply them to public health problems closer to home.” 

Dye is also professor and associate chair for Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of Biomedical Informatics for the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

The University of Rochester will partner with the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Hawaii to help communities in the U.S. territories identify local public health challenges and connect them with the technical assistance, resources, and academic partners necessary to design, implement, and evaluate research and intervention programs.

U.S. territories with significant populations include Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa in the Pacific and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

The new Coordinating Center will also carry out research that will examine the impact of community-based technology interventions on chronic disease risk behaviors. This focus builds upon a successful smoking cessation model developed by the University and employed in the Dominican Republic.  This model will eventually be expanded to other health goals, such as obesity prevention and physical activity promotion. 

The University of Rochester is home to more than 20 global health research programs and actively partners with academic and medical colleagues and communities on every continent. The University is also part of a national network of 26 Prevention Research Centers created by the CDC to conduct prevention research and translate research results into policy and public health practice. The Rochester Prevention Research Center will support the new GTHRN Coordinating Center.