The Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) includes all public health activities at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. IPHAM's Centers create an organizational structure for the IPHAM, with foci spanning the spectrum from communities to the individual, and from health behaviors to genetic determinants of disease.
Whereas departments are the major organizational entities for activities pertaining to medicine, IPHAM Centers are major organizational entities for activities pertaining to public health and the interface of medicine and public health. IPHAM Centers provide a home for membership in the Institute where academic scholars from different disciplines can join in coordinated activities. The goal of the Institute is to accelerate innovation at the interface of medicine and public health by playing an instrumental role in attracting varied professionals to collaborate more closely. This can only occur through strong leadership and careful orchestration of the Institute's organizational structure, combined with new resources and policies to incent new collaboration. Some examples of how the Institute serves Feinberg include:
- Leveraging space, communication strategies, and novel networking resources to enhance the probability and success of new research partnerships among centers, academic units, and non-academic collaborators.
- Using highly accessible and efficient processes to make new seed monies available for new partnerships and innovative strategies.
- Making additional resources and technical assistance easier to access, particularly in shared areas of high-priority needs, including multi-disciplinary team building; grant and protocol development, peer-review, and refinement; population data collection; data management; analysis; and communication of results to colleagues, communities, and policymakers.
- Promoting and sharing novel "core" resources in innovative new areas, such as the use of expanding technologies to support health behaviors and novel approaches to measure and analyze the impact of environment on health through geospatial analysis.
- Supporting collaborative new enrichment activities to create unique opportunities to prepare trainees to work at the boundaries of traditional disciplines, generating new insights and innovative research programs. This includes opportunities for mentorship, education, and training of oneself, partners, and a pipeline of more junior professionals dedicated to research, education and service at the interface of public health and medicine.
- Uniting Institute, Center, and Core leadership under a shared vision and strategy and with new resources for growth. This enables the Institute to leverage win-win resource commitments with academic divisions and departments, which will, in turn, benefit from the Institute's rich environment for mentorship and efficient, high-yield research operations.
The Centers of the Institute expand, enhance, and complement existing Northwestern University research programs. Centers focus on critical areas of innovation at the intersection of public health and medicine. To ensure strong cohesiveness among varied activities within IPHAM, Centers are intended to have some overlapping membership, education and training aims, and research priorities. Centralized coordination of IPHAM's core resources facilitates collaboration between diverse professionals and research programs, thereby attracting new leaders and collaborators whose interests span across different centers, academic departments, and schools. Through this new structure, Feinberg will provide an exciting nexus of activities focused across the spectrum of discovery to public health practice.