Author Archives: Oktawia Wojcik

System and Services Research for Better Health

Apr 18, 2017, 8:30 AM, Posted by Oktawia Wojcik

How can we identify the system-level strategies needed to improve the delivery of medical, public health, and social services? With $2 million in funding, we’re calling on research teams to find out.

What does it look like when systems work better together?

At Arizona State University, a research team is exploring this very question. By integrating data sources from Arizona’s medical, mental health, and criminal justice systems, they’re looking for ways to effectively coordinate health and support services for those confronting mental health or substance abuse challenges. The study uses systems modeling and network analysis methods to see how individuals and dollars move between and within these systems. These insights will help us better understand how changes in financing and service delivery can improve health outcomes.

Over at Drexel University, a team is studying how aligning Medicaid coverage for behavioral services with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) can reduce children’s developmental risks, improve future employment and income, and reduce the return of beneficiaries to the TANF program.

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The 500 Cities Project: New Data for Better Health

Feb 23, 2017, 12:00 PM, Posted by Oktawia Wojcik

For the first time ever, the CDC and CDC Foundation are providing city and neighborhood level data for 500 of the largest U.S. cities, making it possible to identify emerging health problems and effective interventions.

Old Colony YMCA in Brockton, Massachusetts recently discovered something startling: a single neighborhood more burdened by poor health such as asthma, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol than surrounding areas. Most surprising, however, was that this particular area had a lower prevalence of unhealthy behaviors like binge drinking than other locations within Brockton.

In the past, public health officials may have expended limited resources on the entire Brockton metropolitan area because they wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint the specific neighborhood facing the spike and determine why it was happening.

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What We’re Learning: How to Make Research More Transparent and Accessible

Sep 7, 2016, 9:31 AM, Posted by Margaret Tait, Oktawia Wojcik

Peer review and academic journals contribute to creation of sound scientific research. Alternatively, the Open Access movement seeks to breed innovation and maximize impact. We’re listening to both sides of this debate and researching the best way forward.

Open Access in Research PHOTO: h_pampel via flickr

Tradition in almost any discipline can be a solid foundation on which to soar. But tradition can also stifle new ideas. When we think about how science advances, there’s something to be said for giving tradition its due while also embracing new approaches.

Researchers have historically shielded their data, methods, tools, and findings until they have been submitted for peer review and published in an academic journal. The publisher has generally then made the articles available solely to subscribers.

There are many sound reasons for this time-honored system. It can safeguard the privacy of study subjects, protect the rigor of the investigation process, provide input on promotion and tenure decisions, enhance institutional prestige, and ensure the accuracy of information.

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