Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Research Networks Joining Forces

A new project “Multi-Network Research Practice and Outcome Variation Examination (MPROVE) is the first project to bring together the power of six Public Health Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs) to look at how geography plays a role in delivering public health services.

MPROVE was formed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to bring state and local public health agencies together with research partners in 24 states to design and implement studies in real-world practice settings.

The results of MPROVE will help identify why some communities receive more or better health services than others and what health and economic impacts result from these differences. These findings will help public health practitioners and policy officials make better decisions about where best to invest new resources to maximize gains in population health and where to cut resources during times of depleted funding to minimize the negative impact on people’s health.

Each of the six PBRNs has received a $50,000 MPROVE grant from RWJF to participate in the study being coordinated by the PBRN National Coordinating Center housed at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. The Coordinating Center provides resources and technical assistance to the networks and organizes cross cutting and multi-network research studies. The Center publishes “Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research”, an open access, peer-reviewed journal that shortens the turnaround time between research results and publication in a traditional journal.

Each PBRN collects data on the scope, intensity and quality of local public health services delivered in the areas of communicable disease control, chronic disease prevention, and environmental health protection.

Several of the networks will locally examine specific issues that complement the larger project. For example, the University of Tennessee’s project for the Tennessee PBRNwill study the effects of federal vaccination funding changes on local vaccination delivery and the effects of local initiatives to regionalize communicable disease control activities in the eastern Tennessee region. Also, the Duval County Health Department for the Florida PBRN will analyze public health service delivery patterns in Florida looking at data from a newly developed EHR system and a statewide HIE system.

Other recipients of the MPROVE grants include Chelan-Douglas Health District for the Washington Public Health PBRN, Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials for the Colorado Public Health PBRN, Minnesota Department of Health for the Minnesota Public Health PBRN, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for the New Jersey Public Health PBRN

For more information, go to