NACCHO and the Profile Study Recognized as Leaders in PHSSR
It is no secret that “evidence-based practice” is the answer to effective and efficient public health, especially in tough economic times. But where does the evidence come from? In the world of public health, data are arguably the most important source for evidence-base. So what’s the big deal? Public health researchers should grab the “tsunami of data” out there, analyze it, and get on with business. Simple! Right? Not really. Data do not exactly grow on trees. Accurate and comprehensive data for public health systems and services research (PHSSR) are actually not that abundant. Dr. Jacqueline Merrill, an Associate Research Scientist and Public Health Informatics Faculty at the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, conducted a survey of PHSSR researchers in 2010, which shows that finding appropriate data was a major barrier in PHSSR. This update highlights the critical role NACCHO’s Profile Study plays in promoting and supporting public health research.
Dr. Merrill’s study showed that the PHSSR assets most commonly used by the researchers in the past three years are data from surveys of state and local health departments/local boards of health as mentioned by 57 percent of the researchers who responded to her survey. PHSSR research thrives in an environment of mature collaboration within the community of practice as gauged by the sharing of data and other resources.
According to the Merrill study, NACCHO has emerged as a leader for data resource sharing in the PHSSR community, thanks to the Profile Study data. NACCHO was at the top of the list in resource sharing among the eight prominent public health groups with which PHSSR researchers collaborated during the past three years. The University of Kentucky Center for PHSSR and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) were next on the list. This tells us that Profile Study data are among the lead sources of information for PHSSR.