Community-Based Population Health Research: A Report from the Field

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Trina Thompson, DrPH, MPH, BSN, is Executive Director of the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health in Johnstown PA, which opened the Center in February, 2017. Dr. Thompson has interests in assessing the effectiveness of evidence-based urban public health strategies in rural communities, improving access to care especially using telehealth, the impact on health outcomes by meeting social determinants of health gaps, and community based research that directly improves health outcomes.

Marquita Decker-Palmer, MD, MPH, PhD came to Jefferson in September of 2017 after completing a PhD at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical & Translational Research. She is a physician and population health researcher with a focus on health economics. In her role as Associate Director and Research Assistant Professor at the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health, she works to identify and evaluate effective health programs in underserved areas.

Sharon Larson, PhD, assumed the role of Executive Director of the Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in August 2017 Dr. Larson brings interests in behavioral health, measurement strategies and statistical methods with particular emphasis on survey methods and mixed methods approaches, patient reported data and more generally health care access and utilization. She is also interested in the development of a community health laboratory to learn from community members and strategize about how to collect and use data in partnership with health care providers and community members to improve the health of communities is a particular passion and vision for the future.

Norma Padron, PhD, MPH is Associate Director at the Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, and Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health. Her research agenda aims to identify methodological strategies in which the use of large (open) datasets can be used to improve the design, implementation and evaluation of population health strategies for health systems.


This Forum, “Community-Based Population Health Research: A Report from the Field” highlights the work of 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health and Mainline Center for Population Health Research. Leaders from both research centers provide an overview of the history and purpose of the centers and describe accomplishments and current initiatives.


  • Describe two innovative models for population health research centers
  • List three benefits of partnering with a University when establishing a population health center
  • Characterize challenges associated with the development of community-engaged and health system embedded, population health research centers

Presentation: 49:18