|Innovation & improvement in public health via community engagement & research.||Population Health Research Program|
The Population Health Research Program (PHRP), formerly the Community Health Innovation and Research Program, applies Harvard's strong measurement and research translation infrastructure and expertise to the improvement of population health and the reduction of health disparities in Massachusetts. Through the Department of Public Health and other state agencies, the Commonwealth commits many millions of its own dollars and millions of federal dollars – to policies and programs it funds, monitors, and regulates that have enormous impact on population health and health disparities. However, the state lacks the resources and capacity for evaluating these programs. By assisting state agencies in developing coordinated, systemic, and evidence-based policies and programs, applying science to their implementation, evaluating them, and adding to research and evaluation capacity in state government, PHRP in partnership with Harvard Catalyst's other programs add significant and sustainable value to the community's principal health improvement effort.
The strong institutional partnership between the Commonwealth, arguably the nation's foremost innovator in health and payment reform, and Harvard Catalyst as a leader in health research application and translation, enables both to integrate clinical and public health strategies and measure their effects on health outcomes and costs. This partnership also optimizes the interface between state government, operating at scale, and community-based institutions and organizations whose engagement in health improvement is critical.
The Population Health Research Program integrates three overlapping areas of focus:
Activities in all three areas, utilizing sound principles and best practices for community engagement, aim to increase community participation in public health planning, research, and evaluation. These activities also assist partners in developing collaborations to adapt and apply evidence-based strategies and enhance students' skills. The Population Health Research Program's Community Advisory Board plays a critical role in this process by representing community perspectives to guide program activity.