For the past year, Rowland Chang, MD, MPH, senior associate dean for public health, has been working to mold the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM), a new institute that launched this summer.
Standing before a near-capacity audience inside the Hughes Auditorium, the IPHAM director had an opportunity this week to present the institute’s mission and discuss where IPHAM is headed as well as hear from audience members on what they think it can become.
With areas of interest that span engineering, health policy, aging, global health, biostatistics, bioinformatics, prevention, epidemiology, health services, and outcomes research under its umbrella, IPHAM was designed to expand, enhance, and complement existing Northwestern University research programs.
The coordination of IPHAM’s resources will facilitate collaboration between diverse professionals and research programs, thereby attracting new leaders and collaborators whose interests span across different centers, academic departments, and schools.
“The institute is meant to help double the research enterprise by adding faculty and stimulating collaborative research across departments, centers, and other institutions,” Chang said. “By increasing the amount of dry lab, or office space, for researchers and the number of program project grants, we will continue to recruit, develop, and retain excellent faculty.”
Speaking as part of the Center for Healthcare Studies Seminar Series, Chang iterated that the goal of the institute is to accelerate innovation at the interface of medicine and public health, and achieve measurable improvements in health for patients and populations.
He outlined six value-added activities as the base of IPHAM’s core:
- Convene research groups to plan applications for large, multi-project, interdisciplinary research grants.
- Lead infrastructure initiatives that would expand opportunities for Northwestern Medicine dry lab research.
- Provide pilot study funding.
- Host seminars to create conversation amongst researchers.
- Recruit new dry lab faculty.
- Expand educational programs.
Chang thanked the 12-member executive committee, which includes each center director within the institute, as well David Baker, MD, MPH, IPHAM deputy director, and Rex Chisholm, PhD, vice dean of scientific affairs and graduate education, for getting the institute up and running. He also announced the addition of a new “Wednesday Workshop” series starting in October. The weekly discussion sessions will be open to the Northwestern community and are meant to stimulate joint collaborative projects across the university.