HSPH researchers engage the most critical scientific challenges in public health along the continuum of knowledge production, ranging from basic research into the discovery of cellular-level processes in microorganisms and genetic risk factors for human diseases, to policy research on strategies for implementing delivery of effective interventions and examining health system factors that influence cost, quality, and access to health services. A large portion of this work is focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of health-related interventions (i.e., deliberate manipulations of the status quo intended to improve health outcomes). When this research compares interventions to one another or to the status quo in terms of their impact on health outcomes in real-world settings, the work is ‘comparative effectiveness research’ (CER).
In 2010-11, the CER Initiative conducted a review of research projects in the HSPH Grant Management Administration System (GMAS), a web-based survey of HSPH principal investigators, and 16 qualitative interviews with department chairs and other key faculty members. We identified 154 CER-related sponsored research projects led by over 40 different PIs. These faculty members represent a diverse set of methodological approaches, topical area foci, and academic departments. Despite this broad engagement of HSPH researchers in what might be labeled ‘patient-centered outcomes research’ or ‘comparative effectiveness research’, few describe their work using these labels. The dean’s flagship initiative on CER has the ultimate goal of creating opportunities for new collaborations among these researchers and generating innovative projects examining what works in public health and medicine.
Click on featured projects link to see some examples of such work currently underway at the school.