A CDC-supported research program may help tone and buff Emory University employees -- and moreover, help other companies around the country learn how best to reach their employees with life-saving health and fitness programs.
Julie Gazmararian, PhD, in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, is trying to find out whether adults who receive an intervention program tailored to their learning style and health literacy skills may be more likely to increase their physical activity.
Dr. Gazmararian has been awarded $1,366,134 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study Physical Activity, Learning Styles and Health Literacy among Emory employees. Funding for the three-year study was granted by a new initiative under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The grants were given to promote research to develop effective health promotion and prevention programs at the workplace.
"Most adults spend the majority of their waking hours at work," Dr. Gazmararian says. "The workplace environment is a key arena for combating physical inactivity, obesity, and poor quality of life. Not only could the results have far reaching implications for workplace wellness programs, but for public health communication efforts as well."
Four of the five grants awarded in Georgia under the CDC's new Health Protection Research Initiative were given to researchers at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, including the one awarded to Dr. Gazmararian. The awards, announced by CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding on October 7, are the first of a multiyear initiative. More than 200 applications were received and 57 grants were awarded to projects in 22 states.
Grants awarded to other Emory University researchers include:
* Research by Ed Becker, PhD, that focuses on the Impact of Health Promotion Programs on MCO Family Health. The project will evaluate the effects of exposure to three alternative sources of health promotion services, including: primary care practice teams, health education classes, and worksite wellness programs. Dr. Becker, a professor of health policy and management, will work in conjunction with Dr. Douglas Robin from Kaiser Permanente Georgia. The project was awarded $800,000 in funding and will last from October 2004 to March 2006.
* The Economic Evaluation of Workplace Health Promotion will be the focus of research for Curtis S. Florence, PhD. The long-term objective of the project is to produce evidence that will improve employee health through workplace-based health promotion. This study will examine the prevalence, health benefits and health care cost impact of health promotion and disease prevention programs offered by employers to their employees. Dr. Florence is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management.
* Carol J. Rowland Hogue, PhD will lead PRISE: Worksite Fitness for African-American Women, a study to develop and test worksite interventions designed to increase physical activity among African-American employed within the Grady Health System, and reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. Dr. Hogue is a professor of epidemiology.
The Emory employee population - including Emory University, Emory Healthcare, and the Emory Clinic - represents a workforce of almost 19,000 employees. Emory's diverse employee population represents a variety of races, income levels and occupational characteristics, Dr. Gazmararian notes. About 2,000 Emory employees from different units and departments will be invited to participate in the health promotion program beginning in the spring of 2005. Departments will be randomly selected for participation and individual employee participation in study programs is voluntary.