Current and Recent Programs, Projects, and Research

Current Programs, Projects, and Research Activities

Ongoing and Self-Sustaining Programs

Recent Programs, Projects, and Research Activity

To learn more about other projects of the MTSU Center for Health and Human Services, please  download our brochure and flier.


Additional Details

Death Scene Investigation and SIDS Project

This initiative partners the Center, Continuing Education and Distance Learning, and Audio-Visual Services at MTSU with the state Medical Examiner and the Departments of Health and Children's Services to produce a statewide training program for investigating sudden unexpected infant and child death. The program has been developed for those who train first responders such as EMTs, police, and firefighters. In addition, the project provides an annual SIDS Update meeting for public health staff and provides resources for medical examiners to attend a pediatric forensic conference. In 2007, the project expanded to cover all unexplained deaths to children less than 18 years of age. First responder training was expanded from 5 to 8 hours in 2008.  In 2015, online training was developed so that additional first responders could participate in training similar to those offered twice a year as live training sessions. For more information click the "Publications and Resources" tab or the training website

  • Principal Investigator/Project Director: Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES®

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program

The Center for Health and Human Services of Middle Tennessee State University, in collaboration with DrugFree WilCo, and with funding from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), completed an 18-month comprehensive planning effort to address opioid usage to prevent overdoses within Wilson County, Tennessee. the planning grant ended in 2021 and the team was awarded funding for implementation activities to be carried out through August of 2024.

CHHS partners in this effort include faculty from the Department of Health and Human Performance and the MTSU Data Science Institute.  “RCORP: Changing the Trajectory for Opioids in Wilson County” will equip rural communities in Wilson County with a step-by-step plan to address opioid abuse across the county, with the intent of reducing fatalities due to overdose and the associated economic burden related to misuse.  Because opioid usage is often co-occurring with other substances, the efforts of the project will also include excessive alcohol consumption as a periphery focus.  “RCORP: Changing the Trajectory for Opioids in Wilson County” will involve a broad array of stakeholders from the Wilson County community to transform the DrugFree WilCo group into a formal consortium to create and implement a strategic action plan based off of an in-depth needs analysis.   These activities are being carried out by DrugFree WilCo consortium members committed to the success of the project through signed MOUs and MOAs.

Tennessee Health Promotion Network

This multi-agency partnership  kicked off in late 2017 and continued regular meetings through 2021 with the goal of convening a statewide group of partners to promote optimal health through healthy lifestyles and obesity prevention for all Tennesseans by networking and information sharing, harnessing the energy of those actively in engaged in obesity and health promotion efforts from all four corners of the state and everywhere in between.  The group was a formation of private, public, and non-profit partnerships and sought to inform members of activities going on statewide and to provide opportunities for networking and collaboration.  Activities included development and dissemination of newsletters sharing ideas, best practices, upcoming meetings, events, and activities of interest to members, maintaining an active social media presence for information-sharing and networking, and facilitating quarterly meetings and networking sessions for members. 

Ongoing and Self-Sustaining:

A-B-C-1-2-3 Healthy Kids in Tennessee®

The Center partners with local childcare centers and the Rutherford County Health Department to educate daycare/preschool providers, parents, and preschoolers on healthy lifestyles to decrease the risk of developing cancer and other lifestyle associated diseases and conditions. The program is offered simultaneously with the Tennessee Departments of Health’s Gold Sneaker Program.  ABC123 Healthy Kids in Tennessee addresses change at the individual, group, and community level with Gold Sneaker program addressing change at the organizational level through policy change.  Areas of emphasis for both programs include nutrition, active play/fitness, as tobacco.  Evaluation measures will include changes in body mass index, dietary intake, and activity level. Previous partners included MTSU's Center for Physical Activity and Health in Youth (CPAHY) and the Tennessee Cancer Coalition.

Outcome data from the pilot project, which was a component of the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Project, indicate:

  • 100% of respondents showed an increase in awareness of the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition post-program.
  • 100% of respondents indicated an 'excellent' or 'very good' understanding of the "A-B-C-1-2-3 Healthy Kids in Tennessee" curriculum post-training.
  • 92% of respondents indicated an 'excellent' or 'very good' understanding of modifiable behaviors related to cancer risk and how to avoid or mitigate them for practicing cancer prevention behaviors post-training vs. 27% of respondents who indicated 'excellent' or 'very good' pre-training.
  • 100% of respondents indicated 'excellent' or 'very good' probability that information from the program would be used in their professional activities.

Please visit to learn more.

 “Ask Me”

CHHS partnered with the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office in Cookeville, TN to implement this evidence-based program, adapted from programs in the states of New York and Washington, to train cosmetologists to deliver health education messages to their clientele.  CHHS staff worked with the Tennessee Department of Health to develop the Tennessee-based model.

  • Principal Investigator/Project Director: Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES


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