Applying Health Services Research to Public Health Practice

An Emerging Priority

This article provides a history of health services research focused on public health and summarizes the current state of the field.

As the authors state, "public health agencies are becoming increasingly important links in the chain of research translation, particularly for the growing body of biomedical and behavioral discoveries involving disease prevention and health promotion. As such, the field of public health services and systems research is ideally positioned to produce studies that can shed light on how best to incorporate new biomedical and behavioral discoveries into routine public health practice."

Key Findings:

  • Health services research has traditionally focused on medical care and not on public health.
  • In recent years, pandemics, natural disasters and chronic diseases have increased attention and funding for public health services research.
  • New efforts in health services research focus on improving the science base and applying research findings in order to improve population health.

Health services research holds significant promise to improve the quality of the public health system in the United States.