Nurses walking through hall.

Columbia University School of Nursing Launches Center for Healthcare Delivery Research and Innovations

Center focuses on health services research to strengthen health care delivery. 

Columbia University School of Nursing has announced the establishment of the Center for Healthcare Delivery Research and Innovations (HDRI). The center will support cutting-edge research on health care systems in the United States and internationally, with the ultimate goal of expanding access to high-quality, safe health care.  

Lusine Poghosyan, PhD, the Stone Foundation and Elise D. Fish Professor at Columbia School of Nursing and a professor of health policy and management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, is the executive director of the new center, which currently provides training for five PhD students and two postdoctoral fellows. The trainees are studying care for high-cost, high-needs patients and those with dementia and multiple chronic conditions, as well as the delivery of mental health services in primary care and community health centers. HDRI’s faculty and affiliated fellows include scholars from Columbia Nursing, Columbia‘s Mailman School of Public Health, ColumbiaDoctors, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and other leading institutions across the U.S. and in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.  

Researchers at the new center are funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and others, and have received past funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, and other organizations.  

“Our research focuses on how to build effective health-care teams—communities in their own right—to take care of patients in critical situations and how to improve work environments in health-care organizations to promote and support teamwork and ultimately patient care,” says Poghosyan, a specialist in health policy and the health care workforce. “We also study how to optimally utilize the growing workforce of nurse practitioners (NPs) in primary care to ensure patients have access to timely, high-quality primary care.” 

This type of research is critical to expanding access to care, she notes. “The demand for primary care services in the U.S. is increasing exponentially, and the NP workforce, [which is] expected to almost double in near future, can help address this demand. But several barriers at the federal, state, and organizational level limit NPs’ ability to provide primary care. Our research seeks to identify these policies and barriers, particularly in how they relate to patient care and outcomes.”

In a five-year, $3.6 million grant recently funded by the National Institute on Aging, Poghosyan and her HDRI team are looking at racial disparities in care among people with dementia who receive care from NP practices.  

“Little is known about how to optimize primary care practices employing nurse practitioners, which often lack the organization and structure needed to ensure continuity of care and better outcomes for minority people with dementia,” Poghosyan says. “And there’s little guidance on how to improve access to community resources to help.” 

The center’s research will help answer these and similar questions and will guide policy changes to support nurses and the nursing workforce, according to Poghosyan. HDRI will also help investigators obtain research funding, and senior faculty will mentor and guide junior researchers as they develop their own research programs, giving them the support they need to be successful at Columbia Nursing and obtain tenure.  

“The spotlight has never shone brighter on nurses as leaders. HDRI will help build the evidence we need to support the nursing workforce, and nurses themselves, while expanding access to high-quality health care,” says Lorraine Frazier, PhD, the dean of Columbia University School of Nursing and the senior vice president of Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Other projects underway include a five-year grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to train nurse scholars on comparative and cost-effectiveness research and an Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research-funded study of social networks in medical homes and their impact on patient care and patient outcomes.  

View a complete list of the center’s research.