HPRC News & Events

2014 Leaders in Health Cohort


Congratulations to the 2014 cohort for their successful completion of the Leaders in Health Community Training Program!

Specific details about these participant’s individual projects will be posted soon.

Leaders in Health works to build the capacity of our community partners by providing participants with an introduction to the fundamentals of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention among children and youth.

Helping Kids and Communities Be Healthy and Active

Playground handlebars

Across Massachusetts, communities are searching for ways to help residents live active and healthy lives.

The Massachusetts Joint Use Toolkit is a how-to guide for community members seeking to access public buildings and spaces afterhours so residents can exercise and engage in other recreational activities. This Toolkit helps communities maximize the use of schools, playgrounds, parks, libraries, and town halls, by offering children and their families a safe, familiar place to get fit. The Toolkit describes the process of sharing space from A to Z; it addresses location, funding, safety, and liability, and provides a Model Joint Use Agreement that communities can use to safely open unused spaces to the public.

More about the toolkit and joint use project.


WEBINAR: Active Living Research featuring Dr. Angie Cradock

Achieving Change Across Sectors: Integrating Research, Policy, & Practice


Tuesday, February 11
1:00 pm ET

The January/February 2014 (Vol. 28, Issue sp3) supplemental issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion is devoted to Active Living Research. The issue highlights papers selected from abstracts submitted for presentation at Active Living Research’s tenth annual conference in February 2013. The theme of the 2013 annual conference was Achieving Change Across Sectors; Integrating Research, Policy and Practice.

This webinar will feature key findings from three papers and will be moderated by the Associate Editor of the supplement, Jay Maddock. There will be time for Q&A after each presentation and a brief wrap-up discussion.

Featured Articles and Presenters

  • Evaluating the Implementation and Active Living Impacts of a State Government Planning Policy Designed to Create Walkable Neighborhoods in Perth, Western Australia. (American Journal of Health Promotion: January/February 2014, Vol. 28, No. sp3, pp. S5-S18)
    • Paula Hooper, PhD, MSc, BSc, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, RESIDE-II Research into Practice Project Coordinator
  • Taking Physical Activity to the Streets: The Popularity of Ciclovia and Open Streets Initiatives in the United States. (American Journal of Health Promotion: January/February 2014, Vol. 28, No. sp3, pp. S116-S118)
    • J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, Assistant Professor, Brown School | Washington University in St. Louis Investigator, Prevention Research Center in St. Louis
  • Impact of the Boston Active School Day Policy to Promote Physical Activity Among Children. (American Journal of Health Promotion: January/February 2014, Vol. 28, No. sp3, pp. S54-S64)
    • Angie Cradock, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health | Deputy Director, Harvard Prevention Research Center
    • Jill Carter, EdM, MA, Executive Director, Health and Wellness Department, Boston Public Schools

Seeking Applicants for Leaders in Health

Application due February 14, 2014

Leaders in Health community training program is currently seeking applications from community members who are striving to improve nutrition and physical activity in Boston and surrounding communities.

Now in its 4th year, the program’s goal is to build the capacity of our community partners by providing participants with an introduction to the fundamentals of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention among children and youth. Individuals who are currently involved with a nutrition- or physical activity-related program or project (on either a work or volunteer basis) are eligible to apply. Participants will attend interactive training sessions, complete assignments, and receive support to create an action plan to enhance their current work.


“Impact of the Boston Active School Day Policy to Promote Physical Activity Among Children”

A study by HPRC’s Dr. Angie Cradock, Jessica Barrett, and Dr. Steven Gortmaker found that Active School Day implementation increased student moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels and decreased sedentary time during school at modest cost.

The study took place in six elementary schools with three matched pairs and included 455 consenting fourth- and fifth-grade students in Boston, Massachusetts, from February to June 2011.

Technology and Childhood Obesity: The Good, the Bad, and the Possible

Community Partners Meeting Wrap-Up

Thank you to all who attended our Ninth Annual Community Partners Meeting and joined in the discussion on technology and childhood obesity. If you missed the meeting or any of the materials and handouts, they are linked in the below for download. You can also check out some highlights from the day’s events (tagged with #technobesity) on our twitter account, @HarvardPRC.

Meeting Agenda

HPRC Fact Sheet
A brief description about our center and networks, as well as current projects, including:

  • OSNAP Overview – The current core project working with out of school time programs in Massachusetts to improve physical activity, nutrition and screen time related practices, policies and environments. Find more handouts on osnap.org.
  • LIH Overview – The Leaders in Health Community Training Program works to enhance community capacity to conduct health promotion and disease prevention. 

