A driving force for health equity

Grow with OCHIN Research

By Carrie Tillotson, Biostatistician

OCHIN Research is growing, and we want you to join us! Read on to learn more about OCHIN Research, our priority areas of interest, and how you can get involved.

OCHIN’s research department officially began in 2011 with four large research projects. We’ve grown since then! Currently, the department supports 34 funded grants and employs 37 health researchers working across research priority areas from health systems and practice transformation, to health policy and social determinants of health. OCHIN collaborates with the nation’s top research institutes, foundations, academic centers, and mission-driven health care organizations.

OCHIN Research is particularly interested in key research topics such as cardiovascular disease, HIV & infectious disease, diabetes, reproductive health, sexual orientation and gender identity, mental health, chronic pain and opioids, and obesity.

So what does all this have to do with you? OCHIN Research is looking to get more members involved in all areas of the research pipeline, from idea development, to grant proposals, and funded projects.

Here are a few ways you can get involved in OCHIN Research:

·        Interested in exploring and developing a new research idea?
Join the OCHIN Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) meetings. The OCHIN PBRN meetings are open to all providers in the OCHIN collaborative. The PBRN's mission is to encourage research with the potential to directly benefit safety net patients and providers, to develop and improve OCHIN's data resources for research purposes, to partner with interested researchers, and to translate findings into practice. Meetings for 2019 take place January 15, May 21, and September 17 from 7:30 to 8:30 am PT. Contact Anna Templeton to join the mailing list.

Join the Health Disparities Collaborative Research Group (CRG). PCORNet developed the CRGs to bring together experts from across research networks and the country to accelerate research to improve healthcare. The Health Disparities CRG specifically focuses on research in social determinants of health and the promotion of health equity for vulnerable populations, especially sexual orientation and gender identity minorities and racial and ethnic minorities. Contact William Pinnock to join the CRG.

·        Have patients who want to get involved in research?
Tell them about our Patient Engagement Panel (PEP)! In 2012, OCHIN’s Patient Engagement Panel was established to integrate meaningful patient voices into OCHIN’s overall research strategy, current projects, and throughout the development of research proposals. Patients bring important experience, perspective, and insight to health care and health care research. The PEP is a group of patients that works with policymakers, care providers, and researchers to make sure patient voices are included and heard in the design, conduct, and sharing of research findings. Meetings are every four months (February, June, and October) on the third Wednesday of the month from 5:30 to 7:30 pm PT at the OCHIN offices. Patients and providers can learn more on our ADVANCE research network website, or email Mary Frances Ritchie  to get more information or join the PEP.

·        Ready to pursue grant funding for your research idea in collaboration with OCHIN?
Contact the Front Door. The research department’s Front Door refers to the review and approval process that all new research opportunities undergo to ensure they are each thoroughly considered in the context of our research and OCHIN’s organizational mission and priorities.

o   Considerations: Every opportunity going through the Front Door will need to identify the specific aims of the proposal and a funding mechanism.

o   Every study is unique: We typically ask that you allow approximately 60-90 days for us to fully vet and develop your proposal. This time period runs from the delivery of draft aims to the time you’ll need partner materials returned to your institution. We use this time for proposal vetting, engagement of our stakeholder groups, approval from our leadership, preparatory-to-research data work, proposal development, scoping, and budgeting.

·        Want to lead or take part in leading a study, but not sure what roles are available?
Clinicians can lead or join study teams based on availability, interest, and experience. Clinician investigators help lead grant proposals and can serve as a lead investigator or site-lead on funded projects. Clinicians can also serve as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to advise on proposal development or the conduct of funded projects—especially those that include new tools, workflows, or other changes related to EHR use or a particular health condition. Many studies include a clinician advisor which focuses on strategic, practical input to make sure studies do not overburden folks taking part and that the findings from our research are useful and successfully shared in clinical settings.

·        Want to get involved in projects that are already happening?
We frequently recruit OCHIN member practices to take part in funded studies. Recruitment is conducted within the operational structure of OCHIN member services – beginning at the health organization (e.g. health center) level for any study with practice, provider, or patient participation. Recruitment is facilitated by an experienced OCHIN Community Research Associate who liaises with individual study teams, member-facing OCHIN teams (e.g. practice facilitation, account management), and member organizations regarding recruitment needs. If you are interested in taking part in currently-funded and actively-recruiting studies, please contact Anna Templeton.


The opportunities to get involved with OCHIN Research are practically unlimited! If you have questions or would like to talk with someone about getting involved, please contact research@ochin.org