Author Archives: Oktawia Wojcik

System and Services Research for Better Health

Apr 18, 2017, 8:30 AM, Posted by Carolyn Miller, 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.

But since new data revealed that health behaviors were not the culprit, officials focused on partnering with regional organizations to address the social determinants of health. These include social and economic factors like unsafe streets, a lack of jobs, and limited availability of fresh, nutritious food.

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Help Make Research More Transparent and More Accessible

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

Opening up access to research has the potential to breed innovation and maximize impact, reaching a wider audience that can apply knowledge toward building a Culture of Health.  

Open Access in Research PHOTO: h_pampel via flickr

Tradition in almost any discipline can be a solid foundation on which to soar, but it can also be confining, an easy excuse to tamp down on new ideas. When we think about how science advances, there is something to be said for giving tradition its due while also having the flexibility to embrace new approaches. 

Historically, researchers have 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 only to readers with a subscription.

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