Missouri Public Health Practice-Based Research Network
The Missouri Institute for Community Health is initiating a practice-based research network initially focused on public health systems and services. “Practice-based” means that it will involve governmental health departments as they carry out their work. “Systems and services” research address the issues that underpin programming – things like how health departments are organized, staffed, and funded. Together, practitioners and researchers will mount studies in real-world public health settings.
MICH will facilitate the development of the network because it is the 501(c)3 Missouri-based agency that provides a neutral forum for the research universities, state health department, autonomous local public health departments, and professional healthcare provider agencies to meet and address public health system issues. The National Network of Medical Libraries will facilitate the meetings.
Rural health departments, Reynolds County Health Department and Douglas County Health Department will actively participate in this project. These two rural LHD are part of a 9 agency coalition that will provide practical guidance on rural health departments and how best to evaluate their progress. Along with the smaller rural health departments, Kansas City Health Department, Columbia-Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, and St. Louis County Department of Health will also contribute research guidance for larger more urban health departments.
Academic partners participating include: St. Louis University School of Public Health (SLU/SPH), the only accredited school of public health in Missouri; Washington University School of Medicine (WU), which last year began to form a public health section and has an active research partnership with SLU/ PH; Missouri State University/Ozarks Public Health Institute (OPHI) whose focus is on practical public health service application; Southeast Missouri State University, Truman State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia/Program in Improvement Sciences and Health Services Research (CHQC).
Additional research support will be provided by the National Network of Medical Libraries (NN/LM), which specializes in working with researchers and locating sources of data; the Missouri Rural Health Association (MRHA), with a focus on community health systems and access to the resources of Cooperative Extension, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) which is legislatively mandated to protect the health of the people of Missouri.
The Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies (MoALPHA), which has 104 of the 114 autonomous agencies in Missouri as its members, along with the nine rural agencies in the coalition will provide instant feedback on the practicality and usefulness of the research to the public health system. The Kansas City Health Department will share with us their expertise in urban areas, research and how they deliver services to the more rural areas of the county. In addition, these local health departments (LHD) have agreed to participate in any pilot studies determined feasible by the network.
The primary aims of this network are to:
The objectives are:
Network development activities will be ongoing and will grow out of the expressed needs and interests of the network partners.