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About CORE

The Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) is an independent team of scientists, researchers and data experts with a vision for a healthier, more equitable future. We work with changemakers and communities to take on today’s biggest barriers to better health – from the COVID-19 pandemic to the housing crisis and more. 

At CORE, we know that the opportunity for health begins long before illness. That’s why so much of our research focuses on the conditions in which people live, work, learn, and play. These conditions, known as the Social Determinants of Health, are a major driver of health outcomes and health disparities. We seek to understand and address these conditions and their driving factors, so we can build evidence that leads to meaningful improvements in health and equity.

For over 20 years, we've supported some of North America’s most innovative health care transformation efforts, like The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, the Life Experiences Study and the Tri-County Health Commons Project. We leverage that experience to help our partners connect the dots between research, innovation, and best practices. 

Our partners include health systems, state Medicaid programs, the housing and education sectors, community groups and more. We deliver research and insights that help shape and sustain healthier systems, policies, programs, and communities. Visit our partners page to learn more.

Mission, Vision, Values

Mission

To drive meaningful improvements in health and health equity through collaborative research, evaluation, analytics, and strategic consulting.

Vision

We work toward engaged communities, effective programs and policies, equitable systems, and healthy people.

Values

  • Equity: We believe that everyone should have fair access to resources, advantages, and opportunities to meet their needs. We apply this drive to our projects, partners, and internal practices.
  • Impact: We want our work to make a difference; we actively contribute to our field and share what we discover so it can be used to drive positive change.
  • Creativity: We use our imagination; we build on existing knowledge by seeking novel ideas and exploring new possibilities to solve problems.
  • Excellence: We seek to do outstanding work; we apply rigorous standards to deliver the best possible products.
  • Engagement: We collaborate with each other, clients and communities to design our work; we encourage active participation and involve a variety of stakeholders in what we do.

History

The Early Days 

The Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) was founded in 1986 at Providence Health System in Portland, Oregon with the goal of using data and research to make health care better. We initially focused on evaluating promising treatments and programs. However, as we looked deeper into the factors that shape health, it became clear that many of them operate through systems and policies that lie outside of what most people consider health care. To make a bigger impact, we needed to move upstream and look at how these larger forces interact with health care to shape health outcomes and health equity.  

A Focus on Policy & Systems Change  

Oregon has long been a health policy pioneer, and a series of changes to its Medicaid program in the early 2000s provided the perfect platform for our shift upstream. During this period, CORE’s research helped the state identify what was working and uncover what was not – including evidence that cost sharing structures were inadvertently causing many people to lose coverage. The state responded by changing its cost sharing rules, and for the first time we could draw a direct line from our work to real policy and systems change. CORE’s work in this area continued through our most well-known study, the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, which drew significant national attention and contributed to the evolution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a major shift in the U.S. health care system that resulted in millions of people gaining health insurance coverage.

A Move Toward the Social Determinants of Health  

Over time, our work in Medicaid and health policy—in Oregon and around the U.S.—led us to new questions about the root causes of poor health, how different historical and community factors intersect with health care to shape health, and how we could elevate our data and scientific work to address these complex and interconnected drivers. CORE is perhaps best known in this area for our housing is health work, which examines the foundational role stable housing plays in driving health and health care outcomes. Our work has also explored how food security, life experiences like trauma or economic deprivation, and stigma or discrimination shape health, while also examining emerging approaches for health systems and communities to address those intersectional challenges.     

The Need for Community-Engaged Research  

Our journey has both informed our scientific approach to understanding health and taught us important lessons about the limits of that approach for understanding health equity. There are many types of knowledge and expertise, and many types of evidence that should inform systems change. When we have worked in partnership with community members—especially those with lived experiences in the systems we are studying—we have ended up asking better questions, deploying richer methodologies, and developing better evidence and recommendations as a result.   

Bringing Evidence to the Point of Action  

Our work with communities impacted by health inequities has also taught us that evidence and ideas mean little if they aren’t accessible and useful for those who could benefit from them. That’s why, as our research practice has grown, we’ve also sought to expand our ability to help communities and stakeholders communicate and translate that research into lasting, positive change. Today, we help our partners bridge that gap between research and practice to both inform and inspire their work.  

Today – Building Evidence for Change  

As CORE’s vision has evolved, so has our team. What started as a small local research shop is now a multidisciplinary team of researchers, scientists, data nerds, and policy experts dedicated to using evidence to shape and sustain a healthier future in communities around the U.S. We leverage our experience and expertise to help our partners connect the dots between research, innovation, and best practices. We work to build evidence that creates a meaningful impact on health and health equity: from designing better policies and systems upstream to assessing and evaluating the best programs and practices downstream. We’re committed to infusing rigorous scientific research and analytics with authentic community engagement. And we continue working alongside our partners in health care, public policy, housing, education, and beyond to inform and inspire a healthier, more equitable world. 

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