RWJF Commits $25 Million to Broaden Health Research

Posted: May 20, 2015

We have exciting news to share with our many fellow travelers who study public health systems and their impact on population health.  Today, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced a new direction for its Research, Evaluation, and Learning Team (REL) under the Culture of Health vision, with research on the systems and services that support this vision as a key component.

Our RWJF-funded Public Health Systems and Services Research (PHSSR) national program office became part of REL in 2014, and since that time we have worked closely with RWJF colleagues to identify how PHSSR and related research streams can strengthen our understanding of what builds a Culture of Health. With its announcement today, RWJF has committed roughly $25 million over the next three years to funding three new programs that will provide opportunities for research on the system innovations, policies, laws and regulations, and community dynamics that improve health and well-being. This new research will focus on a broad constellation of institutions, services and delivery systems that shape health and well-being in American communities, including but not limited to the public health and health care sectors.

Three organizations will lead the new research programs:

  • Evidence for Action, led by a team at the University of California, San Francisco, will support investigator-initiated research that spans the full range of topics and methodologies needed to build an evidence base for a Culture of Health. This program will be the first to begin considering research proposals, with an announcement expected in June.
  • Policies for Action, based at Temple University, will explore how policies, laws, and regulations in both the public and private sectors can support a Culture of Health. This new project builds on the work and insights of the Temple team’s six years of experience with its Public Health Law Research program, an RWJF grantee.
  • Systems for Action, based here at the University of Kentucky, will specifically explore ways to better align and integrate public health delivery and financing systems with health care and other social and community services and supports, incorporating our team’s experience leading the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research.  
These complementary programs will examine innovative systems and delivery approaches, programs, and policies that can improve population health and well-being, extending our understanding of health beyond absence of illness to recognize the influences of a range of factors affecting communities, the environment, and other social and economic determinants of health.

Our center will continue to support current and past PHSSR grantees over the next 18 months as they produce and disseminate their findings.  And public health systems and services will remain integral to the new research that we support under the Systems for Action program.   

We invite you to learn more about -- and apply for -- these new research opportunities.  If you have any questions about this transition, the new programs, or RWJF's Culture of Health vision, please feel free to get in touch.