Making health visible at Mason’s Population Health Center
October 22, 2019 / by Mary Lee Clark
The Population Health Center at George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) is serving at the intersection of academics and medical practices, providing interprofessional clinical care for underserved populations in the Northern Virginia region.
“The population health center isn't just another center,” CHHS Dean Germaine Louis said at the center’s grand opening on Friday, Oct. 18. “Rather, it is designed to be where academics and practice meet so that each may inform the other. We need good science, empirical evidence and practice insight to effectively deliver public health.”
Located on the Fairfax Campus, the health center is the 10th location for the Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinics. It will include interprofessional care, population health research such as the Mason: Health Starts Here cohort study and professional and workforce development.
“I applaud [George Mason University] for focusing on interprofessional workforce development in this space,” Daniel Carey, Virginia secretary of health and human resources, said at the opening ceremony.
“When we make quality health services more accessible, we give people more choices when it comes to how they manage their own personal health and the health of their families. And that's an incredibly good thing,” said Carey. “Now, personal responsibility, yes, it makes a difference, but the choices that people have really determines the choices that they make.”
CHHS faculty Alison Cuellar, Caroline Sutter and Rebecca Sutter serve as co-directors of the Population Health Center to oversee the tri-part mission of public health research, training, and interprofessional care. Alison Cuellar will oversee faculty-led research initiatives, Rebecca Sutter will oversee interprofessional care delivery, and Caroline Sutter will oversee workforce development efforts.
The center is equipped with behavioral health rooms, exam rooms, multipurpose rooms and a community workspace. All spaces are telehealth ready and have the necessary technology allowing faculty and students the opportunity to connect with other MAP clinics and 10 rural health sites across Virginia, which will help increase access to both physical and mental health services.
“That will give us a network of about 22 sites that will be connected via telehealth,” said Rebecca Sutter.
The center received major support from multiple donors including Kaiser Permanente and the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation—both have dedicated workspaces named after them.
“I will close by saying how deeply grateful we are for creating a different kind of partnership with George Mason University,” said Celeste James, executive director, community health, at Kaiser Permanente in the Mid-Atlantic States. “We want to make this a reality that we can achieve better health outcomes, better life outcomes, and more prosperity for those who live in Northern Virginia.”
To learn more about the Population Health Center, visit their website at chhs.gmu.edu/PopulationHealth.