Dr. Vicki Freimuth directs the activities of the Center with the guidance of the Scientific Leadership Committee made up of Project Principal Investigators and Core Directors. Two external groups provide input to this committee to help facilitate its discussions and decisions. The National Research Advisory Board represents the larger scientific community in health communication, health marketing, poverty, and tobacco studies. The Lay/Community Steering Committee represents the interests and concerns of the communities in the state of Georgia served by the Center’s research. A brief description of the responsibilities and membership of each of these three committees is provided below.
National Research Advisory Board (NRAB). The NRAB provides an objective outside perspective on the research activities of the Center. It has two major responsibilities. First, it reviews current and proposed Center research activities, including strategic planning and evaluation documents generated by the Scientific Leadership Committee. Second, it makes recommendations to the Scientific Leadership Committee on ways to enhance or redirect current research and core resources, as well as suggesting specific directions for future research projects and interdisciplinary collaborations in health marketing and health communication. The NRAB is made up of a group of distinguished persons who have expertise directly relevant to either the overall Center or one of the projects. The NRAB meets annually.
Lay/Community Steering Committee (LSC). Establishing and maintaining means of receiving feedback and guidance from representatives of the communities with which we work is critical to the success of the Center. At the study level, we involve the LSC (e.g. Project 1 (Genetics) & Project 2 (Adolescents and Smoking), Project 3 (Multiple Risk Factor) in research activities. Rural and urban advisory boards discuss proposed research and stimulus materials in order to provide feedback that will help researchers to better respond to the issues and needs of the community, and the boards help researchers contact members of their communities who fit research criteria. Additionally, at the Center-level, the LSC provides input that the Scientific Leadership Committee uses to help formulate research priorities. The LSC discusses health communication concerns of community members and ideas for future partnerships with the community. The LSC has approximately 18 memberswho come from a broad range of backgrounds, including but not limited to church and neighborhood leaders. Members are recruited from across the state of Georgia, focusing on those areas where Projects 1-3 are being conducted. The LSC members have been recruited from Athens, Atlanta, and from the rural counties that surround Augusta Georgia.