Exploring Public Health Services and Systems Research

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on Feb 18 2015 11:56 AM

 Exploring Public Health Services and Systems Research
The American Journal of Public Health has devoted its themed supplement to discuss the latest science in bettering the services, processes and systems of healthcare and public health particularly in an ever politically, socially and technologically changing environment.
"Today, however, the world is changing, and the research frameworks and academic disciplines we draw on to train new researchers must change as well. This requires new skills and perspectives to inform the evolution of public health systems and services research, some of which are presented in articles in this special issue," writes Alonzo Plough, PhD, MPH, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in the editorial, "Building a culture of health: A critical role for public health services and systems research."

Within the issue, editorials and research papers review services and systems that address a number of population health issues from chronic disease, to HIV, to tobacco use, to cancer, including the papers "Cervical cancer screening in an STD clinic - Adoption experiences from Midwestern clinic" and "Measuring public health practice and outcomes in chronic disease: A call for coordination." Other papers feature the latest science in utilizing tools to improve public health services, systems and research, including use of electronic health records, social network diagramming, evidence-based decision making and public health accreditation.

Gathering data from both global and local health departments, a number of studies such as "The impacts of local health department consolidation on public health expenditures: Evidence from Ohio" and "Association between HIV programs and quality of maternal health inputs and processes in Kenya" further inform public health systems through actual public health examples and case studies.

"Research on the larger constellations of systems and services that influence population health should inform and guide the changes in public health roles and responsibilities that are currently underway within a reforming American health system," explain Glen Mays, PhD, MPH, and F. Douglas Scutchfield, MD, of the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research at the College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, in an editorial.

"If successful, the next generation of PHSSR studies will fuel public health's transformation from a collection of discrete programs, policies and services into a rapid-learning enterprise that works across all relevant sectors and settings to support actions that promote health and safety for all Americans," they conclude.

External support was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton New Jersey, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta Georgia.

Find a full list of research papers to be published online Feb. 17, 2015, at 4 p.m. EST below:
  • A New Era for Population Health: Government, Academia, and Community Moving Upstream Together
  • Improving Population Health by Learning from Systems and Services
  • The Value of the "System" in Public Health Services and Systems Research
  • Building a Culture of Health: A Critical role for PHSSR
  • Marshaling the Evidence: The Prioritized Public Health Accreditation Research Agenda
  • Defining the Functions of Public Health Governance
  • Defining and Assessing Quality Improvement Outcomes: A Framework for Public Health
  • The Impacts of Local Health Department Consolidation on Public Health Expenditures: Evidence from Ohio
  • Measuring public health practice and outcomes in chronic disease: A call for coordination
  • A Framework for Describing Health Care Delivery Organizations and Systems
  • Laying the groundwork for evidence-based public health: Why do some LHDs use more evidence-based decision making practices than others?
  • Are People with Disabilities an Unrecognized Health Disparity Population?
  • Association between HIV programs and quality of maternal health inputs and processes in Kenya
  • Building the evidence for decision-making: The relationship between local public health capacity and community mortality
  • Advancing the Use of Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Health Departments with Systems Science Methodologies
  • Simulating the dynamic effect of land use and transport policies on the health of populations
  • Effect of Systems Change and Use of Electronic Health Records on Quit Rates among Tobacco Users in a Public Hospital System
  • New Perspectives on the "Silo Effect" - Initial Comparisons of Network Structures across Public Health Collaboratives
  • Network Interventions on Physical Activity in an Afterschool Program: An Agent-Based Social Network Study
  • Social network diagramming as an applied tool for public health: Lessons learned from a hepatitis C cluster
  • Cervical Cancer Screening in an STD Clinic - Adoption experiences from a Midwestern Clinic
  • A Low-Cost Partner Notification Strategy for the Control of Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Case Study from Louisiana
  • The Relationships between Providing Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Services, Implementing Various Financial Strategy Responses, and Performance of LHDs
  • A case study examination of structure and function in a state health department chronic disease unit
  • Minimum Package of Public Health Services: the adoption of core services in local public health agencies in Colorado
  • Improving access and provision of preventive oral health care for very young, poor and low-income children through a new interdisciplinary partnership.
  • Environmental factors associated with social participation of older adults living in metropolitan, urban and rural areas, from the NuAge study
  • Economies of scale in the production of public health services: An analysis of local health districts in Florida.
  • Dealing with Public Health Budget Cuts at the Local Level: How Connecticut health directors cope
  • State Barriers to Appropriating Public Health Emergency Response Funds during the 2009 H1N1 Response
  • Economic Shocks and Public Health Protections in U.S. Metropolitan Areas
  • Importance and uses of scientific resources among local public health practitioners
  • The Relationship between Quality Improvement Implementation and Accreditation Seeking in Local Health Departments
  • Trends and Characteristics of the State and Local Public Health Workforce, 2010-2013
  • A Profile of the Public Health Workforce: Registered TRAIN Learners in the United States
  • Local health department factors associated with performance in the successful implementation of community-based strategies: A mixed methods approach
  • Public Health Entrepreneurship: Disruptive Change to Public Health?
  • Regulatory enforcement and fiscal impact in local health departments
  • Rural Populations and EPSDT Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Local Public Health Departments
  • Collaboration among Missouri Non-Profit Hospitals and Local Health Departments: Content Analysis of Community Health Needs Assessments
  • Local Health Department 2000-2010 Food Safety and Sanitation Expenditures and Reductions in Enteric Disease
  • Development of the Policy Indicator Checklist: A Tool to Identify and Measure Policies for Calorie Dense Foods and Sugar Sweetened Beverages across Multiple Settings
  • Neighborhood Disadvantage, Preconception Stressful Life Events and Infant Birth Weight
  • Public Health Accreditation: Rubber Stamp or Roadmap for Improvement
Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal's Subscriptions department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22 at or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

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