Member Research

The Importance of Public Health Research

Research conducted by our members at schools and programs of public health plays a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of health issues and developing innovative solutions to address them. These institutions serve as hubs for groundbreaking discoveries and evidence-based practices that shape public health policies and interventions worldwide. 

Public health research is crucial for identifying and understanding the various factors that affect health at the population level. It enables the identification of health behaviors, injury, and disease risk factors, and trends in diseases and injuries. This knowledge is essential for designing effective interventions that can prevent diseases and promote health. 

The benefits of public health research include: 

ASPPH’s members conduct cutting-edge studies across a wide range of disciplines, from epidemiology and biostatistics to environmental health and health behavior. Their multidisciplinary approach fosters collaboration among experts, enabling comprehensive analyses of complex health challenges. Through rigorous scientific inquiry, our members uncover the root causes of diseases, identify risk factors, and develop preventive measures to promote population health.

By studying health behaviors and risk factors, researchers can pinpoint the root causes of many public health issues. This information helps in developing targeted interventions to reduce risk behaviors and promote healthier lifestyles.

Understanding disease trends and being able to forecast future outbreaks is vital for timely and effective public health responses. This helps in resource allocation and planning, ensuring that public health systems are better prepared to handle health crises.

Research findings inform and influence public health policies. This ensures that health policies are based on solid evidence and are more likely to improve public health outcomes.

Public health research fosters innovation in developing new interventions and health programs. These innovative approaches can significantly enhance the effectiveness of public health initiatives and lead to better health outcomes on a larger scale.

Beyond generating knowledge, our members bridge the gap between theory and practice. Their community-based research initiatives actively engage with local populations, ensuring that interventions are tailored to specific needs and cultural contexts. This collaborative approach empowers communities and facilitates the implementation of effective public health strategies.

Our members play a crucial role in educating and training the next generation of public health professionals. By integrating research opportunities into their curricula, they equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle emerging health challenges. Hands-on research experiences prepare students to become leaders in their respective fields, driving innovation and shaping public health policies for years to come.

The groundbreaking research conducted by our members not only improves population health but also contributes to economic growth and technological advancements. Discoveries in areas such as disease prevention, environmental health, and health policy inform the development of new products, services, and industries. This synergy between research and innovation fosters entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic prosperity.

ASPPH Member Research 

All CEPH-accredited members of ASPPH have a research mission built into their schools’ or programs’ work. Our members often have responsibility for research compliance, research administration, and/or research investment strategies. Examples of topics our members’ research experts discuss are best practices in community-based participatory research, changes in the “Common Rule,” working with vulnerable populations, translating research into public health practice and policy, funding the research mission in the current fiscal environment, and issues related to engaging students in research. 

From contributions to the Surgeon General’s Report on Social Determinants of Health to research on viruses, suicide, and more, view some of our member’s current innovative, groundbreaking, and award-winning research and reports.

ASPPH Research Funding Advocacy

ASPPH advocates annually to increase public health research funding at key federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Several ASPPH members rely on federal funding support at the aforementioned agencies to conduct important research within their schools and programs. For example, NIH serves as the primary federal funder across ASPPH’s membership making support for the agency a top priority in ASPPH’s advocacy agenda. Through regular engagement with Congress, federal agencies, and key stakeholders, ASPPH is committed to preserving and strengthening federal funding for public health research. 

ASPPH Academic Public Health Research and
Partnership Agenda 

Strengthening Public Health Through Academic and Local Public Health Partnerships 

Through its ASPPH Academic Public Health Research and Partnership Agenda, ASPPH proposes a new federal initiative to bridge the gap between our members’ academic research and public health practice. This initiative aims to foster innovative strategies that build capacity at small and midsize health departments and promote evidence-based, community-driven interventions to tackle public health challenges. 

By investing in partnerships between academia and local public health agencies via a Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS) agency-wide approach, as detailed in the research and partnership agenda, we could ensure the best science reaches communities nationwide and enables governmental public health to enhance its capacity through collaboration with leaders in academic public health. These partnerships will bring much-needed innovation and a well-educated workforce to public health at all levels of government. 

The proposed Academic Public Health Research Partnerships would support implementation science, applied research, and evaluation to address common barriers to implementing public health findings and recommendations. These barriers include:

  • Delays in translating research into practice
  • Lack of awareness or resistance from field experts
  • Insufficient communication and collaboration across specialties

By fostering partnerships between academic institutions and local public health programs, this initiative aims to facilitate the translation of research into practical, community-driven solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for robust investment in public health infrastructure, research, surveillance, and rapid-response capabilities. Small and midsize health departments often lack the capacity to adapt evidence-based science to emerging threats and practices.

The proposed Academic Public Health Research Partnerships would provide flexible funding to support collaborative data analytics, scientific effectiveness evaluations, and research projects between academic institutions and state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments. This approach would:

  • Enhance the capacity of small and midsize health departments
  • Encourage the use of graduate student fellowships in health departments
  • Increase diversity and inclusion in public health research
  • Strengthen the pipeline of public health professionals with real-world experience

As detailed in the ASPPH Academic Public Health Research and Partnership Agenda, we recommend the following funding levels in the FY25 President’s Budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): $100 million for grants to improve small and midsize health department capacity to implement data-driven strategies and evidence-driven, applied science.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $100 million for population health research and evaluation for public health systems capacity building across NIH Institutes and Centers.
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): $20 million for integration of public health and healthcare delivery systems
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H): $20 million to establish a public health data systems research portfolio.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): $20 million increase in support for evidence-based public health training through the Public Health Training Centers (PHTC) Network.