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Current Research Priorities

In June 2018, Rutgers Center for State Health Policy (CSHP) convened the inaugural iPHD Research Priority Meeting, engaging a group of 105 interested stakeholders from New Jersey’s research universities, state agencies, and other organizations. By synthesizing the rich discussion and drawing on public information, CSHP developed, and the iPHD Governing Board adopted, the following research priorities. A new priority to address COVID-19 and other public health emergencies was approved by the Governing Board in May 2020. 

To be considered for review and approval by the iPHD Governing Board, research applications should address one or more of the research priorities below. In addition, the research should advance the purpose of the iPHD legislation to improve public health, safety, security, and well-being of New Jersey residents and the overall cost-efficiency of government assistance programs, use valid research methods, and comply with the provisions of the applicable statutes.

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Opioid Epidemic

Informing New Jersey's integrated approach to addressing the opioid epidemic

Combating the opioid misuse epidemic is one of New Jersey’s highest policy priorities, involving multiple state programs and agencies. Analysis of integrated data within the iPHD can contribute to addressing the epidemic by illuminating patterns of opioid prescribingexamining other drivers of opioid misuse and overdoses, identifying potential policy solutions and recommendations, and evaluating prevention and treatment program outcomes, including addressing disparities in care.

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Maternal and Infant Health

Improving maternal and infant health

Improving maternal and infant-related outcomes and reducing rates of maternal and infant mortality and disparities are very high priorities for New Jersey. Analyses of health system, community, and other factors influencing maternal and infant outcomes can inform and support improved intervention strategies and public policy. Research projects that assess opportunities to improve maternal and infant outcomes by adapting best practices from other states or countries are encouraged.

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Social Determinants of Health

Assuring access to physical and behavioral health services and addressing social determinants of health

New Jersey devotes extensive resources across multiple state programs, including Medicaid and charity care, to provide access to vital physical and behavioral health services (mental health and substance use disorders) for underserved populations across the lifespan. Coordination of services across sectors of the delivery system, especially medical and behavioral health as well as care at the end of life, are challenges that can be informed by analysis of services across programs. Further, deeper understanding of how social and physical environments impact health and of the relationships between health-related and other publically supported services, such as housing assistance, criminal justice, and public transit, can inform more efficient and effective use of state-supported healthcare services.

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COVID-19 and Other Public Health Emergencies

Conducting analyses to support New Jersey's response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies

On March 9, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy declared a public health emergency in the state of New Jersey as part of the state’s coordinated response to contain the spread of COVID-19. To better understand the impact of this and other public health emergencies, prevent future emergencies, and enable preparedness for early action, data driven insights are essential.  iPHD can support these efforts by enabling integrated data analyses across a range of relevant topics including, but not limited to, forces driving population vulnerability, racial disparities, social and economic inequities, health access and coverage,  healthcare utilization, and the impact of technology on the COVID-19 response.

The Governing Board may approve projects that fall outside the current research priorities but: 1) serve the purpose of the iPHD, 2) draw on the datasets assembled for the purpose of addressing iPHD research priorities, and 3) are approved by each state agency that has contributed data to be used in conjunction with the requested project.

The current research priorities will remain in place until modified by the iPHD Governing Board.