Aurora, Colo. (Oct. 28, 2011) – Dr. Allison Kempe has dedicated much of her career to studying why steps that are known to work to prevent illness and disease aren’t always put into practice. The University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty member and physician now has been tapped by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish a center that will focus on increasing the use of preventive health services within primary health care settings. The effort is intended to help communities better meet national public health goals.

The annual award of more than $1,483,000 will create the Center for Excellence in Research in Implementation Science and Prevention (CRISP) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Primary care and public health experts will come together to conduct research on ways to improve the usage of known prevention strategies – steps like increasing rates of flu shots to prevent flu and improving immunization rates among children, changes in heart healthy behavior and cardiovascular risks in adults and obesity prevention efforts engaging families (children and adults), public health clinics, and community agencies. The center is one of three just announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ AHRQ. The agency awarded a total this year of $4.5 million to the CU School of Medicine, Northwestern University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Each center will conduct research projects during the 3-year grant which will include large, cluster-randomized controlled trials and pilot and exploratory projects affecting children, the elderly, minorities, those with disabilities and those who receive health care in rural and city settings.

Colorado’s Center for Excellence in Research in Implementation Science and Prevention will leverage resources and expertise at the Children’s Outcomes Research Program, Children’s Hospital Colorado, the Colorado Health Outcomes Program, the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the community engagement pillar of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

“The Center for Research in Implementation Science and Prevention will bring together investigators with expertise in implementation of preventive services, an extensive network of practice-based research networks to serve as laboratories for better understanding implementation, and national authorities in innovative health information technology, “ said Allison Kempe, MD. “Our goal is to get useful information into the hands of practicing physicians that will encourage them to increase the use of preventive health strategies into their practices.”

To accomplish that, the center will develop toolkits and publish articles to guide primary care physicians.

“We know that preventing disease is the key to improving health of all Americans, but we also know that there are some serious gaps in clinical preventive services research,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD. “AHRQ’s investment in these new research centers will help us find ways to enhance the quality of clinical preventive services.”

The centers will support the Health and Human Services National Prevention Strategy by developing evidence around previously under-researched areas including the role of clinical preventive services in reducing health disparities, the associated risks of clinical preventive services and communicating those risks to patients and families, and the most effective and efficient ways primary care health services can deliver clinical preventive services.

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