Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

This has been and continues to be a busy time for the staff and faculty of the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). I would like to say we are busy with holiday stuff, but actually we are busy with work – and that’s a good thing. Our staff and faculty recently attended the annual conference of the American Public Health Association in Atlanta, GA, in November. Jeanette Gustat gave a presentation involving data from the Movin’ for LIFE study, in which it was shown that the number of physical assets in a particular neighborhood were associated with an increased number of individuals who were outdoors and active in that neighborhood. This is a big WOW and underscores the importance of increasing physical assets and capabilities in our underserved neighborhoods.
Then a number of us attended the PRC meeting at CDC in Atlanta immediately following APHA . This was a very informative one and one-half day meeting in which a lot of networking took place and we were able to discuss our Movin’ for LIFE activities and research, as well as learn about the research going on at the other PRCs around the country. It really was nice to become re-acquainted with those colleagues we already knew and to meet others for the first time. There were some strong indications of what the new PRC funding announcement will entail for the next five years of funding beginning in 2019, and so we will all be busy in the fall of 2018 putting our grant proposal together for the next five years. Please be forewarned that we may be calling upon our university colleagues and will be calling upon our community partners for input in this process. The help that you can give us from the community perspective will be invaluable.
Also, recently Jeanette Gustat’s Movin’ for LIFE photovoice project in the Ninth Ward and New Orleans East was presented to the public on Oct. 27 at the Sanchez Center in the Lower Ninth Ward (see the story in this issue). The pictures and comments by community residents were extraordinary and the event was nicely catered by two local vendors, Burnell Cotlon’s Lower 9th Ward Market and Café Dauphine. Based on popular demand, this very successful project was the subject of the Tulane PRC’s Fall 2017 Innovations in Public Health Seminar on Nov. 29, and one of the community residents who was involved in the project was a presenter and provided her input for the faculty, staff, and students, and community partners.
On Monday, Dec. 11, Revonda Darensbourg, the Tulane PRC’s Research Program Manager and community leader of the Movin’ for LIFE program was honored by Tulane University with a President’s Staff Excellence Award (see the story in this issue). She was surprised by University President Mike Fitts with this very well-deserved recognition.
In the New Year, recognition of our work continues. I will be heading for Paris, France, after the beginning of the year to present the cumulative results of our salad bar evaluation in New Orleans public schools. This presentation will be at the 5th International Conference on Nutrition & Growth. We have made several presentations at the meetings of this organization as they enthusiastically welcome the work that we do relative to diet and obesity in the New Orleans area.
The new year also brings more trainings for those in public health and related fields. Many of these opportunities are held in collaboration with partner centers at Tulane and student groups at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Check our website , social media, and newsletters for details about the upcoming Spring 2018 Communications, Racism and Communications Seminar Series and the Spring 2018 Innovations in Public Health Seminar.
So, keeping in mind that we are all working very hard, we are all looking forward to the holiday break. Our offices and all of Tulane University will be closed from Dec. 23 until Jan. 2. But, before we go, all of us here at the Tulane PRC would like to wish all of you a most joyous holiday season and a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

Carolyn C. Johnson, PhD, FAAHB
Director, Tulane Prevention Research Center
December 2017

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