Letter from the Chair
Although 2022 marked our 30th anniversary, we were too busy looking ahead to dwell on our accomplishments. Or on how much our world and our work have evolved. But they certainly have.
Our contribution to understanding clinical aspects of COVID-19’s prevention, transmission, and management has continued to grow (now over 100 publications, page 8). We also greatly expanded our research on the impact of the pandemic on the health of the population at large as well as on the New England population that Point32Health serves. This work has given us and Point32Health leadership a much clearer sense of the ability of many of our most vulnerable members to obtain needed care. Examples include people with behavioral health needs and those with limited access to broadband telehealth services.
Our work on health equity has also been an important area of emphasis, cutting across multiple domains that disproportionally affect low-income, racial and ethnic minority, and LGBTQ+ communities. Examples include HIV prevention, access to care, differential treatment, food insecurity, and the built environment.
We are particularly proud of the increasing number of research activities that we conduct in partnership with Point32Health personnel and our members (see page 16). Examples include exploring reasons that children are not fully immunized; addressing the drivers of obesity treatment; and testing means of providing additional support to families of members with dementia who are living at home. Our deepening engagement with Point32Health holds important opportunities for our research. And, we believe, for the welfare of Point32Health’s members.
These new and enhanced areas of applied scholarship complement the best-in-class research that has been our hallmark for decades. These include our partnerships with the Food and Drug Administration to monitor the safety of medicines, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent healthcare associated infections, with the National Institutes of Health to understand the long-term health impact of prenatal and early life diet and environmental exposures and to sharpen our understanding of the health insurance drivers of better outcomes for individuals with diabetes. Our partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to automate notifiable disease reporting and to monitor the health of communities provides a strong platform for improving the health of the entire Commonwealth. Our sustained work in these fields has made measurable differences to both national and local health.
Both our long-term activities and our newer ones are important components of our goal of contributing to the creation of a learning health care system — one that embeds the development of evidence in delivery systems and then fosters the broadest possible adoption of that evidence.
We were happy to return to in-person teaching of Harvard medical students and to continue our mentoring of medical interns and residents, clinical fellows, and graduate and post-graduate students. We have also begun a new program to reach out to high school and college students, particularly from underrepresented local communities, to encourage their long-term career interest in our work and in our Institute.
This progress has taken place in the context of our refashioning the way we work together. It is increasingly clear that most of us will work in our office no more than two days per week. Many of our employees, now in 15 states, work fully remotely, perhaps with occasional trips to Boston. This hybrid model of work puts special emphasis on making the best use of our time together.
Finally, I hope this annual report communicates the enthusiasm and opportunities we see for our next 30 years.
Professor and Chair, Department of Population Medicine
President, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute