Health services research is a multidisciplinary field of inquiry, both basic and applied, that examines the use, costs, quality, accessibility, delivery, organization, financing, and outcomes of healthcare services. The objective is to increase knowledge and understanding of the structure and processes of the healthcare system, and to assess subsequent effects on individuals and populations. Health services research draws on a variety of disciplines, and integrates their conceptual frameworks and methods to provide new ways of studying and understanding the health care system.
The Ph.D. Program in Health Services Research prepares individuals to conduct inquiry that will inform government officials, corporate leaders, clinicians, health plan managers, and others making decisions about complex health-related problems and issues. Students in the Ph.D. Program in Health Services Research learn to apply research methods and scientific knowledge to the study of health services organizations and systems.
Graduates of the Ph.D. Program in Health Services Research will find career opportunities in academic, private sector, and public service settings. For example, some graduates will combine research interests with a teaching career and accept academic appointments in a wide range of health-related departments in the nation’s colleges and universities. Other graduates will pursue health services research in the context of healthcare delivery and choose employment opportunities with hospitals and health systems, managed care companies, the pharmaceutical industry and consulting firms. Finally, graduates may pursue careers in government or other public service entities (such as private foundations), whose programs are increasingly dependent upon the findings and methodologies of health services research.
Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy
The program is located in the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy. In addition to the Ph.D. in Health Services Research, the department also offers an on-campus Master of Health Administration (MHA) program and the public health management and policy concentration within the college’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program.
The faculty in the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy span the range of disciplines necessary for multidisciplinary health services research. Specifically, we currently have seven full-time faculty members with expertise in the following areas: sociology, economics, finance, organizational behavior and management, and quantitative methods.
A partial list of the faculty’s current research projects includes: major surveys of health insurance coverage in Florida; evaluation of Florida provider-sponsored network demonstration project; quality of care and liability suits in Florida nursing homes; managed care and substance abuse treatment; capacity planning for VA trauma facilities; measuring hospital efficiency; hospital competition and guideline adherence; effect of advance directives on nursing home utilization and expenditures.
The University of Florida
The University of Florida is an excellent location for doctoral education. It is a major, public, land-grant research university that is the oldest and largest of Florida’s ten public universities. The University of Florida is classified as a Carnegie I Research Institution and is a member of the Association of American Universities. The University includes a remarkable breadth of Colleges, departments and programs that are germane to health services research, as well as a large number of related centers and institutes. Those of particular relevance to the program in health services research include the Institute for Child Health Policy, the Institute for Health Policy Research, the Institute on Aging, and the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
The College of Public Health and Health Professions
The College of Public Health and Health Professions is one of six academic Colleges composing the University of Florida Health Science Center, the major teaching and referral center for north and central Florida and southern Georgia. The other colleges include Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine. In addition to health services research and health administration, the College of Public Health and Health Professions offers programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation counseling, communicative disorders, clinical and health psychology, and rehabilitation science. The College thus provides an interdisciplinary setting for the Ph.D. in Health Services Research. Furthermore, the College is actively pursuing a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and has established the Brooks Center for Rehabilitation Studies that includes a significant health services research component.
Health Science Center
The program is located within a large Health Science Center that includes Shands HealthCare and the adjacent North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Administration Medical Center. This provides access to contemporary health services delivery activities that range from the most sophisticated tertiary and quaternary medical care to primary care offered in small towns and rural communities. Several departments and programs in the College of Medicine are active in clinical areas that are the current focus of outcomes and effectiveness studies. Other Colleges (particularly Pharmacy, Nursing and Dentistry) include related activities. For example, the College of Pharmacy includes graduate educational programming in pharmacy health care administration with emphases on pharmaco-economics and drug use decision-making. The College of Dentistry includes the Center for Research on Oral Health in Aging that has received substantial NIH-funded research in the area of dental health services, as well as a Division of Public Health Dental Services and Research.
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