The National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research (PHSSR), which is based in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, recently received $1.8 million in renewed funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The award will allow the Center to extend its research concerning the improvement of the health and economic impact of public health and prevention strategies across the nation. The grant contributes to a total of $9.4 million in funding that the Coordinating Center has received from RWJF since the Coordinating Center’s launch in 2010.
The Coordinating Center supports research efforts in institutions across the county that looks at ways the public health system can best implement programs, policies, and services that keep people healthy and safe. PHSSR compares alternative approaches for organizing, financing, and delivering public health strategies that protect individuals against an array of preventable health risks and problems, including tobacco exposure, obesity, food-borne illness, and vaccine-preventable infections.
“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,” explains Coordinating Center director and Scutchfield Endowed Professor of Health Services and Systems Research in the UK College of Public Health, Dr. Glen Mays. “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 over 120 individual studies, some of which are implemented through its constellation of practice-based research networks (PBRNs), which have engaged more than 2,000 public health organizations and 50 academic research centers in 32 states across the country. In addition to supporting and conducting research studies, the Center strives to apply research results in ways that create real-world applications and solutions by providing stakeholders and policy-makers 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,” states Coordinating Center deputy director Dr. Anna Hoover.
In order to better disseminate information pertaining to these research efforts and findings, the Center has redesigned its website, http://www.uky.edu/publichealthsystems/, so that it can share project-specific information more effectively.
“By expanding access to research projects and scientific results, we can truly maximize the PHSSR field’s real-world health impact,” says Dr. Mays.