PRC Organization

The Office of the Director provides administrative oversight of all ARPRC activities, with input from the Steering Committee, Joint Advisory Council, and Partner Advisory Committee. The ARPRC Research Team leads the Take Control demonstration project. The Community Committee provides input to the ARPRC to ensure the success of the Take Control project. The ARPRC has four core units, which conduct the activities of the Center – Community Engagement and Partnerships, Training and Technical Assistance, Communications, and Evaluation.

Office of the Director

James Raczynski, Ph.D., ARPRC Director, Research Project PI – Founding Dean and Professor, Health Behavior and Health Education, COPH

Dr. Raczynski is the Founding Dean of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH), having joined the COPH one year after it opened in 2001. He is also a Professor in the COPH’s Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. He led the effort to establish the ARPRC in 2009, as well as that of the NIMHD-funded Arkansas Center for Health Disparities (ARCHD), which opened in 2007. He serves as the ARCHD PI and Director. Dr. Raczynski’s 30-year research career began at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with the NHLBI-funded Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP) in 1986, a 10-year study of the efficacy of behavioral approaches to prevent hypertension. He served as the TOHP’s Intervention Committee Chair the last five years of the project. In addition to TOHP and a number of other prevention multi-center trials, he was the founding PI/Center Director of the UAB Center for Health Promotion, a CDC PRC from 1993 to 2002. His work with community-based prevention studies began in 1988 when he served as PI for the CDC-funded Cooperative Agreement for Risk Reduction through Physical Activity within Minority Populations and has continued, particularly through his work in establishing the UAB PRC in 1993 and then in establishing the UAMS ARPRC in 2009. 

Administrative Team

Martha Phillips, Ph.D., MPH, MBA, ARPRC Research Project Co-PI, Deputy Director for Administration, Evaluation Unit Director – Director, Office of Public Health Informatics and Associate Professor, Epidemiology, COPH

Dr. Phillips is an Associate Professor in the COPH Department of Epidemiology and serves as Pilot Research Project PI and Co-Director of the Evaluation Core for the currently funded ARPRC. Over the years, she has served in a number of significant administrative positions. While primary faculty in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Epidemiology prior to moving to UAMS, she worked part-time for two years in the Alabama Department of Health as the department’s Chronic Disease Epidemiologist. Also, while at UAB, she served as the UAB PRC Deputy Director. At UAMS COPH she has served as the Vice Chair and Interim Chair for the Department of Epidemiology and also has held two positions with the Arkansas Department of Health: a co-funded position for four years and then for another two years as full-time Director of the ADH Center for Public Health Practice. She thus has significant administrative experience with Centers and public health practice positions, and is well-suited to serve as the ARPRC Deputy Director for Administration.

Joseph Bates, M.D., MS, ARPRC Research Project Co-PI, Deputy Director for Practice Translation – Deputy State Health Officer and Chief Science Officer, ADH; Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, COPH

Dr. Bates is the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Deputy State Health Officer, ADH Chief Science Officer, and COPH Associate Dean for Public Health Practice. He is also a Professor of Epidemiology at COPH. After a distinguished research, practice, education and administrative career, including tenures as the Central Arkansas Veterans Administration Chief of Medicine and UAMS College of Medicine Associate Dean, he joined the ADH in 1998 as Director of the Tuberculosis Control Program. His innovations in the treatment of tuberculosis transformed the management of the disease, earning him an international reputation as a researcher in tuberculosis. Dr. Bates brings a unique perspective to the ARPRC’s leadership, providing significant translational and pragmatic practice expertise to the implementation of ARPRC’s core and Research Project activities.

Anna Huff-Davis, Deputy Director for Community and Chair of the Community Committee – Executive Director, Mid-Delta Community Consortium, West Helena, Ark.

Ms. Huff-Davis serves as the ARPRC liaison to the Mid-Delta Community Consortium (M.D.CC), a primary partner for the COPH, the ARPRC and the ADH. She was the PI for a grant from HRSA that established the Arkansas Delta Rural Development Network (ADRDN) from 2002 until recently. Under her leadership, ADRDN developed as a network of coalitions across the 19-county southeast Arkansas region that includes Desha County, the site of the ARPRC’s blood pressure control demonstration project. The ADRDN has served southeast Arkansas by addressing a variety of unmet health needs, developing health promotion and disease prevention programs, and improving the region’s rural health system. Ms. Huff-Davis previously served is the chair of the Community Committee and provides insight to the administrative and research aspects of the ARPRC. She is the ARPRC’s representative to the National Community Committee (NCC) of the CDC PRC Program which coordinates information sharing among the community committees of all funded PRCs and the PRC network.

Core Units

For individuals’ professional affiliations, click on links or see ARPRC Associates.

Community Engagement and Partnerships Unit

This unit works with organizations and agencies to develop projects and initiatives that benefit public health research, practice, and the community’s health.

The Community Committee, established by the unit, advises the ARPRC core units and research team. The committee has a diverse membership from the community, community-based organizations, health care providers, the public health workers, and local government.

Co-directors: Appathurai Balamurugan, M.D., MPH; Christy Lindsey

Training and Technical Assistance Unit

This unit provides training and technical assistance expertise to help public health practitioners, researchers, and community organizations find ways to improve the community’s health.

Director: Kevin Ryan, J.D., MA

Communications Unit

This unit provides information to researchers, public health practitioners, and the community about the Take Control demonstration project and other activities of the ARPRC.

Co-directors: Ashley McNatt, MA ; Marisha DiCarlo, Ph.D., MPH

Evaluation Unit

This unit measures how well the ARPRC is performing, where its strengths and weaknesses are, and how it can improve the health of Arkansans. It also provides training and technical assistance regarding evaluation activities to agencies, organizations, and communities.

Director: Martha Phillips, Ph.D., MPH, MBA

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee monitors the progress of the ARPRC and coordinates its activities. Members include directors, and deputy and co-directors of the ARPRC.

James Raczynski, Ph.D., ARPRC Director and Research Project Principal Investigator

Martha Phillips, Ph.D., MPH, MBA, ARPRC Research Project Co-PI, Deputy Director for Administration, Evaluation Unit Director

Joseph Bates M.D., MS, Research Project Co-PI, Deputy Director for Practice Translation

Appathurai Balamurugan, M.D., MPH, Co-Director, Community Engagement and Partnerships Unit

Naomi Cottoms, MA, Community Liaison, Communications Unit

Marisha DiCarlo, Ph.D., MPH, Co-Director, Communications Unit

Ashley McNatt, MA, Co-Director, Communications Unit

Anna Huff-Davis, Deputy Director for Community and Chair of the Community Committee

Christy Lindsey, Co-Director, Community Engagement and Partnerships Unit

Kevin Ryan, J.D., MA, Director, Education, Training and Technical Assistance Unit

Kate Stewart, M.D., MPH, UAMS Liaison, Community Engagement and Partnerships Unit