Campus: CSU Long Beach -- November 01, 2002

Department Of Health And Human Services Awards $1.5 Million Grant To Cal State Long Beach For Local Volunteer Health Leaders Project


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the awarding of a three-year, $1.5 million grant to California State University, Long Beach for a project that will assist the Long Beach community in assessing the role of volunteer community health leaders and help local health officials learn more about health issues and community resources among underserved residents.

Titled “Retention and Productivity of Community Health Leaders,” the project was one of just 25 funded by the Office of Extramural Prevention Research at HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In all, the CDC office received more than 300 grant applications from across the country.

“I knew the competition would be pretty stiff. So, we were very pleased to get the grant,” said Kevin Malotte, a professor of health science at Cal State Long Beach and the project’s principal investigator. “We wrote a fairly strong proposal, but you never are sure. Still, I think (our proposal) had a good base, and we have good partners that helped sell the proposal to the reviewers.”

Among the partners in the project are researchers from the USC School of Medicine and Long Beach’s Partnership for the Public’s Health (PPH). Funded by The California Endowment and implemented by the Public Health Institute, PPH is pioneering efforts to bring about long-term, systemic changes in how community health issues are identified, addressed and evaluated in California. A total of 39 community groups and 14 health departments are participating in the project statewide.

PPH in Long Beach involves three different community partners--the City of Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services, the Community Partners Councils and the Long Beach Community Health Council.

“We’ve worked with these partners for more than a year, and they are great to work with,” Malotte pointed out. “This grant will allow us to research some of the ways to keep residents involved in fairly intensive health improvement programs. We’re hoping to be able to determine ways to better encourage community residents to stay involved in leadership positions in improving health in their communities.

“And, it is not just an issue in Long Beach,” he continued. “(Keeping community residents involved) is an issue wherever people try to involve community residents in local health programs.”

Using a combination case-study and quasi-experimental approach, Malotte and his colleagues will conduct a community-based, participatory research study that will focus on four areas:

  1. Evaluate the impact of monetary vs. non-monetary incentives on retention, participation, productivity and satisfaction with a group of community volunteer health leaders participating in the Partnership for the Public’s Health (PPH) project in Long Beach;

  2. Study the “natural history” of health leader retention, participation and satisfaction among health leaders in the various partnership organizations;

  3. Develop, implement and evaluate a community-wide participatory intervention designed to increase knowledge about health-related activities among traditionally hard-to-reach or underserved Long Beach residents through the facilitation of home and/or community-based educational sessions presented by the PPH health leaders;

  4. Evaluate the level of community awareness about the availability of local resources, health leader educational sessions and program recognition generated through outreach and distribution of role-model story publications through the PPH project over time in the target Long Beach communities.

In all, the 25 CDC grants are funding research in a variety of areas such as physical activity, diabetes, youth and school-based health, nutrition, obesity, asthma, drug prevention, tobacco prevention and violence/ injury prevention. Findings from this research should help communities develop public health policies and practices that promote health and reduce disease, disability and injury among specific populations.

“This grant program seeks to reduce the time between discovery and application of research by engaging as co-researchers the practitioners, policy-makers or community members who would be the ultimate users of research findings,” said Dr. Lawrence Green, director of CDC’s Extramural Prevention Research Program.


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