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Institute for Health and Productivity Studies

Current Projects

Johns Hopkins P.O.E. Total Worker Health Center in Mental Health

IHPS is part of a team of researchers in the Bloomberg School of Public Health that has been awarded funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This newly established Center of Excellence is focused on work-related mental health issues and solutions. Under the leadership of Meghan Davis, DVD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, IHPS is engaged in two of the Center’s studies: 1) a one-year qualitative study to investigate COVID-19 stressors faced by essential workers in the food industry, and how they and their managers can effectively respond to those stressors; and 2) a 5-year study focused on improving the mental health, wellbeing, physical health and safety of essential workers in healthcare.

World Bank Group (WBG) - Academic Research and Analytics for the Health, Wellness, and Safety Program

IHPS is assisting the WBG on multiple projects, including: 1) Expert consultation on the development of a guidance report regarding a protocol for employee COVID-19 testing and vaccination to ensure a safe and healthy return to work, 2) Conducting a study of the onsite health clinic, comparing its healthcare utilization and costs with other community service providers used by employees, and 3) Analyzing and interpreting the results of the Employee Health and Safety Survey examining the health and wellbeing of workers and evaluating the impact of interventions aimed at modifying health services, benefits, and programs to improve employee health outcomes in cost effective ways. 

CDC Foundation - Building a Foundation for a Business and Health “Accountability Dashboard” 

IHPS, with support of the CDC Foundation, is exploring the viability of designing an accountability dashboard that could be used at the community level to inspire collaboration and action between the business community and public health. Specifically, the objectives of our initiative with the CDC Foundation are to 1) examine the landscape of existing dashboards/rankings/databases, 2) leverage the expertise of business and public health stakeholders regarding their appetite and desire for such a dashboard, 3) identify relevant key metrics needed to be included in an accountability dashboard, and 4) develop a prototype used by business and public health leaders in a community. 

Branstad Foundation

The Primary Care Physician is Champion of All Care (COAC) model, developed by the Branstad Family Foundation in partnership with Northwestern University, offers a potential solution to known health system shortcomings. The fundamental concept of the COAC model is to empower primary care physicians (PCPs) to practice “at the top of the license” by fully leveraging their cognitive skills, particularly for patients with one or more chronic conditions.

The key to the COAC model is to reduce the patient panel size of PCPs so that providers have longer office visits with patients, have more time for telephone or email communications, be readily available for acute care visits/calls, know their patients thoroughly, and build greater patient–physician trust through these interactions. By building greater trust and communication between patients and their PCP, the model anticipates that patients will be more likely to engage in health behavior changes, adhere to medical recommendations, consult with their PCP about specialty referrals, experience reduced unnecessary health care services, and have fewer hospitalizations and emergency department / urgent care visits.

Using an employer’s health care claims data, we are evaluating the COAC model in terms of its ability 1) demonstrate net improvements in Health Risk Scores and Risk Stratification Bands compared to employees not enrolled, and 2) demonstrate net improvements in health care utilization and related costs compared to employees not enrolled.

The Health Project

The mission of The Health Project is to seek out, evaluate, promote and distribute quality health promotion/disease prevention programs with the objectives of (1) providing appropriate quality care, and (2) sharply reducing the rate of healthcare inflation by holding down unnecessary expenditures. In recent years, The Health Project has primarily focused on awarding and disseminating high-impact, outcomes-driven employer health promotion initiatives. It stores information about those proven programs on its public website so that corporations and community agencies may access them according to their needs. The database is improved and enlarged annually with each granting of the C. Everett Koop Awards. The Institute for Health and Productivity Studies serves as the administrative home for The Health Project. Currently, Dr. Ron Goetzel serves as The Health Project’s President and CEO.

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The Luv u Project

In 2016, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and IHPS, with support from The Luv u Project, hosted the “Mental Health in the Workplace: A Public Health Summit” (Summit). The Summit gathered researchers, industry and government leaders, and practitioners in public mental health to identify workplace health promotion practices that are effective, where the evidence is insufficient. A key aim of the Summit was to highlight practical next steps that lead to action with the aim of improving mental health in the workplace. An Advisory Council was formed to brainstorm on several action priorities to move the needle forward in such areas as applied research, dissemination of best practices, and establishment of policy priorities for the nation. The Luv u Project and IHPS established the Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health in the Workplace, which launched in January 2022.

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