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Center for Health Promotion and Behavioral Research


Center for Health Promotion and Behavioral Research

This initiative is designed to stimulate and support meritorious oral health promotion research directed at improving health and preventing diseases and/or their sequelae through three life stages: 1) maternal and child health, 2) adolescents and young adults and 3) adults with complex chronic diseases. 

The objectives of the research are to develop and test oral health promotion strategies that:

  • apply or adapt existing, or develop new, behavioral theories and planning research models to known risk factors and lifestyle aspects of oral diseases and conditions
  • promote of optimal oral health of individuals, families and communities in the context of overall health and co-morbidities
  •  integrate oral health promotion into general health promotion programs.

The goal of health promotion research is to develop and test interventions that improve and promote health and prevent diseases of individuals, families and communities.  Ultimately successful health promotion research outcomes could lead to developing and testing practice guidelines for prevention and policy changes.

Specifically, health promotion research aims at understanding the relationship between health practices and health outcomes and using that knowledge base to develop test interventions to enhance health.  It requires a systematic approach for identifying and understanding the role and interactions of complex social, cultural, behavioral, environmental, biologic and other determinants of health and health problems.  The interventions can be behavioral, clinical, social or combination of these approaches.  Health promotion research can address primary prevention (enhancing health-promoting factors and/or reducing risk factors to a disease or condition), secondary prevention (including early detection and prompt treatment) and/or tertiary prevention (addressing co-morbidities or prevention of recurrences).  In addition this research can focus on health determinants that relate to more than one disease or condition, and determinants that strengthen the overall health of individuals and groups such as appropriate nutrition and prevention of tobacco use.  The outcomes of this research will help individuals, practitioners, institutions and communities support practices and lifestyles that offer optimal health and well-being. 

The current portfolio has elements of health promotion but a very limited number of them are using behavioral or theoretical frameworks to plan health promotion research. Those projects are in early childhood caries and oral cancer, addressing primarily the areas of maternal and child health and adults’ oral health.  No NIDCR projects are currently being funded in health promotion for the adolescent and young adult age group.      

This proposal for health promotion research has evolved from the workgroups convened for the NIDCR implementation plan on the topics of behavioral research and health disparities.

Researchers may be at different stages of preparedness to conduct health promotion research and this research often necessitates formation of interdisciplinary teams and partnerships. The proposed approach would give investigators the opportunity to propose a study at the appropriate stage, and to follow through on the research project from the initial steps to its implementation and evaluation.   Consistent with the model from the NIDCR clinical trials program, the proposed initiative would include three Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) that permit investigators to submit applications at different stages of research development.  The FOAs are proposed for:
1) Pilot Data Grant for Health Promotion Research - funding for two years to complete a needs assessment to collect social epidemiological data, data on knowledge, opinions and practices, assess activities in the community and policies related to the oral disease or condition to be studied.  The assessment is could be done at a state or local level to then select those areas where the oral disease or condition has a higher prevalence or incidence. 

2) Planning Data Grant for Health Promotion Research - funding for one year to build-up partnerships/coalitions among stakeholders dealing with the oral disease or condition to be studied.  In addition, develop a plan for the future research activities based on data collected. 

3) PA – Health Promotion Research Implementation and Testing – funding for up to 5 years to conduct and evaluate research project. 

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014