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Past Projects

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Exploratory P20 Research Center grant


The Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University (GW), Department of Prevention and Community Health (PCH), together with the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC) and other community partners was awarded a five-year Exploratory P20 Research Center grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) in 2012. P20 Center grants focus on specific health disparities, populations, and communities, and the GW Center focused on disparities related to the Latino immigrant/refugee population (and parallels between this and other immigrant/refugee communities). This involved substantial community collaboration to address multiple contributing factors for substance abuse and co-occurring health issues (including interpersonal and family violence and risky sexual behavior) in Langley Park, MD, where there are disproportionate rates of these co-occurring conditions. The Avance Center built on an existing university-community collaboration, and employed a unique, multi-level intervention, called Adelante, drawing from lessons learned during a CDC-funded prototype intervention called SAFER Latinos. Adelante uses a modified Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach to build youth, family, and community supports as a prevention strategy.


For the P20 Center grant, the Avance Center was organized into four Cores that worked collaboratively and included community-based and scientific training components, community engagement activities, and dissemination of best practice in disparities research.

ADMINISTRATIVE CORE – A collaborative university-community structure organized by a Community Participatory Research Team (CPRT).

RESEARCH CORE РDeveloped, implemented and evaluated Adelante, an innovative, community-driven, multi-component community intervention that addressed a vulnerability cluster of substance abuse and co-occurring conditions (sex risk, violence) in Latino youth and families. The Adelante intervention built on the SAFER Latinos prototype developed and previously implemented through the GW-Latino community collaboration. Adelante used an asset-based, Positive Youth Development approach to build multiple community supports for youth and families as a prevention mechanism, recognizing the social-ecological nature of health in this and similar communities. The intervention was evaluated through multiple data collection components, with a comparison community (no intervention) in Culmore, Virginia.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACH CORE – Supported the overall mission of the Center through specific, collaborative activities aimed at: (1) increasing youth and community participation in prevention efforts; (2) increasing skills and knowledge regarding preventing substance abuse and related health conditions; (3) testing innovative social media and branding strategies to increase the likelihood of behavior change, and (4) improving health literacy and capacity using a tested community training approach.

RESEARCH TRAINING & EDUCATION CORE – Provided an ongoing mechanism for training and educating faculty, students and community members in a range of issues related to addressing racial/ethnic health disparities generally, and in Latino immigrant/refugee populations. Also provided opportunities for partner community members to gain specific research skills that will increase capacity and research participation.