A Science Base for Public Health

Developing a research agenda for public health systems and services research

Dates of Project: July 15, 2010 through October 31, 2011

Field of Work: Public Health Systems and Services Research

Problem Synopsis: The public health systems and services research field emerged over the past decade to address uncertainties about how to effectively organize, finance, and deliver public health services. Setting a research agenda will help mobilize the nation's scientific community to undertake critical research to improve public health strategies.

Synopsis of the Work: The Altarum Institute identified research gaps in public health systems and services research and involved stakeholders in a series of meetings to expand, refine, and prioritize the research gaps. Participants included academics, researchers, health care practitioners, attorneys, policy-makers, and government officials.

A consortium comprising Altarum Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services & Systems Research vetted the final research agenda.

Key Results: An article describing the research agenda was published in a supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (May 2012). The agenda comprises 72 research questions in four categories: the public health workforce; public health system structure and performance; public health financing and economics; and public health information and technology.