School of Medicine Receives Grant to Establish Public Health Research Network
As today's society faces threats from infections such as H1N1, climate change and food-borne illnesses, public health practice is needed now more than ever, researchers say. With the help of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will be able to establish an Ohio-wide network to study the challenges facing public health.
In addition to developing policy and practice for these issues, said Scott Frank, M.D., M.S., network co-principal investigator, "finding solutions to health problems such as chronic disease, obesity, mental health, and substance abuse will depend on an effective public health system." Frank is also director of Case Western Reserve's master of public health (MPH) program and health commissioner for Shaker Heights.
The grant, $90,000 over two years, will fund the Ohio Research Association for Public Health Improvement (RAPHI). The network will allow local health departments and their communities from across the state to collaborate.
The Case Western Reserve MPH program will function as RAPHI's fiscal agent and lead agency. It will focus on how public health can use information technology to improve services. Public health practitioners will develop the research questions of interest.
All Ohio local health departments are invited to participate. Initial focus will be on the local health departments that are affiliated with the five academic public health programs across the state (Case Western Reserve University MPH program; Ohio State University College of Public Health; Northwest Ohio Consortium MPH program [University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University]; Wright State University MPH program; and University of Cincinnati MPH program) and the Ohio Department of Health.
Matt Stefanak, M.P.H., health commissioner for Mahoning County, is the other co-principal investigator of RAPHI.