LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept, 25, 2014) —The National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research (PHSSR), based in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, has received $1.8 million of renewed funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to extend its research on ways to improve the health and economic impact of public health and prevention strategies across the United States. This award contributes to a total of $9.4 million in RWJF funding received by the Coordinating Center since its launch in 2010, and enables an expansion of its nationwide research capacity.
Launched as a national program office of the RWJF in 2011, the Coordinating Center supports research, both at UK and at other institutions nationwide, that examines how the public health system can best implement the many programs, policies, services and supports that keep people healthy and safe. PHSSR compares alternative approaches for financing, organizing and delivering public health strategies that protect Americans against a broad array of preventable health problems and risks, ranging from tobacco exposure and obesity to food-borne illness and vaccine-preventable infections. These strategies vary widely across the United States, as do the mix of organizations and funding mechanisms that support their implementation, creating ample opportunities for research and learning about what works best.
“We have an expanding array of programs and policies that are scientifically proven to prevent disease, injury and premature death, but many of them fail to reach and protect large segments of the American population,” said Coordinating Center Director Glen Mays, who serves as the Scutchfield Endowed professor of health services and systems research at the UK College of Public Health. “Our research seeks to address these failures in delivery by discovering more effective, efficient and equitable delivery systems and implementation strategies that, ultimately, can support a healthier nation.”
To date, the Coordinating Center and its partners have supported more than 120 individual studies, some of which are implemented through its constellation of practice-based research networks (PBRNs), which engage more than 2,000 public health organizations and 50 academic research centers across 32 states. Important areas of study for both the Coordinating Center’s extramural and intramural research endeavors include examining the cost, quality, and value of specific public health delivery strategies and investigating efforts to better coordinate these strategies with the nation’s medical care delivery and financing systems, which are currently undergoing reform.
The Coordinating Center also strives to translate research results into real-world applications and solutions by providing policy-makers and stakeholders with evidence-based information.
“We need to ensure that research findings end up in the hands of people who can use them to inform key policy and practice decisions,” Coordinating Center Deputy Director Anna Hoover said.
To boost dissemination of scientific findings and downstream research translation, the Coordinating Center is redesigning its website to better share project-specific information across four domains: public health workforce, systems structure and performance, financing and economics, and information and technology.
“By expanding access to research projects and scientific results, we can truly maximize the PHSSR field’s real-world health impact,” Mays said.