PRESS RELEASE: Introducing the Population Health Center: The Intersection of Academics and Practice
October 18, 2019
For Immediate Release
George Mason University
College of Health and Human Services
George Mason’s College of Health and Human Services Announces Bold New Model in Clinical Care, Research, and Professional Development to Improve the Public’s Health
(Today – Fairfax, VA) To address critical public health needs in Northern Virginia and beyond, the George Mason College of Health and Human Services has launched the Population Health Center, an essential and bold intersection of academics and practice.
The health of Northern Virginia is at a crossroads. Changes in the profile of residents’ health and demographics reveal populations at risk. More than 16% of residents live in “islands of disadvantage,” and nearly 8% are uninsured. 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.
The Population Health Center, located on Mason’s Fairfax campus, addresses this transformation in how we access and deliver care, particularly for underrepresented and uninsured populations. The Center will 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. Experiential learning opportunities are available for all involved, with the goal of moving the needle on the health of the populations we serve,” says Dean of the College of Health and Human Services Dr. Germaine Louis.
The Population Health Center facilitates partnerships between academia and community and houses state-of-the art 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 health career pathways, is located in the Center and was made possible by a gift from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation.
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.
“The Population Health Center represents the future of high-tech, high-touch care—and is a creative way to serve the medically underserved populations residing in Northern Virginia. Having a Center like this on a college campus brings energy to help produce sustainable health and to prepare the next generation of the public health workforce,” says Dr. Mary Ann Friesen, nursing research coordinator and evidence-based practice coordinator for the Inova Health System, Mason alumna (PhD, Nursing ‘08), and College Advisory Board vice chair.
Examples of inaugural initiatives taking place at the Population Health Center include:
- Providing integrated primary care responsive to the social determinants of health;
- Using electronic health data along with telehealth and mHealth technologies in delivering care;
- Understanding and promoting the health of young adults beginning with Mason students; and
- Reimagining the model for developing leadership competencies and skills for professionals and the health workforce.
Drs. Alison Cuellar, Caroline Sutter, and Rebecca Sutter have been appointed as co-directors of the Population Health Center to oversee the tri-part mission of the Center, and serve as advisors to Dean Louis. Alison Cuellar will oversee faculty-led research initiatives, Rebecca Sutter will oversee interprofessional care delivery, and Caroline Sutter will oversee workforce development efforts. Together, these leaders will bring their respective expertise to build a groundbreaking model for interprofessional collaboration among public health researchers, practitioners, community partners, and students.
About the College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and interprofessional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest-growing Research I institution in the country. The College enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate students and 950 graduate students in its nationally-recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate degrees, and 11 certificate programs. The College is transitioning to a college public health in the near future. For more information, visit https://chhs.gmu.edu/.