PRC Structure

The UCSF Prevention Research Center (PRC) is part of a network of 26 PRCs in 24 states that study how people and their communities can avoid or counter risks for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer. The PRC aims to:

  1. Establish a Prevention Research Center that focuses on appropriate adaptation, dissemination and implementation of HIV health disparities research for application to policy, programs and practices;
  2. Enhance collaborations with partners in the community, health care systems, government agencies, institutions and universities to facilitate innovative, high-impact, multidisciplinary HIV research and knowledge translation to training, programs, practices and policies;
  3. Increase the capacity of partners in the community, health care systems, government agencies, institutions and universities to understand and implement the findings from HIV research through targeted training, communication and dissemination; and
  4. Develop an implementation research portfolio that translates and adapts an evidence-based intervention into practice settings. We propose to begin this portfolio by studying the implementation of an evaluated intervention to improve linkage of HIV-infected young Black MSM to clinical care.


The UCSF PRC is led by Director and Principal Investigator (PI) Marguerita Lightfoot, PhD and Co-PIs George Rutherford, MD, Greg Rebchook, PhD, and Janet Myers, PhD, MPH. The PRC leadership team is responsible for PRC operations, which include engaging faculty, community, and public health partners in the activities of the UCSF PRC. UCSF PRC Organization Chart

The UCSF PRC facilitates significant and innovative health sciences research through partnerships with public health organizations which ultimately improves public health. The PRC has 2 major activities –

  • The Center Core fosters scientific interaction, stimulates innovation, and enhances the quality of research.
  • The Research Core functions as an interdependent network of community, academic, and public health partners to conduct prevention research and promote the wide use of practices proven to promote good health.

Center Core

PRC works with communities to develop, evaluate, and implement varied community research that can prevent and control chronic diseases, identify gaps in research, and translate research results into policy and public health practice. The PRC Core is engaged in five primary activities.

  • Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Technical Assistance -  PRC facilitates the formation of strong partnerships and collaboration between scientists and community groups, which is broadly defined to include service providers, health care providers, CBOs, public health departments, government agencies, policy makers, gatekeepers, and both infected and affected populations. Technical Assistance (TA) on diverse topics is provided to a variety of CBOs and Health Departments to strengthen their capacity. PRC responds to requests for information about HIV prevention science methods, instruments, research findings, and intervention models.
  • Communications and Dissemination – PRC communication strategies are developed thru strong community collaborations. The objectives of the communication plan are to enable dissemination of PRC activities and results to both lay and scientific audiences at the local, state, and national levels as well as national organization. Findings from evidence-based interventions are synthesized and shared with target audiences via determined channels, such as the CAPS/PRC website and social media.
  • Evaluation – The PRC has established procedures to collect outcome and process data in order to document PRC activities and demonstrate their impact. This evaluation is also used to identify activities that should be modified to increase impact, productivity and quality.
  • Infrastructure – PRC leadership maintains bidirectional communication between the University administrations and public health, CBO, and community partners. This ensures that the PRC’s mission and goals are understood by its collaborators in order to mobilize support for its activities and research.
  • Training – PRC engages in education and training of clinicians, CBOs, public health partners, and community members through workshops and seminars. Building skills to better implement evidence-based strategies is integral to the development and evaluation of many HIV prevention evidence-based interventions and adaptations of these interventions. The PRC team has extensive expertise in both developing and evaluating evidence-based interventions, as well as in adapting them for ethnic/racial and sexual minority groups and implementing them in real-world settings.

Research Core

The Research Core team collaborates with local communities to develop and conduct research that benefits the research participants and the broader community as well. The research contributes to improved community and population health and includes new models for preventing chronic disease and other public health problems. Our research project addresses a significant health disparity – HIV – among Black and Latino gay men who have sex with men (MSM). The intervention Project STYLE (“Strength Through Youth Livin’ Empowered”) seeks adapt and replicate STYLE, a model intervention to improve linkage of HIV-infected young MSM of color to clinical care. STYLE project has these core elements:

  • Social marketing campaign
  • Community outreach & HIV testing
  • Red carpet HIV services
  • HIV+ support services

Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Special interest projects (SIPs) are funded by CDC and other federal agencies. The funder outlines broad goals for each SIP, which is offered only to the PRCs, and the grantee is selected through competitive peer-review. Each project is funded for at least one year, but many are multiyear projects that receive several million dollars.The following SIPs are currently funded through the UCSF PRC:

2010-2014 Period

2014-2019 Period

Thematic Networks

Thematic research networks are a type of special interest project (SIP) that fund several PRCs to work together on a specific health issue. The PRC Program has seven thematic networks around common topics of interest and UCSF PRC coordinates the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN) Seven thematic networks are currently active:

  • Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN)
  • Global and Territorial Health Research Network (GTHRN) – New
  • Healthy Brain Initiative Network (HBIN)
  • Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network
  • Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN)
  • Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN)
  • Workplace Health Research Network (WHRN)