YMCA of Greater Richmond Diabetes ProgramsYMCA logo

Approximately 11% of adults in the Richmond area have diabetes, which is above the national average. In response to this community need, the YMCA of Greater Richmond has developed a community-oriented diabetes self-management program. The program has served approximately 300 individuals to date.

The goal of this partnership between the YMCA of Greater Richmond and the VCU Departments of Family Medicine and Psychology is to build research capacity regarding diabetes self-management in Richmond. The YMCA has engaged VCU to collaborate on evaluating their diabetes self-management program and to develop recommendations for program sustainability. This project will act as a catalyst for:

  1. Identifying best-practices for community-oriented diabetes self-management programs, especially concerning the bi-directional relationships between diabetes and depression
  2. Developing opportunities to engage VCU students in community-based research and service-learning
  3. Building sustainable research capacity for diabetes within the Richmond community through the mutual exchange of expertise, training, and resources.

GREMAP members currently involved in this partnership: Jeannie Concha, Briana Mezuk, Prachi Desai, Lauren Gray, and Katherine Crawford


Community Advisory Board

Virginia Commonwealth University Division of Epidemiology and the YMCA of Greater Richmond Diabetes Wellness Team are sponsoring a Community Advisory Board to support our diabetes-related research efforts. The Community Advisory Board will facilitate the co-learning process between the YMCA and VCU around this issue, and provide a means of engaging community members and stakeholders in diabetes research. It will support the mutual exchange of expertise, training, and resources throughout our ongoing and future diabetes-related research, and will provide a platform for the dissemination of our scholarship via public events, and newsletters.

Learn more about Community Advisory Boards and why they are critical to public health research here:


7th District Health and Wellness Survey

This initative, with the strong support of the Honorable Cynthia Newbille, Richmond City Councilwoman, seeks to address health needs in the 7th District (East End) of Richmond. The Health and Wellness Initative (HWI) seeks to promote health education and outreach and support efforts at health promotion, including increasing access to screening, treatment, and coordianted care, for residents in this district. 

Within the HWI Dr. Prom-Wormley has directed a communty-engaged survey to assess the needs of residents in the East End. Survey team members residents of the East End, VCU faculty and students, and community organization representatives. Over 1000 surveys were completed by area residents. In November 2014, they held a "Data-palooza" to explore the results of this survey with residents and to jointly identify action items going forward to improve the health and wellness of this area. 

The group identified three “next steps” to use the knowledge gained from Datapalooza:

  1. Develop a comprehensive resource and services guide for East End residents. 
  2. Create a summary document and strategy by which to develop legislative advocacy for mental health issues in the East End. 
  3. Host a celebratory Datapalooza results-related event for the residents, along with a call for their ideas to further promote a culture of wellness in their respective neighborhoods.

GREMAP members currently involved in this partnership: Elizabeth Prom-Wormley, Natalie Bareis, and Katherine Crawford


Academic Partners


University of Michigan Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities

The overall goal of the Michigan Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities (CIAHD) is to promote research that integrates social and biological factors as well as factors defined at multiple levels (ranging from individuals, to neighborhoods to societies) in understanding the causes of health disparities. Although the Center will initially focus on applying this model to cardiovascular risk, it provides a framework useful to all minority health and health disparities researchers.

The specific aims of the center are:

  1. To advance scientific understanding of how the interrelation of social and biologic factors contributes to health in minority populations and health disparities with a specific focus on cardiovascular risk.
  2. To establish a mutually beneficial partnership between the University of Michigan and the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) (through its partners Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center) to advance research and training within our multilevel integrated framework.
  3. To create a forum that will integrate ongoing minority health and health disparities research broadly at the University of Michigan and our partner institutions under the general umbrella or a multilevel framework that integrates social and biological factors.
  4. To disseminate the multilevel integrated paradigm to the biomedical and health research community.


Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics is established to facilitate the development of a multidisciplinary, integrated research program in the Genetic Epidemiology of Psychiatric Illness and Human Behavior and Development in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Part of the fascination of psychiatric and behavioral genetics lies in the fact that almost all facets of the expression of genes and environment are relevant to the understanding of the etiology and developmental trajectory of psychiatric disorders and behavioral phenotypes. A wide variety of epigenetic factors intervene to modify the expression of genes in normal and abnormal behavior including the different genetic and social contexts associated with gender and ethnic differences, variation in the family and individual environment and inherent changes which occur during development and aging. Current problems in behavior and psychiatric genetics range from characterizing specific susceptibility loci at the molecular level to exploring the role of latent genetic and environmental factors in the onset and course of behavioral phenotypes and psychiatric disorders. Such a multi-level understanding of the role of genes and environment in psychiatric illness and behavior requires a multidisciplinary approach which integrates the diverse methods and insights of biometrical and mendelian genetics, genetic epidemiology, clinical psychology and psychiatry, and molecular biology/human gene mapping.


Centre for Primary Care Research, Lund University

The mission of the Centre for Primary Care Research is to conduct groundbreaking clinical research to achieve primary care of the highest quality and to consequently improve the health of the population in Skåne County, Sweden. The overall objective is to improve primary care through scientific training of the current and next generation of researchers, and by advancing knowledge concerning the causes and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders, and the promotion of health.

The Centre aims to advance the science of family medicine by developing new methods and tailored multidisciplinary interventions for application in primary care. Merging scientific insights gained from medicine with techniques from other scientific disciplines offers the promise of further advancing our knowledge of widespread diseases and their etiologies.

The knowledge obtained will help doctors to identify earlier patients at risk of developing diseases. This will in turn improve the chances of treatment being successful, reduce the risk of complications, and enhance patients' quality of life.