SPH Joins Alliance to Spur Healthcare Innovation

Monday, June 15, 2015

The UW School of Public Health received a $13,000 planning grant from the National Science Foundation to become the sixth site for the Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT). The center brings researchers and industry partners together to "further health care innovations through evidence-based research," according to Dr. Cynthia LeRouge, director of the new UW site and associate professor of Health Services.

Other sites include Texas A & M, the Georgian Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Penn State University and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. The center has 16 current industry members who each pay a $50,000 annual membership fee that funds 20 or more applied health care research initiatives per year. Industry members voice their visions and issues while voting on responsive proposals from faculty-student teams during five-minute pitches at one of two national meetings per year.

Other members of the UW site are Dr. Christina Mastrangelo, associate professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering; Dr. William Dowling, professor emeritus of Health Services; Dr. Douglas Conrad, professor of Health Services; and PhD student Ms. Ann Nguyen.

The UW is currently identifying potential partners, Dr. LeRouge said. Members will join the national cohort, become part of the industry "voice," and receive results of all studies conducted by the center. The center also helps publish results in peer-reviewed journals.

Research areas are based on several "clusters" such as safety, access and efficiency or patient-centered care. Members include third-party payers, health care technology vendors and others.

"It creates a way to launch and start seed-up projects that could lead to bigger things," including future grants from the National Institutes of Health, said Dr. LeRouge. The goal of the projects is to improve cost-efficiency and quality of care.

The National Science Foundation would contribute $55,000 to cover annual administrative costs once the UW site is in place.