Current and Recent Programs, Projects, and Research


Current Programs, Projects, and Research Activities:

Ongoing and Self-Sustaining Programs:

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



 Tennessee Health Promotion Network – Currently active, this multi-agency partnership  kicked off in late 2017 with a 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 is a formation of private, public, and non-profit partnerships and seeks to inform members of activities going on statewide and to provide opportunities for networking and collaboration.  Activities include 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.  The group encourages anyone interested to join.Please contact Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES® for information. 

 S.M.A.R.T. Mothers are Resisting Tobacco is an evidence-based intervention for healthcare providers who work with pregnant smokers.  Originally funded by the March of Dimes, S.M.A.R.T. Moms provided one-on-one counseling to over 13,000 pregnant women in Tennessee during the initial pilot study.  If you would like to participate in the online S.M.A.R.T. Moms training opportunity please visit the S.M.A.R.T. About Tobacco website. Continuing education units are offered through November 19, 2017 for physicians (2 CMEs) and through November 2018 for nurses (2.4 CEUs). Registered dietitians, certified health education specialists (CHES), and other health professionals may participate in the online training and receive a certificate of completion which may be submitted to an accrediting organization for consideration of CEU credits.  Thank you to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University and Lynne Goebel, MD, FACP and Brenda Mitchell, MD, FACOG for partnering with us to provide continuing education for this initiative.  Click here to link directly to the training program offered by Marshall University or for additional information on the program visit the program website.

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

Smile SMART is a companion program of S.M.A.R.T. Moms, which partners with dental providers to effectively educate patients on tobacco cessation and avoidance of second-hand smoke.   The goal of the program is to empower dental professionals to use the evidence-based 5As (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) to encourage their patients to quit smoking or decrease their tobacco use, and to reduce women’s and infants’ exposure to secondhand smoke, ultimately reducing tobacco-related preterm birth, low-birth weight, other adverse birth outcomes, and health issues that may result from young children and women of childbearing age breathing second-hand smoke. Smile SMART is funded by a Community Grant from the March of Dimes.   To learn more or to access training materials and opportunities, visit the S.M.A.R.T. About Tobacco website Thank you to the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Dentistry and Maria Geisinger, DDS, partners of Smile S.M.A.R.T.

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

Smart Moms Shirts  Smart Moms Shirt close up

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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.

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

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 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®

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 “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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