Two Epidemiology and Public Health Faculty Win International Award

Two Miller School faculty members have been recognized by the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) for their outstanding contributions to advancing the science of preventing social, physical and mental health problems.

Hilda Pantin, Ph.D., and Guillermo Prado, Ph.D., both associate professors of epidemiology and public health, were awarded the SPR’s 2010 Community, Culture and Prevention Science Award this month for their extensive research and resultant strategies used in the prevention of drug abuse and HIV risk behaviors among Hispanic youth and their families.

“It is quite a privilege to be recognized by our peers for our contributions to prevention science in the areas of health disparities, culture, and community,” said Dr. Prado, who is also director of the Miller School’s Doctorate in Epidemiology Program. “Our substance abuse and HIV prevention program has made a significant impact on the health of the Hispanic adolescents and families we have seen over the years. We plan on continuing to improve the health of the Hispanic population by disseminating Familias Unidas, our evidence-based prevention program, across our local community and across the country.”

The Fairfax, Virginia-based society, which draws its members from around the world, seeks to advance science-based prevention programs and policies through empirical research. The organization grants several awards in different categories each year to honor outstanding work of its members. The community and culture award is specifically for researchers who develop and enhance understanding and adaptation of “effective prevention strategies for traditionally underserved populations, including racial and ethnic groups.”

Familias Unidas (United Families), which was launched more than a decade ago, has proved successful in preventing and reducing a wide array of problem behaviors, including the use of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, and engagement in unprotected sex. The ongoing program, which targets Hispanic youth, is currently supported by $6.5 million in extramural funding and has cumulatively served more than 2,000 families in our community.

“So many Hispanic adolescents and their families have directly benefited from the work we have done and continue to do,” said Dr. Pantin. “We are pleased the Society for Prevention Research recognized our efforts, which also aim to eliminate health disparities in populations disproportionately affected by risky behavior and particular diseases.”

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