Drawing together scientists with years of experience in public-health research support, including extensive experience with methodological support in a center-grant context, we propose a Research Methods Core to support the research activities of the proposed UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD). Reflecting the multiple areas of expertise covered by the interdisciplinary Research Methods Core team, we aim to deliver wide-ranging metiiodological support to the broader CPHHD research effort, including: (1) providing support of biostatistical design and analysis, with capabilities of developing biostatistical innovations;(2) incorporating expertise in field-survey research frameworks and techniques into CPHHD projects;(3) contributing insight into modern laboratory measurement, particularly as related to identifying biomarkers appropriate to investigating mechanisms through which public-health interventions function and analyzing biomarker data;(4) integrating consideration of policy implications into all components of CPHHD research;(5) linking with CPHHD training programs to provide the best possible training for students emerging as scientists;and (6) working with the Administrative Core to implement a center-wide data safety monitoring plan and a center-wide effort to harmonize measurement and data collection to ensure comparability with published results. Through these elements, the Methods Core will offer expertise throughout the activities of the CPHHD, offering efficiencies for center operations and serving to enhance a sense of unity among different research components, thereby ensuring that the CPHHD is able to benefit from the synergies that derive from being part of a research center.
Methodological needs arise in a variety of contexts in community-based public-health research. We anticipate needs in experimental design and analysis, biomarker measurement, accommodating correlated measurements, small-sample inference, handling missing data, culturally appropriate field survey techniques, and policy analysis. The Research Methods Core aims to be responsive in all of these areas.
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