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Research Areas

Bench2Bedside

Bench2Bedside research encompasses laboratory-based research on the mechanisms of disease and therapeutics as well as basic, pre-clinical, clinical, and translational research on cell culture, animal models, and human subjects (both identified and de-identified). Research questions range from issues arising in the traditional wet lab (e.g., experimental techniques with cells, tissues, biospecimens, and animal models) to devices, instrumentation, drug development, and computational research. Human subject research may incorporate surveys, cross-sectional studies, case series, case-control studies, cohort studies, first-in-human, proof of principle, and all phases of clinical trials. Inquiry in Bench2Bedside often interacts closely and/or overlaps with other research areas.

Community and Global Health

Community Health research engages communities and speeds the adoption, integration, implementation, and evaluation of policies and practices to improve population health. The spectrum of research includes clinical practice, public health, and community-based participatory research. Particular foci include health risks and diseases; obstacles to achieving optimal health; sociocultural, historical and clinical aspects of caring for underserved populations; barriers to diagnosis and treatment, and strategies and interventions that motivate patients to practice positive health behaviors. Partnerships with community organizations, community clinicians, and public health programs are essential to many research projects and provide unique opportunities to impact health at the community and population level.

Global Health research focuses on underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries as well as foreign-born populations (e.g., immigrants and refugees) in the U.S. from a comprehensive and holistic perspective. Following The Lancet (June 2, 2009), we define Global Health as “an area for study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global Health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care.” Areas of investigation encompass both public health and biomedical science, including assessment of community needs and plans to meet those needs, sociocultural determinants of health and health behavior, health care delivery, basic science, clinical investigation, and implementation science.

Epidemiology and Informatics

Epidemiology is the science of identifying and understanding the patterns, determinants, and causes of disease in human populations. The Greek term literally means “the study of what is upon the people.” A cornerstone of public health, epidemiology informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection and statistical analysis of data, and interpretation and dissemination of results. Epidemiologic methods are used in clinical research and public health studies.

Biomedical Informatics deals with the storage, retrieval and optimal use of biomedical information for problem solving and decision-making in healthcare settings. Research encompasses all areas of healthcare–from developing, evaluating, and refining the computer tools available to clinicians caring for patients; using computer applications and techniques to help clinicians assemble evidence about specific topics; to managing biologic and genomic information in ways that support discovery of new therapies and guide basic science research.

Ethics, Education, Policy, and Society

E2PS studies provide insights about the ethical and social dimensions of medicine. This research area encompasses a broad range of disciplines in relation to medicine including philosophy, economics, religion, anthropology, sociology, and law. A key aim is fostering the professional competence and responsibility of practitioners and policymakers as they work to improve the efficiency and quality of health care systems. Some research topics include ethical aspects of clinical medical practice (from neonatal to end-of-life care); historical inquiry in medicine; patients’ and physicians’ accounts of illness; ethical and legal aspects of health policies, technology, and genomics; assessment of the impact of policy changes and interventions on access, costs, and quality of health care; and the theory and practice of learning and teaching in medicine.