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UMass Amherst School of Public Health wins $2.5 million training grant
Date:10/7/2011

AMHERST, Mass. Training to improve the nation's public health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, managerial and leadership competence of current and future public health workers will soon be underway in Springfield, Holyoke, Pittsfield and the Berkshires, supported by a four-year, $2.5 million grant to the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dean Marjorie Aelion, with lead faculty investigators on the grant Dan Gerber and Stuart Chipkin, recently announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services award to the SPHHS at UMass Amherst, which creates a Public Health Training Center on the campus. Similar awards were also given to Yale, Columbia and Johns Hopkins universities.

Through the center, training will be available to 30 current community health workers in Springfield, Holyoke, Pittsfield and the Berkshires each year over the next four years. Concurrently, 30 UMass Amherst SPHHS undergraduate student interns will be placed in some of the communities to help administer new programs each year.

The UMass Amherst team in addition to Gerber and Chipkin includes Gloria DiFulvio, Elaine Puleo and Risa Silverman, head of the SPHHS Office of Public Health Practice & Outreach. They will partner with state and local agencies to develop community-specific diabetes prevention and management strategies. These will vary depending on a community's specific needs and goals. Some will focus on front-line health worker training, while others may see student interns helping to set up walking or exercise programs, fresh food markets, cooking clubs or other original, home-grown community-based activities.

As Gerber explains, "We will be providing the opportunity for each community to direct its own project specific to its needs." In coming years, broad public health strategies used to prevent and manage diabetes will be expanded upon and applied to other
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Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Source:Eurekalert

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