Public Health Services and Systems Research

An Agenda Where Research and Practice Matter to Each Other and to Our Nation's Health

Since 2003, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has played a central role in directing the field of public health services and systems research (PHSSR), investing $60 million to improve the quality and impact of the public health system.

In this article, the authors (public health leaders at RWJF) outline the Foundation's commitments to the PHSSR research agenda:

  • Support targeted investments that marry research and practice. Continue to build the evidence for public health accreditation, quality improvement, return on investment in prevention, and public health laws and policies.
  • Align public health research investments. Advance the understanding of how law, policy and regulations affect health.
  • Engage leaders across sectors. Encourage researchers in public health to engage with public health practitioners and policy-makers to build the evidence that will lead to improved health and reduced disparities.
  • Translate research findings. Close the gap in the time it takes for evidence to find its way into clinical practice—currently estimated at 17 years.

They conclude: “Now we need to act on [the research agenda] as if research and practice mattered to each other . . . as much as they do the health of the nation.”