The CHS’s mission is to improve health by advancing the measurement of, and knowledge about, the social, behavioral, medical and biological factors that influence individual and population health and ability to participate fully in society. CHS develops self-report measurement tools for use in population health monitoring, outcomes assessment and program evaluation. It also develops novel health improvement interventions for use in a variety of settings. In addition, it conducts multidisciplinary research into the complex pathways linking health and its social, behavioral, medical and biological determinants. CHS is also committed to working with clinicians and health systems, government, community and advocacy organizations, and industry to translate its research findings into practice and policy.
The research program of the Center’s director, Susan Parsons, MD, MRP, combines her training in health economics with clinical expertise in hematology/oncology. For more than 25 years, her research has focused on the functional and financial consequences of serious illness, principally cancer, on patients and their families. In addition to descriptive research on trajectories of health-related quality of life across the illness continuum, the team of multidisciplinary researchers is committed to the design and testing of interventions to support caregivers in their pivotal role.
One of the recent examples of this includes the integrated eHealth program, HSCT-CHESSTM, yielding salutary effects on parental emotional functioning for sustained users. Separately, researchers address the fiscal impact of critical and chronic illness in studies of total cost of care and cost-effectiveness, leveraging administrative databases, including SEER-Medicare, Medicare and the Massachusetts All-Payer Claims Database. In an ongoing study, Parsons and her team are exploring the impact of a financial navigation intervention on financial distress and health insurance literacy among young adult survivors of blood cancer.