Innovation & improvement in public health via community engagement & research. Population Health Research Program

Primary Care/Safety Net QI Research Infrastructure Initiative

Massachusetts has one of the best established and extensive networks of Safety Net community health centers (CHCs) in the country. They provide primary care for the Commonwealth's most vulnerable populations and play a critical role in improving public health. The goal of the Primary Care/Safety Net QI Research Infrastructure Initiative is to make sure that everyone, regardless of income, immigration status, or medical condition, has access to healthcare when needed. Especially since health and payment reform, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and other initiatives to strengthen primary care systems have been instituted in Massachusetts, Safety Net CHCs have the potential to benefit greatly from participation in research and translation of evidence into practice. However, CHCs often lack the infrastructure, resources, and time necessary to lead or collaborate in research.

In collaboration with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (MLCHC) and with the participation of PHRP Community Advisory Board members, Elsie Taveras, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, is leading the PHRP Safety Net QI capacity-building project. PHRP will work intensively with three CHCs participating in the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) initiative. The goal is to enhance their sustainable capacity for quality improvement research while contributing to the knowledge base necessary to achieve better outcomes and lower costs for the PWTF priority health conditions and their co-morbidities. The CHCs will receive targeted technical assistance in the management, budgeting, and financing of research projects; IRB, legal, and ethical issues; issues in research partnerships, research methods and design, data analysis, and the generation of proposals and articles, all in the service of efficiently and effectively translating research into improvements in clinical practice.

In addition, PHRP will offer MLCHC members and other primary care providers workshops in QI research methods and management.

For more information on the Population Health Research Program's Primary Care/Safety Net QI Research Infrastructure Initiative, please contact PHRP Director Charles Deutsch, ScD.