Population Health Center Launches in Virginia

population health center

The center addresses how providers access and deliver care, particularly for underrepresented and uninsured populations

Officials at the George Mason College of Health and Human Services have announced the opening of a Population Health Center to help address specific critical public health needs in Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas. The facility is being called “an essential and bold intersection of academics and practice.”

According to officials, changes in the profile of Northern Virginia residents’ health and demographics reveal that demographic shifts coupled with changes in Medicare and the mandate to reduce hospital readmission rates are transitioning the point of care delivery from hospitals and emergency departments to community providers.

More than 16% of residents live in “islands of disadvantage,” and nearly 8% are uninsured, officials claim. 

Located on Mason’s Fairfax campus, the center addresses this transformation in how providers access and deliver care, particularly for underrepresented and uninsured populations, officials said in a statement released to the press Oct. 18. The center and its staff are also expected to help practitioners attain new skills and credentials; employers meet evolving needs; and communities connect with innovative, solution-oriented partners.

“The Population Health Center is a place where researchers, faculty, students, care providers, and community partners come together to develop innovative approaches to research, interprofessional care, and professional development to improve public health,” said Germaine Louis, PhD, MS, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Experiential learning opportunities are available for all involved, with the goal of moving the needle on the health of the populations we serve.”

The center also reportedly facilitates partnerships between academia and community and houses facilities for telehealth, research, and clinical care. The Claude Moore Scholars Workforce Development Program, an initiative to build a career-ready workforce of students who are pursuing higher education healthcare career pathways, is located in the Center and was made possible by a gift from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, officials said.

The 10th Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinic, a no-barrier free clinic, will also be located at the Center as will the Kaiser Permanente Community Wellness Hub, where co-located community partners will provide resources to address determinants of health, such as access to housing, food, and affordable prescriptions. The Kaiser Permanente Community Wellness Hub was funded by a grant from Kaiser Permanente and is aligned with Kaiser’s broader commitment to improving the social health of Northern Virginia residents, according to officials.

Examples of inaugural initiatives also occurring at the center include:

  • Providing integrated primary care responsive to the social determinants of health;
  • Using electronic health data along with telehealth in delivering care;
  • Understanding and promoting the health of young adults; and
  • Reimagining the model for developing leadership competencies and skills for professionals and the healthcare workforce.

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