Collaboration and Innovation through Research

Value Proposition: OCHIN is committed to building the nation’s foremost community laboratory for health outcomes, policy, and primary care research with vulnerable and underserved populations.

OCHIN Research works with the mission to improve the health of underserved populations, enhance quality of care, and inform health policy through research. Our studies examine effective interventions and delivery system improvements, especially those that focus on:  

  • Understanding and addressing health conditions with known health disparities that are common in safety net populations
  • Improving health outcomes in safety net populations
  • Evaluating interventions that have potential to improve safety net practice
  • Testing Health IT interventions to improve population health
  • Implementing evidence-based practices within the clinic network
Visit our blog to read the latest from OCHIN Research.

Research Priority Areas

OCHIN’s Research Department is dedicated to improving the health of underserved populations through thoughtful examination of health policy, and health outcomes. In order to accomplish this, OCHIN Research has identified seven important program areas that address and advance OCHIN’s mission.

Chronic Pain and Opioids
  • Priority Area Lead: John Muench, MD, MPH
  • This program area strives to generate knowledge that will help clinics treat patients with chronic pain and/or opioid addiction. Research is focused on opioid prescription, alternative approaches to pain management, addiction management and treatment in primary care, and issues related to trauma and resilience for patients.
Diseases Affecting the Safety Net
  • Priority Area Lead: John Heintzman, MD
  • This program area identifies and encourages research on topics related to diseases that commonly affect the safety net population. Research is focused on conditions such as, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, common types of pulmonary disease, cancer, obesity, mental health conditions, and common infections.
Health Disparities
  • Priority Area Lead: TBD
  • This program area examines health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations. Research is focused on improving healthcare access and utilization for racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, immigrants, migrant workers, refugees, people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, and the incarcerated.
Health Policy
  • Priority Area Lead: Jennifer DeVoe, PhD, DPhil & Nathalie Huguet, PhD
  • This program area supports development and research in the field of health care policy. Research is focused on health outcomes and utilization of preventive services before and after the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states.
  • Priority Area Lead: Jon Puro, MPA/HA
  • This program area strives to ensure that OCHIN is the national lead in hosting rich, comprehensive, and accessible safety-net population data in support of rigorous clinical and health services research. This program supports projects and proposals that utilize informatics; develops and maintains the ADVANCE research data warehouse for prep-to-research and funded studies; and builds Community Vital Signs (CVS) data infrastructure, develops capacity for utilizing CVS data, and makes these data available for research.
Practice Transformation
  • Priority Area Lead: Rachel Gold, PhD, MPH
  • This program area examines how Community Health Centers (CHCs) can improve individual patient and population health by improving care processes, workflows, and the adoption of evidence-based care, using effective implementation strategies. Research is focused on how to build and optimize EHR and other tools (e.g. clinical decision support tools) to support CHCs targeted interventions and goals, as well as help CHCs implement these tools.
Reproductive and Family Health
  • Priority Area Lead: Brigit Hatch, MD, MPH
  • This program area strives to lead and support national research regarding women, children, and families. Research is focused on understanding and improving the health of women, children, and families.
Social Determinants of Health
  • Priority Area Lead: Erika Cottrell, PhD, MPP
  • This program area focuses on patient reported and/or community-level social determinants of health data. Research is focused on how clinics can use social determinants of health information about their patients at the point-of-care and for population management to better understand their patients and to ultimately provide more-informed care.

OCHIN Research is guided by the OCHIN Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). The OCHIN PBRN, registered with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in 2007 and comprised of practicing clinicians from OCHIN member clinics, is housed at OCHIN to maximize its independence and focus on community-based research. Its mission is to encourage research with potential to directly benefit safety net patients, to develop and improve OCHIN’s data resources for research purposes, to partner with interested researchers, and to translate research findings into practice.

Click here to view the full list of active research projects.

Network Participation

OCHIN participates in multiple national research networks:

*OCHIN identifies financial conflicts of interest (FCOI) and other situations that may give rise to conflicts of interest, and addresses such situations to ensure research decisions made are in the best interests of OCHIN, its research participants, patients, and members. OCHIN operates in accordance with federal regulations addressing research financial conflicts of interest through our Policy on FCIO in Research.