The mission of the proposed Dartmouth Population Health Research Center (DPHRC) is to work with community and state partners to measurably reduce disparities and improve cardiovascular health across the lifespan. The proposal is motivated by a shared understanding of modifiable causes of persistent disparities: poor alignment of clinical and public health activities;limited community capacity to lead successful change;failure to adequately evaluate health programs;and rising health care costs. Our proposal builds on recent regional developments and Dartmouth's new commitment to achieve the healthiest population possible and will create a novel opportunity to overcome these barriers. Working initially with three community health coalitions, the Center will develop an action learning collaborative that will enable coalitions to determine their health priorities and identify, implement and evaluate interventions. Drawing on Dartmouth's educational programs in leadership and improvement, the Center will develop training programs to strengthen collaborative members'capacity to lead and sustain program improvements and to conduct community-based prevention research. The Center will carry out two pilot research projects. One is a community-based participatory research project (see accompanying research proposal) that builds on a successful health promotion intervention (InSHAPE) designed to prevent premature mortality and excess morbidity among persons with serious mental illness (SMI). The project will work with the coalition in Manchester, NH to adapt, implement and evaluate the InSHAPE program first for residents with SMI and then for a new vulnerable population identified by the community. The second project builds on Dartmouth's decision to collect system-wide, patient-reported health risk and health status measures. This project, funded by Dartmouth, will work with the Keene, NH health coalition to test community-wide collection of individual health appraisals. Through these and other projects, the Dartmouth Population Health Research Center will work with community and regional partners to test programmatic and policy solutions to national health problems.
The proposed Prevention Research Center will support local and regional efforts in Vermont and New Hampshire to better integrate research, educational, clinical and public health programs to improve cardiovascular health and reduce disparities in vulnerable populations. The pilot research project includes a focus on persons with serious mental illness and residents of high-risk neighborhoods in Manchester, NH.
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