Whether CDC as a whole has recognized this asset is unclear. CDC's strategic plan (CDC, 1994) makes mention of the PRC program, but it does not appear to feature the program as a resource.
As it recreates its vision for the future, CDC should consider the important and changing relationships between communities and universities discussed in Chapter 2. To ensure that the PRC program remains relevant to critical current public health issues, the committee recommends that
CDC should ensure that the vision and goals of the PRC program are compatible, mutually supportive, and consistent with the agency's overall strategic plan and with Healthy People 2000. The PRC program's vision and goals should define, in a clear and comprehensive way, the contributions of the PRC program to national priorities.
A strategic plan, developed collaboratively by the CDC staff and the PRC directors, might help to clarify the program's actual and potential contributions.
CDC defines prevention research in the application guidelines for the PRC program as research designed “to yield results directly applicable to interventions to prevent occurrence of disease and disability, or the progression of detectable but asymptomatic disease”. In the context of the broad spectrum of research defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Moskowitz, et al., 1981), CDC has described the research conducted under its PRC program as applied research. The definition, however, should not be interpreted as limiting the scope of research to disease prevention priorities, as it sometimes appears to do in CDC documents—it should include health promotion. Health promotion requires a scope of research that may not have a direct application to prevention of specific diseases or disabilities, at least in the short run. Health promotion research, for instance, addresses risk-taking among adolescents, which indirectly affects lifelong patterns of tobacco, alcohol, and substance use, as well as sexual behaviors that affect teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and AIDS. At least three of the PRCs (Hopkins, Illinois, and Texas) are addressing these issues. Health promotion research, generally encompasses the examination of underlying risk conditions, which may not have an immediate influence on the incidence of diseases and disability, as well as more proximal risk factors. Health promotion research also includes the examination of processes that build the understanding and skills, mobilize the resources, and reinforce the actions of individuals and communities to cultivate health and to improve the quality of life. In order for the PRC program to remain consistent with current theory and