Featured Blog Posts from Lab Members

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What we do

Written by John Heintzman


Health equity research, in many ways, is like an old family recipe for a favorite dish. Many people have very specific, and often vigorously held, ideas about exactly how it should be done. This passion and conviction is one reason why we love this field so much. It is comprised of passionate people of focus, conviction, and determination. In this inaugural installment of the PRIMER lab blog, we wanted to discuss our passion and conviction, specifically which piece of the health equity universe we choose to occupy. But before we do that, it is useful to observe that there are indeed many pieces of that pie, with the same goals (equity!!) but with different ways of seeking that out. Let us be a scientific community that has humility, equipoise, and thoughtful consideration about the methods we or our colleagues may choose to use, or not use.

The PRIMER lab focuses on the care delivered to Latino patients in community health centers, and we use a linked electronic health record dataset to do so. We have chosen this approach because we are most interested in how real-world care is delivered. We are also interested in equipping (priming!!) front line clinicians, staff, and community health workers in their work, by observing what goes on in their care systems as well as care systems like theirs.  We want to know how data from the clinic may correlate with data from communities, so that policy makers have better information about how community life and wellness affect health. And by using these electronic health records at scale, we fight to balance 2 ideas: using enough data to see clear, important patterns, but also analyzing outcomes that mean something to the doc, and the medical assistant, and the clinic director, and most importantly, the patient, every day. So people, in the long run, can be healthier for longer. That is why we do this. Thanks for reading.