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A New Approach: Heartland Health Research Institute (Part 2 of 2)

HHRILast week’s blog, “A Bystander – No More!” has set the table for this week’s blog.

I have recently founded another organization with the vision to advance the transparency of facts through objective research and innovative solutions in the delivery and payment of health care. Our mission is to provide meaningful health care information to improve decision-making for consumers, employers, health care providers, policymakers and the general public.
The name of our new organization is Heartland Health Research Institute (HHRI).

Dr. Yogesh Shah

Dr. Yogesh Shah
Associate Dean of Global Health
Des Moines University

HHRI is a collaboration between Dr. Yogesh Shah and me. Dr. Shah serves as associate dean for Global Health at Des Moines University (DMU) – a position created to establish and increase international rotation opportunities, medical service sites and other global health experiences sought by DMU students. His passion includes improving the health of people around the world.

Dr. Shah is triple-board-certified in family medicine, geriatrics and hospice and palliative care. He is very involved through the World Health Organization (WHO) and was instrumental in making Des Moines a member of the WHO network of age-friendly cities. Dr. Shah led the creation of the Heartland Global Health Consortium, a collaboration of Iowa educational learning opportunities for students. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to develop a palliative care program in Rwanda. Dr. Shah was born in Mumbai, India.

Dr. Shah and I met a year ago while jointly working on a research project for Capital Crossroads. Through this interaction, we realized our passions about health care were very similar, and our seemingly disparate backgrounds are actually complimentary to one another. It was through our discussions that HHRI was conceived.
So what will HHRI do?
An ongoing need exists for objective, unbiased information regarding the local health care system, so that decisions affecting our system will be based on verifiable facts. HHRI was founded to conduct research and provide education focusing on a broad spectrum of health care issues. Topics covered are specifically from the patient’s perspective and measure patient confidence and trust in the health care system today and into the future.
HHRI will function strictly in an objective and unbiased manner and not as an advocate or opponent for any position. Frankly, we are not about advancing any particular political agenda, but rather, advancing factually-based evidence that will attempt to make sense out of this very complicated health care world in which we live. Topics addressed by HHRI may include:

  • Transparency in costs and outcomes
  • Quality of health care
  • Patient engagement and activation
  • Palliative care
  • End-of-life care
  • Employment-based health benefits
  • The value of health coverage
  • Population-based health
  • Attitudes toward health care reform
  • Identifying and understanding the unintentional consequences of public policies
  • Other tangential issues

HHRI is a knowledge-based organization serving Iowa and other Midwestern states, and will focus on:

  • Data to reveal major health challenges and opportunities.
  • Credible, reliable and objective research for decision-makers, policymakers, employers, media and the general public.
  • Exploring and presenting key health care issues with thought leaders from all sectors.

We want to provide understandable information that can be used to solve the problems our health care system suffers from today. Our work must provide clear results that will be applied to everyday decision-making by employers, employees, policymakers, media and the general public. Having a healthy, robust workforce and population is critical to the economy of Iowa and other Midwestern states.

In the future, I will continue to monitor the downstream of Our Health Care River using the annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study. With the advent of HHRI, we will now be able to move upstream and pursue critical issues inherent within our health care world.
HHRI is new and fresh and created to make a real difference. You will be learning much more about our work in the months ahead! Should you have further questions about HHRI, I encourage you to contact Dr. Shah or me.

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