Emory research center accepting grant applications

ALBANY -- The Emory Prevention Research Center (EPRC), along with multiple partners, is launching a grants program called "Prevention Programs That Work" to provide monetary assistance to various agencies working in the community service sector -- including those in Southwest Georgia.

The EPRC will be awarding grants to four organizations in the area to carry out a prevention program designed to improve health through better nutrition and physical activity, cancer screenings, smoking prevention and smoking cessation.

The Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition is one of the partners in the project.

"Our region suffers from a heavier burden of cancer than many areas of the state, due largely to lifestyle factors, including high rates of obesity and tobacco use," explained Denise Ballard, the Cancer Coalition's vice president of cancer prevention and control. "During these tough economic times, it is more important than ever that limited resources be directed toward efforts that have proven effective."

Recipients will get up to $8,000 for program expenses over two years, or $4,000 each year, and will also be able to get help from the EPRC staff to assist with conducting their programs.

"It's extremely important because the time and effort we are setting (aside) for research is helping the community," said Michelle Carvalho, project coordinator for the EPRC Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network. "We really want to benefit society."

In the past, similar programs have enabled 12 Southwest Georgia organizations to implement health promotion programs. The Cook County Family Connection was funded in 2008 to conduct the Treatwell nutrition program with its staff, board of directors and collaborative partners.

"These are true, long-term partnerships that make a difference in our communities," Ballard said.

This is the third year EPRC has been running this grant system, Carvalho said. In the past, the time frame for the program has been one year instead of two.

"It (was extended) to allow time to develop relationships and build capacity," Carvalho explained.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the EPRC-sponsored Prevention Programs training workshop to improve their chances of receiving a grant. The one-day interactive workshop will teach interested community leaders, practitioners, educators and health professionals how to find, select and implement prevention programs that have already been demonstrated to be effective. The full-day workshop will be offered twice -- April 16 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany and April 17 at the Rainwater Conference Center in Valdosta.

The counties in Southwest Georgia eligible to receive grants will be the 31 that fall within the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition's sphere of influence.

The training workshops are free and open to the public, but interested participants must register online at www.sph.emory.edu/eprc. The deadline to register for the workshops is April 9; the deadline to apply for a grant is May 14.

"We are just excited to have another set of workshops and mini-grants," Carvalho said.

During the application process, organizations will have 12 programs to chose from in four topics. Ideally, the funding from the grants would allow them to jump-start the program they select.

"Community organizations can chose to implement one of those in their organization," Carvalho said. "Part of the application is to pick one and justify why it's a good fit and how you want to tweak it to make it fit your community or organization."

The EPRC works with communities to prevent cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. "Prevention Programs That Work" is one way of working with communities to prevent cancer by helping them to adapt and implement programs that have proven to be successful in getting people to eat healthier foods, be more physically active, abstain from smoking and get recommended cancer screenings.

To learn more about the grants program, including eligibility requirements and the training workshop, or to download an application, visit www.sph.emory.edu/EPRC or contact Carvalho at (404) 712-8795. For more information about EPRC activities in Southwest Georgia, contact EPRC Southwest Georgia Program Coordinator J.K. Veluswamy at (229) 312-1708.