Integrating Health Systems in Shelby County Tennesee

Year: 2013
Funding: Jr Investigator Award
Status: Completed


The principal objective is to study the integration of public health and medical care systems in one urban county, based on principles for integration set forth in the 2012 IOM report on integrating public health and primary care. In so doing, the study seeks to advance both science and practice related to the following question from the National Research Agenda for PHSSR: What conditions and strategies facilitate productive inter-organizational relationships and patterns of interaction among organizations that contribute to public health strategies at local, state, and national levels?  To accomplish this, the proposed study will utilize a rigorous mixed method approach, combining quantitative survey methodology with qualitative focus groups and structured interview methodology. The study also seeks to leverage the established Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) approach to involving community stakeholders in driving a local research agenda related to integration.  Project findings will assist in identifying specific conditions and strategies which facilitate inter-organizational relationships that contribute to public health strategies at the local level with the aim of translating findings for state and national use. Further, through the development and advancement of a PBRN focused on health system integration, the study will advance future research as additional questions emerge from community stakeholders and on-going research.


  • Integrating Public Health and Healthcare: Lessons from One Urban County (PHSSR Research in Progress Webinar, December 2014 recording)
  • Answering the Call to Integrate for Population Health: Insights from Health System Leaders (PHSSR Keeneland Conference Poster Presentation, April 2014)
  • Answering the Call to Integrate Primary Care and Public Health: Implications for Healthcare Administrators (American College of Healthcare Executives Annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership, Forum on Advances in Healthcare Management Research, March 2014)
  • An exploration of integrating primary care and public health: Challenges and opportunities (APHA Annual Meeting, November 2013)
  •  Integrating primary care and public health: Initial findings (AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, Public Health Services Research Interest Group Meeting, June 2013)



Erik Carlton, Dr.P.H., M.S.


Paul C. Erwin, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Tennesee Knoxville

Research Areas