About Us


Our Vision, Mission and Aims


The WV PRC’s vision, mission, and aims were developed in collaboration with our Community Pasrtnership Board and our partners.

WV-PRC Vision: A culture of collaboration that promotes optimal health and well being in WV.

WV-PRC Mission: To transform WV public health policy and practice through community-driven research.

WV-PRC Aims:

Aim 1: Expand community engagement in and support for CPBR.
Aim 2: Foster, conduct, and translate innovative community-driven prevention research and evaluation.
Aim 3: Provide training to enrich the public health workforce.
Aim 4: Provide leadership and guidance in applied evidence-based public health policy and practice.
Aim 5: Maintain and expand WV PRC infrastructure and resources.

Our Values

  • We will conduct high quality, community-driven prevention research.
  • We will translate research findings into practical, cost-effective prevention programs, policies, and strategies
    to improve the health of people living in Appalachia.
  • We will be responsive to the disease prevention and health promotion training needs of all partners: researchers, students, health care providers, and community members.
  • We will actively collaborate with community partners to set research priorities that address identified community
    health concerns in Appalachia.
  • We will respect the dignity, confidentiality, and rights of all partners, communities, and study participants.
  • We will demonstrate honesty, integrity, and fairness in everything we do.
  • We will maintain a respectful, enjoyable, team-centered, and challenging work environment.
  • We will remain committed to being self-reflective and willing to change in order to most effectively make a
    difference in the health of the people of Appalachia.

Our Research Agenda


We examine the underlying behaviors and social conditions related to tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition, all areas in which WV trails the nation in desirable behavior.

Our focus is on reducing health disparities related to race/ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomic status among the rural populations in WV and nearby Appalachian states.

Our efforts are guided by a Community Partnership Board whose members represent state and local stakeholders in public health, education, business, and community welfare.

Our Successes


The impact of the PRC is best illustrated through our successes.


Developing and disseminating programs that work – PRC researchers partnered with the American Lung Association and community, state and national partners to develop, evaluate, and disseminate the American Lung Association’s Not on Tobacco Teen Smoking Cessation program. N-O-T has achieved national and international recognition and won multiple national awards as an innovative, effective, and adoptable program. It is the most widely used teen smoking cessation in the country, having reached over 175,000 US teens. "No research agency I have worked with has demonstrated a greater commitment to the health of WV children than the WV PRC. What started as a WV research effort to address teen smoking has become a national and international success. It is widely considered as “the Gold Standard” to help teens quit smoking. Through N-O-T, the work of the PRC changes the lives of teens every day." - Tony Richards, American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.

Evaluating and Informing Tobacco Policies and Programs. - One of the PRCs most significant partnerships is with the WV Bureau for Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Prevention (DTP). Since 2000, the PRC has been the evaluator for all projects funded through the DTP. The PRC assists the DTP with the provision of State Tobacco Settlement funds by helping shape project proposals and tailoring programs for individual communities. “The DTP has benefited extensively from our long-term collaboration with the PRC. DTP commends the PRC for its tireless efforts toward improving tobacco prevention and cessation in WV. Based on their [PRC’s] guidance, DTP only funds evidence- based practice, and we now quantify and qualify everything that we fund. Without the PRC, the WV-DTP would not be able to share our successes with the nation." Bruce Adkins, Director WV Division of Tobacco Prevention and Chair of the National Tobacco Control Network.

Evaluating and Informing WV Childhood Obesity Legislation – The PRC is the lead agency on a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) project that assesses the impact of the 2005 WV Healthy Lifestyles Act addressing childhood obesity. Findings from this project will inform future WV policy and practice to reduce childhood obesity, provide recommendations to other states engaged in similar initiatives, and increase WV’s capacity to address childhood obesity. Partners include the WV CARDIAC Project, the WVU Health Research Center, the WV Office of Healthy Lifestyles and the WV Office of Healthy Schools. “Early on in our discussions with RWJ [about a potential WV policy evaluation project], it became clear that the PRC had the expertise and experience to serve as the lead organization. The Office of Healthy Lifestyles continues to be impressed by the PRC’s innovation, dedication and expertise on this project, and we continue to learn from them daily. Because of the WVU PRC, WV is in a position to be a model for public health policy evaluation for other states.” Keri Kennedy, Director, Office of Healthy Lifestyles, WVBPH.

Enhancing Community Capacity to Promote Health. - The PRC works with communities to enhance their capacity to effectively promote health and reduce disease. For example, the PRC collaborates closely with the Partnership of African American Churches to address community-identified health priorities and disparities. “The PRC has been extremely helpful to the African American community in the Kanawha Valley in general and specifically by assisting the Partnership of African American Churches (PAAC). The PRC was very instrumental in helping PAAC receive a 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant. The Communities Closing the Gap Program serves more than one hundred and twenty kids in five different community-based sites offering tutoring and academic enrichment… I can say without reservations, the Communities Closing the Gap Program would not have happened without the Prevention Research Center at West Virginia University. “ Reverend James Patterson, President, Partnership of African American Churches.

Collaborated with the WV Department of Education to develop and implement a research-based state-wide school tobacco nonuse policy consistent with CDC guidelines.

Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center | Prevention Research Center | P.O. Box 9190 | Morgantown, WV 26506-9190
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