Tell us about your institution. What is the mission of the institution?
SIU School of Medicine (SIU SOM) was established in 1970 with a mission to educate physicians for central and southern Illinois. The mission of our medical school is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community. We do this through the Triple Aim + 1: health care that is more effective, efficient, equitable and enjoyable.
A new focus in Population Science and Policy is taking SIU SOM’s mission of improving health beyond the patient exam room to address the social determinants of health. By partnering with communities, SIU SOM is finding ways to improve the health of populations.
The Department of Population Science and Policy (PSP) is an interdisciplinary department at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU SOM). The Department works to understand the challenges of people in central and southern Illinois and provides innovative, sustainable solutions to improve health in rural and underserved communities.
The Department is divided into three divisions working together to improve health outcomes: Human and Community Development, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Health System Science. Human and Community Development focuses on a community-based participatory approach, mixed methods research, and implementation science to address the health needs of communities. Epidemiology and Biostatistics is a more traditional, hypothesis-driven division which collects, examines, and analyzes quantitative data concerning health outcomes. Health System Science focuses on forming and analyzing policy recommendations around health disparities in Illinois. All three divisions work with PSP’s education team to create a population science and policy curriculum to educate a new generation of physicians to practice through the lens of population health.
The Department’s ultimate goal is engaging communities, providing opportunities for improving health equity and creating sustainable solutions for residents in central and southern Illinois. Learn more at www.siumed.edu/popscipolicy.
Why did you decide to make the connection between your program and IAPHS?
The Department of Population Science and Policy (PSP) is one of the first departments at a medical school that focuses on policy health and science and one of very few departments that focuses on population health and policy. IAPHS allowed our Department to engage with other academic and healthcare centers with similar interests.
We’d love to hear more about the research your members engage in. What are some themes that run through the research in your program?
We have three distinct divisions within the Department: Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Human and Community Development and Health System Science. Epidemiology and Biostatistics main themes are sexually transmitted diseases, LGBTQ+ healthcare access, and opioid use. The main theme running through the Human and Community Development division is youth – with a primary focus on youth mental health is school and creating child-friendly cities.
Are there any recent research projects/grants/publications that you’d like to highlight?
PSP was one of only seven locations to receive a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to research sexually transmitted infections among people who use drugs in rural areas. This UG3/UH3 mechanism is wrapping up this year and is led by interim chair, Wiley Jenkins, PhD.
PSP received the National Rural Health Association Outstanding Rural Health Program Award for “Healthy Hillsboro” (2022) and the American Public Health Association Public Health Education and Promotion Section Health Equity Award (2019).
What makes your institution interested in interdisciplinary work?
SIU School of Medicine recognizes that interdisciplinary work is valuable especially working with patients and communities. PSP encompasses that mission with the three different divisions and faculty and staff with varying backgrounds including sociology, psychology, public health and public policy. Being able to view projects from different lenses give a richness to the research we do.
How would you like to see IAPHS support your institution’s interdisciplinary work?
PSP is always open to expanding our network and finding more collaborators.
Would you like to say something about who is answering the questions? How would the interested IAPHS members be able to contact you?
Amanda Fogleman is Director of Community Engagement and Senior Research Project Coordinator for the Department of Population Science and Policy. We can be reached at email@example.com.
Will you be at the conference this year? If the readers want to reach you, what’s the best way to contact you?
Wiley Jenkins, interim chair, will be attending the conference. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.