Population Health Group

Eighty percent of what affects health outcomes are factors not typically associated with standard health care. These are health behaviors (tobacco and alcohol use, sexual activity), social and economic factors (employment, education, income) and physical environment (air quality, water quality). Population Health seeks to understand how these factors impact health outcomes at different life stages and integrate lessons learned across populations.

The Population Health Group at Sanford Research specializes in population, translational, prevention and clinical research, as well as in the design and methodology surrounding such studies. A number of our research studies involve engagement and partnerships with American Indian communities and community-based organizations. Primary research in the Population Health Group involves many areas including infant mortality, childhood obesity, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, childhood bullying and teen pregnancy prevention. With a broad range of expertise, our faculty includes specialists in public health, medicine, psychology, reproductive endocrinology, pediatrics, epidemiology, nutrition and biostatistics.

The Population Health Group includes:

An Evaluation Core, with staff available to advise and manage evaluation requirements including conducting process and outcome evaluations via qualitative and quantitative methods.

The Sanford Data Collaborative, which provides leading researchers with the opportunity to access real-life, timely health care data and has partnerships with academic institutions across the region anxious to collaborate with Sanford.

In 2016, Sanford was named named as a Pediatric Cohort site in a seven-year initiative by the National Institutes of Health called Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes, or ECHO. The program is investigating how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development – from conception to early childhood – influences the health of children and adolescents. Population Health will follow a group of participants recruited for its Safe Passage Study, an existing project, as well as recruit new participants specifically for ECHO and overall will be responsible for monitoring around 4,400 children.