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Background | Organization | Mission  
The Institute for Health is composed of three major divisions, four centers, a community health collaborative, a research group, an undergraduate research training program, and a national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Division on Aging is directed by Stephen Crystal, Ph.D., a sociologist, whose research with faculty and other investigators aims to improve the economic, health status and other outcomes in later life and for those with chronic illnesses by examining their use of services and treatment, strengthening the integration of health services and the impact of health and social policies.

The Division on Health Policy is directed by Louise B. Russell, Ph.D., an economist, whose research on cost-effectiveness of prevention and other interventions and risk and risk factor modeling informs decision making on the appropriate allocation of resources in the health care sector. The Division’s research on decision science identifies the most effective and efficient uses of resources to improve health.

The Division on Health is chaired by Howard Leventhal, Ph.D., a social psychologist, who has developed a comprehensive program for studying health and behavior throughout the life span from a social, psychological and biological perspective.

The Center for State Health Policy established in the fall of 1998 with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a resource for research, policy analyses, teaching and consultation on state health policy for New Jersey and other states is directed by Joel C. Cantor, Sc.D. and executive director, Margaret Koller, M.S. Nationally recognized for its contributions to health policy decision making, the Center provides analytic expertise in Access and Coverage, Health and Long-Term Care Workforce, Health System Performance Improvement, Long-Term Care Services and Supports, and Population Health.

The Center for Health Services Research on Pharmacotherapy, Chronic Disease Management, and Outcomes is directed by Stephen Crystal, Ph.D., a sociologist, and was initially funded through a Rutgers University Academic Excellence Fund. The Center’s research focuses on understanding the complex factors and processes that shape utilization of psychotropic medications to provide a stronger knowledge base for more-effective and safe use of medications and improved quality of care in managing the overall treatment of individuals with chronic health conditions especially severe mental illnesses.

The AHRQ-funded Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics (CERTs), directed by Stephen Crystal, Ph.D., is the only center within AHRQ’s CERTs program that focuses on mental health treatments. The CERTs brings together outstanding research teams to provide the infrastructure necessary to address timely and important issues in mental health pharmacoepidemiology, safety, and outcomes research. The set of core research projects addresses questions related to the use of psychotropic medications in “real-world” settings. Significant partners are Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry, multiple state Medicaid, mental health, and child welfare agencies, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Center for the Study of Health Beliefs and Behavior, the "Mind/Body Center", directed by Howard Leventhal, Ph.D., a psychologist, is an interdisciplinary initiative integrating health, cognitive, and social psychology with clinical medicine, medical sociology and health policy to support studies advancing a biopsychosocial approach to mind-body relations in health behavior. Its theoretical and clinical models are developed to improve communication among practitioners, clients and families and to facilitate quality health outcomes.

The Greater New Brunswick Community Health Collaborative, directed by Jeanette Valentine, Ph.D. and Peter Guarnaccia, Ph.D., is a multidisciplinary program that engages diverse stakeholder communities as partners in biomedical, sociopsychological and translational research to advance population health and build health equity.

The AIDS Policy Research Group is led by Stephen Crystal, Ph.D. and James Walkup, Ph.D. whose research places HIV health services use and outcomes at the intersection of individual behaviors of the target population and the functioning of health care delivery programs.

Project L/EARN is an undergraduate research training program that recruits students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, racial/ethnic minority groups, first generation college attenders, and those with an interest in health disparities to expand the breadth of health research with a broader range of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic issues, concerns and perspectives. The program is administered by Jane Miller, Ph.D. faculty director, and Diane Davis, B.A., program director.

The national program office of the New Jersey Health Initiatives Program, directed by Robert Atkins, Ph.D., R.N., is the national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to supporting innovations to create healthier New Jersey communities. Its mission is to build a Culture of Health enabling all population groups to lead healthier lives.