Featured research projects at CORE

Our current projects get to the heart of health care transformation. 

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re working on now:

Housing and Health: Bud Clark Commons
Bud Clark Commons (BCC) provides 130 apartments and supportive services for some of Portland’s most vulnerable homeless residents. Over the course of four years, the Centers for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) reviewed Medicaid claims data of 98 residents to reveal whether and how health care utilization and costs changed after moving.

The Oregon Health Study 
This first study ever to compare health outcomes for people with and without health insurance. We partnered with researchers all over the nation to study impacts for those who were and were not selected in the Oregon Health Plan lottery. Did access to insurance improve mental health?  Did physical health, such as blood pressure or obesity, improve? Did people smoke less or get more exercise? Did they use health care differently?

The Health Commons Project 
Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) bring primary care providers together with behavioral and mental health providers, dentists, and public health experts to provide care for the whole person. These partnerships have created opportunities for innovative projects to provide more coordinated care.  In this study, we look carefully at five local projects that unite the Portland-area health care system like never before.

Case Studies of CCOs 
CCOs are local solutions to regional health challenges; since they’re local, they all look different. Nevertheless, all CCOs face one problem:  how to weigh the interests of individual partner organizations against the interests of the CCO. This study takes a closer look at the decision-making structures embedded within two of Oregon’s most promising CCOs.

The CCO Evaluation Project
CCOs are supposed to reduce health care costs while improving the quality of care and the actual health of patients. But can they do it? This study builds the first-ever typology for characterizing CCOs, and it compares outcomes for patients of 13 different CCOs in Oregon.

The Social Determinants of Health Project
What features in a neighborhood are most likely to be associated with positive health outcomes? Parks? Sidewalks? Your neighbor’s income? How many people live in each house? This project layers health data over environmental and demographic data to show what matters most when it comes to neighborhoods and health.

Lead Evaluator:  Kaiser/Providence Behavioral Health Initiative
Kaiser and Providence have partnered to fund initiatives that advance behavioral health in the context of health care reform. CORE serves as lead evaluator and technical advisor to the awardees. We’re learning what innovative methods of delivering behavioral health care might better serve those in need.

Lead Evaluator:  Kaiser Clinical Quality Improvement in the Safety Net Project
The Kaiser Community Foundation has funded projects to enhance clinical quality improvement capacity in the safety net. CORE is the lead evaluator on the project.  In partnership with awardees, we’re learning about innovations that will improve the quality of care in clinics that serve our most vulnerable community members.

The “Help is Here” Dementia Curriculum Project
Author Anne Hill and Providence’s own Marian Hodges, M.D., have written Help is Here, a notebook resource for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. They are now transforming the notebook into a curriculum for staff members at retirement communities. This project involves focus groups with staff members before and after the curriculum is implemented. We want to know if the curriculum is successful, and—if so—why.

The South Dakota Mental Health Needs Assessment Project
For this project, CORE will conduct a health needs assessment survey in South Dakota. The survey has an emphasis on mental and behavioral health.

The Take-Up Study:  Optimizing Enrollment Strategies for Medicaid Expansion
Many people who are eligible for public assistance don’t apply for benefits. This project examines the impacts of enhanced outreach on Medicaid enrollment, and also measures whether enrollment in Medicaid might have a specific kind of impact on vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.