The University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH) is one of 37 centers in the United States funded by the CDC's Prevention Research Center Program . The center was first funded in 2002.
Prevention Research Centers, designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, constitute a network of academic, community, and public health partners that conducts applied public health research. PRCs create health promotion and disease prevention strategies that work and can bring long-term benefits to communities. PRCs also offer training and technical assistance to the public health community. The PRC-RH is part of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.
The focus of the PRC-RH is to improve the health of rural communities in Iowa and the Midwest through participatory research . Our research themes are nutrition, physical activity, and aging. These are strongly in line with the health priorities identified by state and local entities. The PRC-RH's logic model can be see from here. The model describes the activities and related outcomes of the PRC-RH and is consistent with the national Prevention Research Center Program logic model.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25% of all U.S. residents live in rural communities of less than 2500 people. Of the 99 counties in Iowa, 90 of them are classified as rural. Rural Americans face multiple barriers that can adversely affect their health such as higher rates of poverty, geographic obstacles to health care and less access to health care providers. Across the US in general, rural areas have been shown to have a higher than average prevalence of obesity and fewer persons meeting physical activity recommendations. A large part of the rural population of Iowa is dominated by middle-aged and older adults as younger residents move to urban areas and leave the state. All of these factors contribute to increased injury, morbidity, and mortality among rural populations.
The faculty and staff of the PRC-RH represent many different disciplines including public health, nutrition, community psychology, medicine, communications, sociology, nursing, and exercise science. Click here for more information about the PRC-RH's faculty and staff.