Public Health

A focus on public health is the common thread running through all of PIRE’s work. Public health—the science and practice of promoting and protecting the health of people and communities—encompasses issues such as health policy research; community, environmental, and regulatory approaches to the prevention of health problems; and health services systems, among others. PIRE works across all of these areas, conducting basic scientific research on threats including drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, unintentional injury, and unsafe sexual practices, as well as development and evaluation of programs and policies intended to improve public health.

PIRE is a recognized leader in several areas of public health. Among our scientists are renowned health economists who conduct cutting-edge research on the return on investment of various health care models as well as societal costs of problems such as substance abuse and driving while impaired or without seatbelts. Additionally, PIRE is a leader in health disparities issues and culturally sensitive interventions and analyses, for example, using sensitive statistical models to examine variations in health by race and ethnicity; investigating acculturation and its impact on behavioral health; and researching barriers to health service delivery among minority and health disparate populations.

PIRE researchers also investigate public health issues such as:

  • Health access including health insurance and coverage
  • Patient advocacy
  • Effects of prevention strategies on healthcare utilization
  • Social and environmental influences on risk-taking behaviors
  • Interrelationships between substance use and mental health status

PIRE’s public health work—interdisciplinary and cross-cutting—demonstrates our mission of research to improve individual and public health, welfare, and safety.