Public health services and systems research (PHSSR) produces evidence about the organization, financing, delivery and effectiveness of public health services within communities.
In 2004, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation began a 10-year investment in PHSSR. In 2009, it commissioned this study to answer two questions:
A 27-item survey was e-mailed to 2,067 individuals active in PHSSR groups. Response rate was 41 percent. Respondents identified their areas of expertise as:
Half the respondents began their involvement in PHSSR before 2004, half after 2004. Compared to newcomers, early group members were likely to be over age 50, hold a doctorate, twice as likely to collaborate with colleagues and twice as likely to be published. Both groups were equally likely to receive funding.
One-third of all respondents had difficulty translating research into public health practice. To address this issue, the authors suggest a research agenda that systematically delineates gaps in knowledge and guides development of data and resources.