Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Innovating health care delivery

As Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MPH, Acting Executive Vice President, Ambulatory Services, Senior Vice President of the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children's National, told attendees at the recent SEHA Research Conference Abu Dhabi, we know from our work in Washington, DC, how important it is to establish a two-way conversation with the communities we seek to help through community-based research. We know that health disparities exist, and we know that research in a vacuum will not lead to discoveries that improve health care where it is needed most.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National recently announced a partnership with Georgetown and Howard Universities that will create a first of its kind online tool. The tool is designed to actively engage our communities in research aimed at delivering better care to all people, regardless of where they live.

The online portal, known as the DC Healthy Communities Network (DC-HCN), will be a bilingual, community-driven, interactive web-based portal that will enhance community-based organizations’ ability to identify information, share and seek expertise and research, and access tools to impact health in local communities.

The most innovative concept to this portal is the way that it will build two-way communications between researchers, the community-based organizations seeking to help people, and the people of the community who are seeking better information and treatments for their families. Not only will people be able to participate in groundbreaking research, they will be able to influence it and learn from its findings.

Even better, by joining the research power of two NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award recipients (Children’s National/George Washington University and Georgetown/Howard Universities) the teams can combine their regional expertise with community feedback to build a tool to address disparities in both children and adults.

Joseph Wright, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President of Children’s National’s Child Health Advocacy Institute, summed it up from the Children’s point of view: “This NIH funding enables us to pursue a community-driven model of research. This work is a vital part of the Children’s National commitment to improving the health of the children and families in our community through creative connections, innovative solutions, and modeling best practices.”

Read the press release here, and stay tuned for the launch of the portal, which is currently planned for fall 2012.