State Health Department to Lead Research Effort to Identify, Promote Best Practices in Public Health

State Health Department to Lead Research Effort to Identify, Promote Best Practices in Public Health

Receives RWJF Grant to Support Evidence-Based Community Practices

ALBANY, N. Y. (Dec. 3, 2009) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today announced the creation of the New York Public Health Practice-Based Research Network, a group of public health partners who will work collaboratively to identify and promote the use of evidence-based practices in the delivery of local public health services.

"During these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that local public health departments use the most effective and efficient approaches to address community health threats such as H1N1 flu, childhood lead poisoning, and safe drinking water," said Commissioner Daines. "This research initiative will assist local health departments in these efforts through the promotion of evidence-based decision-making."

Governor David A. Paterson said, "Local health departments are our partners in protecting the public health and encouraging wellness. This grant will continue our joint efforts to help New York become the healthiest state."

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has been awarded a two-year $90,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to lead the network, which will include the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO), the University at Albany School of Public Health, the New York Academy of Medicine, the New York-New Jersey Public Health Training Center, and the Northeast Public Health Leadership Institute. The network will conduct research that strengthens the capacity of local health departments to plan, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions that address community health priorities.

"On behalf of New York's 58 local health departments, NYSACHO is pleased to participate in this research effort," said Linda Wagner, NYSACHO executive director. "As local health departments continue to be stretched to the limits in addressing community public health needs, the use of best practices is critical, along with having adequate resources and a strong public health workforce."

The formation of the network is consistent with Commissioner Daines' Prevention Agenda Toward the Healthiest State, which calls on local health departments, hospitals and other health care providers, and other community organizations to collaboratively address the health priorities of greatest concern to New Yorkers. DOH will work with network organizations to conduct a small-scale research project that will lead to larger-scale public health practice-based research projects in the future.

"DOH's close working relationship with local health departments will ensure that the initial project and subsequent efforts address real-world questions about public health practice and policy," said Sylvia Pirani, MPH, Director of the DOH Office of Public Health Practice and a principal investigator of the research project. "To our advantage, network members already have significant experience working together on public health workforce development and the Prevention Agenda."

Sandra L. McGinnis, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany School of Public Health, is the other principal investigator. The network will also work with a national coordinating center created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assist the funded networks and communicate the research results to scientists, the media, policymakers, public health professionals and others.