Six Research Networks Join Forces to Examine Geographic Differences in Public Health Delivery

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2012) — A new large-scale research project called MPROVE (Multi-Network Research Practice and Outcome Variation Examination), the first project to bring together the power of six public health practice-based research networks (PBRNs) from across the country, will look at how geography may play a role in the delivery of public health services that promote health and prevent disease and injury in communities.

Each of the six PBRNs has received a $50,000 MPROVE grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to participate in the study being coordinated by the PBRN National Coordinating Center (NCC), housed at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Each PBRN will collect data on the scope, intensity and quality of local public health services delivered in the areas of communicable disease control, chronic disease prevention, and environmental health protection.

The results of MPROVE will help to identify why some communities receive more or better health services than others – and what health and economic impacts result from these differences. These findings will help public health practitioners and policy officials make better decisions about where best to invest new resources to maximize gains in population health, and where to cut resources during times of depleted funding to minimize the negative impact on people’s health.

“Just as with medical care delivery, we know that the delivery of public health services varies widely across communities,” said Glen Mays, director of the Public Health PBRN. “This project will be among the first comparative studies to help pinpoint inefficiencies in public health delivery as well as gaps in health protection and missed opportunities for prevention that have important health and economic consequences. In an era of constrained resources, we need to become much smarter about optimizing the delivery of public health services.”

Several of the networks will also examine locally specific issues that complement the larger project. For example, the Tennessee PBRN project will study the effects of federal vaccination funding changes on local vaccination delivery and the effects of local initiatives to regionalize communicable disease control activities in the eastern Tennessee region. The Florida project will analyze public health service delivery patterns in Florida, looking at data from a newly developed electronic health record system and a statewide health information exchange system.

             The recipients of the MPROVE grants are:

  • Chelan-Douglas Health District, for the Washington Public Health PBRN
  • Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, for the Colorado Public Health PBRN
  • Duval County Health Department, for the Florida Public Health PBRN
  • Minnesota Department of Health, for the Minnesota Public Health PBRN
  • University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, for the New Jersey Public Health PBRN
  • University of Tennessee, for the Tennessee Public Health PBRN

About the Public Health PBRN Program: The Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRN) Program is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that brings state and local public health agencies together with research partners in 24 states to design and implement studies in real-world practice settings. To learn more about the PBRN program, visit <

Media Contact:  Ann Blackford at (859)323-6442 or or Vikki Franklin at (859)218-2019.