Duke Clinical Research Institute launches center to study and improve community health

March 26, 2015 – The Center for Community and Population Health Improvement is designed to foster collaboration among community partners, researchers, and health system leaders.

A new center at the DCRI aims to translate clinical discoveries into healthier ebony-boulware-newscommunities in the southeastern United States.

The Duke Center for Community and Population Health Improvement is designed to foster collaboration among community partners, researchers, and health system leaders. The new center seeks to decrease health inequities in the Southeast and across the country through studies designed to intervene at both the individual and community level. The center’s goal is to better understand how to sustain improvements in community and population health over the long term.

The center, led by Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH, will work closely with community partners to build upon the success of ongoing Duke projects such as the MURDOCK Study in Kannapolis, the Durham Diabetes Coalition, and the Southeastern Diabetes Initiative.

“Community and population health research and implementation is a team effort,” Boulware said, “and the Center brings together health practitioners and investigators from multiple sources.”

A cornerstone of the new center is a massive database containing information on more than 4 million patients and 30 million patient visits at the Duke University Health System.

Investigators will use these anonymized data to build hypotheses, conduct long-term studies in large populations, compare the effectiveness of treatments, and identify opportunities for interventions. The database will also provide information for communities to assess health needs and set priorities.

“An interdisciplinary focus on the health of large groups of people is vital to helping translate research findings into practices and policies that will improve the health of our nation,” DCRI Executive Director Eric Peterson, MD, MPH, said. “This new center is an important step in that direction.”