Signature Areas and Research Expertise

Signature Areas and Research Expertise

College of Health's Office of Research

The college has established five Signature Research Areas that span the expertise and disciplines of the faculty in our College and collectively impact population health in communities across Oregon and beyond.

Faculty bring exceptional training and expertise in research methodologies and statistical approaches that cross cut all of the signature areas and contribute to our robust and outstanding research programs.

More specifically, researchers have expertise in program evaluation; intervention and dissemination; community-based research; quantitative and qualitative data collection methods; biostatistical modeling; longitudinal analyses; epidemiological methods and analyses; and health services research including economic and policy analyses.

The signature areas include the following:

Health systems reform and health policy

Within this signature area researchers examine the impact of health reforms (e.g., Medicaid Expansion and Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) on the health of Oregonians). They study system impacts on population mental health and health systems approaches to reducing psychiatric emergency department visits. Other foci include predictors of health care utilization, measuring and improving the quality of health care, global health systems and governance, and equity in health and health care.

Healthy developmental processes and transitions across the lifespan

An important and growing research emphasis in our College is the study of healthy development across the lifespan. Foci include child care and early education; school readiness; building resilience and self-regulation in young children; stress, coping, and emotional regulation in later life; optimal aging; and caregiving.

Impact of environmental and occupational hazards on human health

Faculty study the health impacts of exposure to air and water pollution, environmental contaminants including methylmercury, the built environment, urban green space, and climate change. Other researchers measure factors related to disease and injury and develop interventions to create healthy communities and workplaces. Using a variety of bioinstrumentation researchers also conduct both laboratory and field-based research to investigate musculoskeletal injury in various work place environments.

Optimal health through nutrition and physical activity

Within the area of nutrition we have particular expertise in bone metabolism and improving bone health, metabolic disease prevention, nutrient-gene interactions, dietary influences on atherosclerotic heart disease and cancer prevention, obesity reduction and prevention, nutritional epidemiology, nutrition and food service, and food insecurity. Foci in physical activity include motor skill development in young children, disabilities and adapted physical activity, biomechanics and injury prevention, and physical activity and sedentary behavior assessment.

Predictors and consequences of chronic diseases and the promotion of healthy behaviors

Faculty have expertise focused on the predictors, treatment, and prevention of chronic diseases including but not limited to diabetes; cardiovascular disease; colorectal, breast, and childhood cancers; and obesity. Researchers also examine the etiology of diseases and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, prevention of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and the reduction of use of new and emerging tobacco products. Others focus on health literacy and health information to promote adoption of healthy behaviors.