Special Community Engagement Projects

The community is at the heart of what we do at the Tulane PRC. We are fortunate to work in vibrant New Orleans, where neighborhood residents have clear visions for what they want their community to be. We engage in special community projects that enable us to tap into community member’s thoughts and creativity, and work together to make it easier for New Orleanians to live healthy lives. We could not do the work we do without the help and support of the New Orleans community and a number of active community partners working at the grassroots level to improve health.

Be Heard Campaign


Past Project

Be Heard: Utilizing mass communications and new media to develop and disseminate youth-generated health promotion messages

Youth in New Orleans are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to those nationwide, in part because many high school students do not meet recommendations for physical activity. Be Heard was a pilot health promotion project that sought to address this problem by encouraging the development of user-generated content to reach African-American youth in New Orleans, ages 13 to 18. Established through a partnership with the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), Entergy’s Charitable Foundation and Q93 radio station, Be Heard was launched as a radio contest to create spoken-word messages or song lyrics focused on the importance of physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Be Heard’s strategy utilized the two-step flow theory of communications whereby communicating to and leveraging the creativity of gatekeepers allows teens to speak to their peers about being physically active in their own words. Top entries were recorded in the radio studio and “making-of” videos were produced and uploaded to the contest Web site and YouTube. Social media sites, like Facebook and MySpace, were used to generate campaign awareness and encourage voting. Grassroots marketing was also utilized to target hard-to-reach youth in community centers, barbershops and at schools. The public was invited to vote for their favorite spot, and the winning spot aired on Q93 radio station for one week. The contest page received 833 visitors during the voting phase and 410 unique visitors. More than 12,000 votes were received, 99% of which were text message votes. Data resulting from this pilot study showed the effort was feasible and successful relative to implementation and participation. Future efforts may involve a larger scale study which will include effectiveness testing.

Project staff: Catherine Haywood, Carolyn C Johnson, PhD, FAAHB, Jeanette Gustat, PhD, MPH, and Diego Rose, PhD, MPH

Other Related Projects


Community Advisory Board (CAB)

The Community Advisory Board of the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) is comprised of over 15 members who represent nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations, regional universities, and state and local government. The group meets quarterly to support the Tulane PRC’s progress on projects (both the core project and other research projects), communications and training activities, and policy work. Besides providing advice to the Tulane PRC on its activities, the CAB is a mechanism by…

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Journal of Community Health Promotion and Research

The Journal of Community Health Promotion and Research is managed by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) and gives New Orleans area partners an outlet to share lessons learned from local research, programs and campaigns with the rest of the region, country and world. This journal is a free outlet for organizations to publish their health-related work, launched in January 2015. It will provide readers with insights and findings on the work being done by…

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Neighborhood Ambassador Program

In early 2011, the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) launched its Neighborhood Ambassador Program to connect neighborhood groups to health-related resources and programs, depending on each community’s needs and goals. Support from the Tulane PRC includes providing skills to empower neighborhoods to initiate and maintain future health-related activities, including walking groups, health fairs, cooking demonstrations and community gardens. For information, contact the Tulane PRC Community Engagement Program Manager Catherine Haywood at chaywoo@tulane.edu or 504-988-1158.

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#LiveFitNOLA Twitter Chats

The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) and the City of New Orleans’ Fit NOLA initiative moderate monthly #LiveFitNOLA Twitter Chats that focus on health and wellness in New Orleans. Chats take place on the first Thursday of every month from 12pm to 1pm CT. Each month, the chat will carry a different health and wellness theme, paired with a local host that can add their lens of insight to the selected topic. FAQs What is…

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National Community Committee

The National Community Committee (NCC) is one of several committees that help guide the national PRC Program. There are 26 PRCs across the country, housed at schools of public health or schools of medicine. The committee represents the people in communities that work with PRCs to do community-based participatory research (CBPR) in chronic disease prevention and control. Each PRC has a representative on the NCC. Tulane’s representative, Catherine Haywood, is one of the Regional Directors…

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Shop Talk

Past Project Shop Talk was a pilot health promotion campaign that focuses on engagement of non-traditional community partners to communicate health information to their peers. The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) has been working in New Orleans for nearly a decade conducting community-based participatory research and asset-mapping exercises. In the African-American community, barber shops have long been considered comfortable settings for conversations about personal matters. Shop Talk aimed to increase awareness and modify attitudes about…

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Iberville Boys and Girls Club

Past Project Iberville Boys and Girls Club provides a safe place for youth to develop trusting relationships, and get involved in life-enhancing programs and character development that foster a sense of hope in the future. The Tulane Prevention Research Center PRC) has given technical support in finding sustainable funding for the center, assist in grant writing, and prepare fact sheets about the Center for distribution to other communities in New Orleans. Iberville One-Pager Final_Iberville_one-pager-1289948084.doc Program…

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Featured Publications


Physical Activity


Data to action: using formative research to develop intervention programs to increase physical activity in adolescent girls.


Physical Activity


Depressive symptoms and physical activity in adolescent girls

all scientific publications




Rebuilding a Healthier New Orleans


Policy Briefs


A Question of Access: Addressing Poor Nutrition, Food Availability, and Policy

all prc publications

Special Community Engagement Projects Health Journal