Our work

Oregon State University Center for Health Innovation

We serve as a responsive portal to expedite innovation in public health and human sciences. We value upstream thinking, data-informed decisions and the robust partnerships that are essential for practice-informed research and research-informed policy and practice.  

The work of the center falls into three broad categories:


Thought Leadership

We bring together informed views from multiple sectors to identify pressing issues, inspire innovative thinking and develop new strategies for improving population and individual health.   

Areas of work include think-tank summits around policy and practice, and development of ongoing partnerships with key industry, government, community and academic groups (e.g. academic health department partnerships).



Increasing behavioral and mental health capacity.
  • Issue: Oregon is in a crisis to meet its behavioral and mental health needs.
  • Impact: OSU can serve as a neutral convener of thought leaders to determine key issues and identify promising directions and practices.
Improving connections between primary care and community resources.
  • Issue: Many health issues of those seeking primary care relate to unmet needs in other areas of life such as housing, transportation or food security. Yet connecting people with available resources continues to be problematic.
  • Impact: Model community programs can lead to measured improvement in use of community resources that contribute to holistic health and wellness. OSU is seeking partnerships with health systems and CCOS to develop community or practice-based solutions to improve connections with a range of community resources.


Innovation Projects

We collaborate with internal and external partners to develop solutions for current and predicted future challenges to population and individual health.

Areas of work include evaluation, big-data analysis, translational science, community-engaged research, program development/intervention/evaluation, technological innovations (especially around aging and disability) and entrepreneurial start-ups.



Health technology
  • Issue: Entrepreneurs developing health-promoting apps seek our academic partnership to enhance product development and apply for additional funding.
  • Outcome: OCHI has connected more than six start-up app developers with expertise in OSU’s Colleges of Engineering, Science, and Public Health and Human Sciences. Two collaborations are now applying for funds for the next phase of product development.
Addressing the opioid crisis
  • Issue: When another CCO instituted a non-opioid treatment program for their enrollees, they partnered with us to evaluate the program’s impact.
  • Outcome: The resulting evaluation plan and process are being used to assess the effectiveness of each component of the intervention, inform the health system’s policies and consider broader marketing of the program.
Social media as a change agent
  • Issue: Socially minded entrepreneurs partnered with OCHI to recruit OSU students and colleges to help develop content for their social media platform.
  • Outcome: The platform (“Golden Acts”) was launched and includes content created by OSU’s 4-H Youth Development program.
Technology for independence
  • Issue: Technology holds great promise for people who are aging or have a disability and want to live more independently. Challenges lie in identifying those key problems where technology can contribute to greater independence at reasonable cost.
  • Impact: Targeted technology solutions can increase self-management, reduce cost of personal assistance or nursing care and support healthier aging. Cross-OSU research teams are interested in partnering with assisted living facilities, disability groups, rehabilitation professionals, geriatric care units and others.
Developing and scaling up evidence-based practices
  • Issue: Many current practices to address health problems lack an evidence-base. Researchers at OSU need community partnerships to test new interventions or demonstrate effectiveness of existing practices.
  • Impact: Partnerships can lead to increased utilization of evidence-based interventions based on research on implementation and cultural translation. 
Analyzing and displaying data
  • Issue:Big data” analysis in organizations requires adequate staffing and expertise to target analyses that inform decision-making.
  • Impact: Partnerships can inform decisions about investments for better health, particularly in addressing social and environmental contributors to population health. OSU faculty and graduate students are interested in engaging with organizations with interests in big data analysis and display needs.


Workforce Development

We collaborate with internal and external partners to strengthen the public health and human sciences workforce for practicing and future professionals.

Areas of work include public health and health career pathways/professional pipelines, online and experiential learning, and professional conferences and workshops.



Increasing workforce capacity
  • Issue: A Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) requested Community Health Worker (CHW) training with content and format for rural areas to address immediate and longer-term training needs.
  • Outcome: Within three months, the basic course was developed and approved by Oregon Health Authority. Faculty have delivered it continuously since then, responding to requests to expand to other parts of the state. Advanced modules are in development in response to demand from the CCO’s employer partners.
  • Website: Community Health Worker Online and Onsite Training
Promoting “upstream thinking” in health systems
  • Issue: A large health system recognized that despite numerous postdoctoral fellows in medical care, there was need for a postdoctoral focus on population health.
  • Outcome: Collaboratively, faculty established a postdoctoral position in public health services research and recruited a fellow within three months. In the first year of her two-year appointment, she has co-authored a significant study demonstrating that care navigators are highly effective in helping indigenous adults receive definitive diagnoses after cancer screenings.