Physical Activity for Public Health at MIT
A summary of centers and researchers working on technology and obesity and physical activity at MIT, as well as the school’s student fitness policy.
-Constantine Psimopoulos, Assistant Director of Fitness, M.I.T.

Technology for Obesity Research
A look into some tools for physical activity and diet measurement.
-Jessica Barrett & Lizzie Barnett, HPRC

Social Media & Social Marketing in Public Health Programs
An interactive presentation with tips and links, as well as a handout with key questions to think about for your organization’s social media channels and social marketing campaigns.
-Nick Martin, BPHC & Brett Otis, HPRC

HPRC to Evaluate Impact of the “Rethink Your Drink” Campaign

traffic-lightToday, Mayor Menino announced a partnership with Shaw’s & Star Market, Stop & Shop, and Dudley Square’s Tropical Foods to rollout the “Rethink Your Drink” Campaign. Through a color-coded labeling system, the 15-store effort aims to help raise awareness about the negative health impacts of consuming too many sugar-sweetened beverages. The Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC) and The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC)  will evaluate whether the effort will change consumer behavior and result in healthier shopping habits.

See the announcement for more information and details about the campaign.




HPRC at APHA’s Annual Meeting & Expo

This year’s APHA meeting, “Think Global Act Local: Best Practices Around the World,” addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health.

Be sure to look for HPRC at the following presentations:

Monday, November 4th

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Food & Nutrition Student Research
BCEC: Exhibit Hall A/B1

Children’s dietary intake in afterschool programs: Impact of foods and beverages obtained outside of program-provided snacks.
– Erica L. Kenney, MPH


Tuesday, November 5th

10:30 AM- 12:00 PM
Modeling the cost effectiveness of childhood obesity interventions and policies: an evaluation of methods to evaluate four strategies in the United States
BCEC: 210A
Moderator: Steve Gortmaker

10:30 AM
Cost-effectiveness of a sugar-sweetened beverage excise tax in the United States
– Michael Long, ScD

10:50 AM
Cost-effectiveness of a state policy requiring minimum levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity during elementary school physical education classes
– Jessica L. Barrett, MPH

1:10 PM
Potential impact of eliminating the tax subsidy of food and beverage television advertising directed at children and adolescents on BMI, dalys and healthcare costs in the United States
– Kendrin Sonneville, RD, ScD

1:30 PM
Impact and cost-effectiveness of childcare center policy changes on BMI and healthcare costs in the United States
– Davene R. Wright, PhD


Wednesday, November 6th

8:30 AM- 10:00 AM
Chronic diseases management
BCEC: 159
Moderator: Dianne Young, MPH

8:30 AM – 8:45 AM
Sustainability of the Maine youth overweight collaborative improvements three years post-intervention
– Michele Polacsek, PhD, MHS


10:30 AM- 12:00 PM
Engaging States and Communities in Supporting Opportunities to Address Obesity: A View from CDC and Partners
BCEC: 209
Moderator: Barbara Polhamus

11:25 AM- 11:40 AM
Working with community partners in Boston to improve nutrition and physical activity policies and environments
– The Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center


10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
School Food Programs and Policies
BCEC: 210A
Moderator: Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

10:50AM – 11:10 AM
Improving nutrition and physical activity policies in afterschool programs: Results from a group-randomized controlled trial
– Erica L. Kenney


12:30PM-2:00 PM
A sugar sweetened beverage excise tax health impact assessment (HIA) for Maine
BCEC: 259B
– Michele Polacsek

EVENT: HPRC Community Partners Meeting

Technology and Childhood Obesity: The Good, the Bad, and the Possible

Highlights from the meeting will be shared on Twitter via @HarvardPRC. Join in on the conversation with #technobesity.


Featured Keynote Speakers:

Screen Proliferation and the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Connections, Projections, and Solutions Ahead

Dr. Michael Rich, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of the Center on Media and Child Health, Boston Children’s Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical at School; Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health

Selling Junk Food to Kids in the Digital Age

Cara Wilking, J.D.
Senior Staff Attorney at Public Health Advocacy Institute

Concurrent Workshops

  • How to control technology
  • Technology for obesity research
  • Social media and social marketing

*Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:00 am. Lunch will be provided during the concurrent workshops.

*Parking will be available at 252 Albany Street Parking Lot at no charge.

Print Invitation

Questions? Please contact:
Jenny Reiner