News Center for Advancing Health Services, Policy & Economics Research

Institute for Public Health center transforms by adding research arm, new mission and new name

Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health

Effective April 4, the Center for Health Economics and Policy at the Institute for Public Health is undergoing a transformation that will feature a broader mission and a new name: the Center for Advancing Health Services, Policy and Economics Research. The new center will retain what is valuable to students, faculty and the community and add a research component complete with new training opportunities in large research labs led by nationally recognized principal investigators.

The new center’s mission is to improve health outcomes and equity through health services and economics research and policy translation. The new entity is a joint venture between the Institute for Public Health, the Institute for Clinical & Translational Sciences and the John T. Milliken Department of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“We are excited to partner with these entities and the School of Medicine Dean’s Office to expand our center’s reach,” said Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, center co-director. “We look forward to bringing even more people together to work on timely, rigorous, equity-centered research, and to translate that research to policy impact.”

Center faculty and staff will include:

Co-Directors: Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH, and Timothy McBride, PhD, MS

Associate Director for Research: Kenton Johnston, PhD, MPH

Associate Director for Policy Partnerships: Abigail Barker, PhD

A center manager will be named soon. Elaine Mercer is the center administrator.

The center team will focus on four main areas:

  • Research: In nationally-recognized labs led by center-affiliated principal investigators, the center will provide infrastructure and support for innovative health services, policy and economics research
  • Convening: The center will bring people together to catalyze new ideas and collaborations on health services and policy issues
  • Training: The center will provide tailored training for students, trainees and junior faculty to gain or deepen their research and policy skills
  • Policy Translation: Through partnerships with policymakers, public health leaders, and community members, the center will co-design and translate research into meaningful and positive local and national impact

“The newly redesigned center is exciting for a lot of reasons, but also because we will retain a key focus on translating research to policy and convening key leaders to focus on such issues as Medicaid expansion, payment reform, workforce, maternal health and health disparities,” added Timothy McBride, center co-director.

Under the mentorship of an affiliated primary investigator, trainees who are interested in health services, policy or economics research can apply to work with a center lab. Affiliated labs include groups with a focal point on health outcomes, policy and equity; Medicare innovation research; real-world evidence; rural health and state policy; and, the Ideas Lab, an intake and training lab. More information on labs and how to get involved with them will be forthcoming.  

“Our center’s expansion includes research labs led by nationally-esteemed principal investigators with teams of talented staff, faculty and trainees conducting cutting-edge health services, economics, and policy research,” said Kenton Johnston, associate director of research. “Funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations, all of our lab work is focused on directly improving health care for all patients, while centering on health equity for historically-marginalized populations.”

Interested individuals can engage with the center in other ways by attending a center-related community event; participating in non-lab training opportunities, or by learning about the center’s policy or research impact via center publications and other tools. To help advance its work and share opportunities for interdisciplinary research and dissemination, the center will collaborate with other WashU institutes and centers.

To further its work in policy translation, and provide responsive research and analysis, the center will build on existing partnerships with policy-makers and continue hosting high-profile events such as the Transforming Healthcare in Missouri meeting series. The center will also continue hosting its informational gatherings featuring policy, health services and economics experts, and will expand its ongoing development of pragmatic policy briefs and other helpful tools. 

For more information about the new Center for Advancing Health Services, Policy and Economics Research, contact Karen Joynt Maddox or Timothy McBride.

The mission of the Center for Advancing Health Services, Policy and Economics Research is to improve health outcomes and equity through health services and economics research and policy translation. The center is supported by the Institute for Public Health, the Institute for Clinical & Translational Sciences and the Department of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.