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One of the nation’s founding programs in surgical health services research, the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH) is a leader in the science of surgical care delivery, producing research that informs policy and program development for safe, high quality, and equitable patient-centered care. Founded in 2005 as a joint initiative of Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, CSPH brings together multidisciplinary expertise and diverse collaborators at the intersection of surgery and public health. Utilizing innovative research methodologies grounded in clinical reality, we have developed surgical safety checklists, created a national agenda for surgical disparities research, and launched the pioneering work of rising stars in surgical health services research. From national data sets to patient focus groups, CSPH leverages the power of data and integrates the voices of patients and providers to transform how healthcare is delivered in the U.S. and around the world. We are advancing the science of surgical care delivery by studying effectiveness, quality, equity, and value at the population and patient level.


At the CSPH, our research is unified by a focus on patient-centered care that is safe, effective, and equitable. We utilize qualitative and quantitative research methods to paint a fuller picture of the healthcare delivery system, bringing together patient- and population-level data. These research methodologies provide the infrastructure for our interdisciplinary research programs.


CSPH Health Policy & Practice focuses on the evaluation of questions and outcomes that are meaningful and important to patients and caregivers, and crafting policies that are respectful and representative of these individual patient preferences.

  • Conducting national, multisite mixed method study to identify barriers, facilitators, and outcomes of Advanced Care Planning, including examination of unique needs of patients with dementia
  • Multisite project studying the feasibility of transmitting Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs) from clinical Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems to insurance claims to promote transparency for patients, allowing timely warning in case of an implant’s defect or failure, and support evaluations of device effectiveness
  • Leading a national expert consensus process to define hospital-level metrics indicating disparities in access, treatment and outcomes to guide quality improvements
  • Studying long-term functional and psychosocial outcomes of trauma patients (FORTE) and identifying potential opportunities for intervention
  • Identifying and ranking research priorities in long-term functional outcomes and injury prevention as part of the National Trauma Research Action Plan (NTRAP) multi-institutional collaboration
  • Designing and testing effectiveness and retention of bystander hemorrhage control training
  • Understanding the role of healthcare practitioners in preventing and mitigating firearm injury
  • Developing and testing interventions to improve mortality and morbidity resulting from emergency general surgery procedures

Research in this area focuses on improving care for traumatically injured geriatric and seriously ill patients, with an emphasis on integration of palliative care and shared decision-making.

  • Collecting patient-reported outcome measures for older Emergency General Surgery (EGS) patients with secondary data analysis to describe the 12-month healthcare trajectory and hospice utilization among older trauma and EGS patients
  • Identifying best practice guidelines for older injured adults
  • Developing Quality of Life and functional measures for older patients and incorporating them into the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP)
  • Conducting qualitative research study on patient-perception of shared decision making prior to traumatic surgery
  • Developing and studying the implementation of a Non-Technical Skills for Surgery (NOTSS) curriculum in variable-resource settings to improve surgical safety and quality
  • Studying surgical site infections, antimicrobial resistance, and cesarean section delivery in rural Rwanda to improve postoperative care
  • Coordinating surgical faculty for the Rwanda Human Resources for Health Program (2012-present)
  • Analyzing global indicators for access to essential surgical care in the U.S. and Mexico

The Surgical Culture Program aims to improve patient outcomes by understanding how the non-technical skills of surgeons and surgical teams affect performance in and out of the OR.

  • Developing simulation-based countermeasures to mitigate team and system vulnerabilities during medical event management on long duration space missions
  • Conducting a multicenter trial at academic medical centers across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating the effectiveness of a novel curriculum called the Provider Awareness and Cultural Dexterity Toolkit for Surgeons (PACTS) in improving surgical residents’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills in caring for patients of different cultural backgrounds
  • Conducting mixed methods study of the experience of women during surgical residency, including pregnancy and parenthood

This program aims to improve the value and effectiveness of cancer care by identifying drivers of high and low-value care. We focus on policy and health systems-based changes to better understand how to improve access to high-quality cancer care that makes a difference, including:

  • Studying racial disparities in screening, treatment, and outcomes for different cancers, including bladder, prostate, and colorectal
  • Evaluating the relationship between health literacy, shared decision-making policies, and cancer screening
  • Analyzing the impact of accountable care organizations on cancer screening and costs of cancer care
  • Assessing how the ACA has impacted cancer screening and detection of early stage cancers
  • Studying cost-effectiveness of innovative technologies

Research Staff

Melissa Poleo, MS (Administrative Director)
Molly Jarman, PhD, MPH
Amanda Reich, PhD, MPH
Gezzer Ortega, MD, MPH
Pablo Tarasicio Uribe-Leitz, MD, MPH

Juan Herrera-Escobar, MD, MPH
Masami Kelly, MA
Esther Moberg, MPH
Junaid Nabi, MD
Emma Reidy, MPH

Wendy Williams, JD
Rebecca Doucette, MSW
Rachel Murphy, MPH
Ginger Jin, MS
Adoma Manful, MPH

Christina Sheu
Jeenn Barreiro-Rosado
Vanesssa Roxo
Stephen Perez

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