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ASU research center receives Arizona Public Health Association recognition

September 24, 2013

The ASU Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center has been selected to receive the 2013 “Commitment to Underserved People” award by the Arizona Public Health Association. This award recognizes individuals and agencies for the delivery of health services to underserved populations in Arizona.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Arizona Public Health Association, a longstanding champion of community well-being” said Flavio Marsiglia, center director. “We have worked hard to ensure that our research findings are applied in the real world and can help address Arizona’s most pressing health problems, particularly among underserved populations. This award acknowledges the innovative and use-inspired intervention research efforts of our faculty, staff, students and community partners. ”

Among its major achievements, the center has developed a substance abuse curriculum for 6th-9th graders called Keepin’ it REAL, which has proven effective in preventing and reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The curriculum has been adopted across the nation and other countries, and has been identified as a model program by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Keepin’ it REAL has been culturally adapted to serve the needs of urban American Indian youth, resulting in a new intervention called Living in 2 Worlds. A supplemental parenting component for both versions of the intervention is under evaluation through randomized controlled trials.       

Among other projects, the center is conducting a community-based diabetes prevention research project, titled Every Little Step Counts, to determine the impact of structured physical activity and nutrition classes on insulin sensitivity and weight-specific quality of life in Latino adolescents. SIRC is also conducting health literacy efforts, such as a cardiovascular disease prevention project with African American men in partnership with Black barbershops and other health literacy initiatives within the diverse refugee communities of Phoenix.  

“We are so fortunate to have Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center as a local partner in health disparities research,” said Zipatly Mendoza, office chief of the Arizona Health Disparities Center of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Their work truly emanates from our communities and they embrace partnership throughout the course of their research. I think that’s the secret to their success.”