New Studies Seek to Transform the Delivery of Prevention and Public Health Strategies by Examining Cost, Quality, and Value

Posted: February 23, 2015

With approximately $3.2 million of new research funding, nine teams of investigators will expand the evidence for policy and administrative mechanisms to improve the quality, efficiency, and value of public health systems and service delivery across the United States. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, these awards are managed by the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research, housed at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health.

Each 24-month research study will receive up to $350,000 in funding. While some will examine innovative approaches for bridging the public health, health care, and other relevant social sectors, others will assess the cost, quality and value of specific public health services. The studies will employ a range of rigorous methods, including pragmatic randomized trial designs and analysis of electronic health records data. Findings will contribute to real-world policy and practice through the timely development of practical applications and decision tools.

“To support a nation in which health is a highly-valued and achievable goal across geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic boundaries requires evidence about both the coordination of public health with other sectors and a deeper understanding of the value and costs of specific services, programs, and policies” said Coordinating Center Director Glen Mays, Ph.D. “This group of investigator-initiated studies will help build this evidence base, pointing to key strategies that can maximize public health’s role in supporting a healthier nation.”

The nine projects and their investigators are:

Accountable Community of Health Structures and Cross-Sector Coordination
Organization: Public Health – Seattle & King County
Principal Investigators: Nadine L. Chan, PhD, MPH & Eli Kern, MPH

This study will assess the association of Washington state’s regional health collaborative activities, including shared data systems and care coordination strategies, with improved health and criminal justice outcomes for adults with complex medical and social needs. Development of the Accountable Communities of Health in two counties will be compared to determine factors related to their collaborative success.


Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing Arrangements Between Tribes and Counties for Emergency Preparedness Readiness
Organization: California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc.
Principal Investigators: Thomas J. Kim, PhD, MPH & Amanda Wilbur, JD

By examining emergency preparedness cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements between county governments and autonomous tribal governments, this study aims to identify effective practices that protect health while shedding light on the nature of tribal and county government relationships from historical, cultural, and legal perspectives.


Hospital Investment and Interaction in Public Health Systems
Organization: University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs
Principal Investigators: Danielle M. Varda, PhD & Lisa N. VanRaemdonck, MPH, MSW

With recent federal and state policy reforms encouraging partnerships between hospitals and local public health systems, this study examines hospital interactions with public health agencies as measured through both partnerships and hospital community benefit investments in public health. Findings will inform community strategies to increase hospital and public health system collaboration.


Implementation and Diffusion of the New York City Macroscope Electronic Health Record Surveillance System
Organization: Fund for Public Health in New York
Principal Investigators: Katharine H. McVeigh, PhD & Remle Newton-Dame, MPH

This study seeks to expand an ongoing evaluation of the NYC Macroscope electronic health record (EHR) surveillance system. This innovative system translates patient data into population-level prevalence estimates that can monitor trends in population health outcomes to broadly inform public health programs and policies.


Improving the Efficiency of Newborn Screening from Collection to Test Results
Organization: University of Michigan Medical School
Principal Investigator: Beth Anne Tarini, MD, MS

Simulation modeling techniques will assess the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of strategies to expedite collection and processing of newborn screening specimens by hospitals, transport systems, and public health laboratories. The multidisciplinary team will implement the models using a national database, to be created from surveys on hospital and public health laboratory procedures.  


Integration of Health Care and Public Health to Improve HIV Early Detection and Control
Organization: RTI International
Principal Investigator: Deborah Shipley Porterfield, MD, MPH

This study aims to develop resources to optimize HIV systems of care and improve outcomes by examining how public health, primary care, and community organizations in four regional service areas of Florida work as collaborative systems to identify, link to care, and provide continuous care for persons at-risk for HIV.


Interorganizational Relationships and Infrastructure Variation in Public Health System Efforts to Address Prescription Drug Abuse
Organization: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Principal Investigators: Lainie Rutkow, JD, PhD, MPH & Katherine C. Smith, PhD

To build evidence on ensuring effective public health system responses to prescription drug abuse and diversion in the United States, investigators will examine the roles of interorganizational relationships, information sharing, and legally established infrastructure related to implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs in four states.


Quality Improvement for Cost-Effective Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Prevention Services
Organization: University of Florida Foundation Inc.
Principal Investigator: William C. Livingood, Jr., PhD

This study seeks to improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of sexually transmitted infection testing, treatment and control services while maintaining quality of services using practice-based participatory implementation of local public health policy and administrative mechanisms.


Using Clinical-Community Partnerships and 2-1-1 Technology to Improve Early Childhood Developmental Screening and Care
Organization: University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine
Principal Investigators: Paul J. Chung, MD, MS & Bergen B. Nelson, MD, MSHS

Using a randomized control trial, this study seeks to determine if cross-sector collaboration between a pediatric clinic and an established community-based child development screening and care management program is associated with more screening and treatment for developmental delays in children from Latino low-income families. The intervention under study integrates referral to a telephone-based (2-1-1) child development support service with well child primary care office visits.


MEDIA CONTACT: Kara Richardson,


About the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services & Systems Research:  The National Coordinating Center supports applied research that uncovers strategies for improving the organization, financing, and delivery of public health programs and policies, including ways of improving the health and economic impact of these activities. The Center designs and conducts research studies, provides technical assistance and direction for other researchers across the U.S., develops methodological advances in measurement and analysis, and accelerates the translation and dissemination of research findings for policy and practice stakeholders.  The Center is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and based at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.