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Growth of a Scientific Community of Practice

Public Health Services and Systems Research

      Background

      Public health services and systems research (PHSSR) is an emerging discipline that examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services.

      Purpose

      The objective of this descriptive study is to provide insight into the discipline's growth by examining the researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who are engaged in PHSSR and their expertise, sources of funding, collaboration patterns, productivity, and challenges.

      Methods

      A 27-item online survey was conducted and analyzed in 2010. It targeted 2067 individuals who had participated in PHSSR groups, meetings, and events since 2004. The response rate was 41%. Descriptive statistics characterized demographics, expertise and mentoring, funding, publication, and collaboration.

      Results

      Half of the community members became involved in 2004 or after. More than 40% of the community collaborates in some form. Challenges include knowledge distribution, an agenda to secure ongoing funding, and translating research evidence to public health practice.

      Conclusions

      A clear resource for the community is a nucleus of productive and engaged members who foster its growth.
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