Population Health Metrics Research Consortium
Accurate, comprehensive information on population health is needed to inform planning, resource allocation, program implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Currently, there are major gaps in the available measurement methods and technologies to yield this information, making it difficult to address health inequities through effective policy.
The Population Health Metrics Research Consortium (PHMRC) was developed to wed survey design, primary data collection, analysis development, and novel diagnostic proteomics to provide tools for quantifying population health.
The PHMRC project collected data in the following five study sites: Bohol, Philippines; Andhra Pradesh, India; Uttar Pradesh, India; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Pemba Island, Tanzania.
The PHMRC project team represents a wide array of research interests and areas of expertise. Collaborating scientists include physicians, epidemiologists, health economists, demographers, mathematicians, biologists, and social scientists from the following institutions:
- Broad Institute (United States)
- The George Institute (India)
- Harvard School of Public Health (United States)
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (United States)
- Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (India)
- Muhimbili University of Health and Sciences (Tanzania)
- Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (India)
- Public Health Laboratory – Ivo de Carneri (Tanzania)
- Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (Philippines)
- University of Queensland, School of Population Health (Australia)
1. Develop methods to measure effective delivery of priority health interventions and mortality where vital registration systems are incomplete
2. Develop methods to measure cause-specific mortality in populations with incomplete or inadequate cause of death coding
3. Develop methods to measure the prevalence and incidence of major diseases
The PHMRC project team is developing methods that will allow for effective population screening for diseases based on complementary sets of biomarkers, or molecular barcodes, found in human blood samples.
The diseases being investigated include tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and diabetes. The PHMRC project team collected plasma samples from a research site in the Philippines and blood and sputum samples from the Dar es Salaam, Tanzania site, and is currently collecting plasma and sputum samples in Pemba Island, Tanzania. The samples are processed and analyzed by the Broad Institute for potential biomarker patterns. If this approach is found to be effective, it could be used in conjunction with population censuses to better understand the prevalence of key conditions.
In addition, the PHMRC project team is working to validate serological assays for representative bacterial, viral, and parasitic causes of diarrhea in developing countries and then prospectively evaluate these serological assays in field areas.
- Improve strategies for population health measurement and produce instruments that are science-based, standardized, and widely applicable across different settings. These instruments, paired with novel methods for easy-to-use analysis, will provide the tools needed to create a population health profile of an area in terms of mortality rates, causes of death, coverage of key interventions, and various health behaviors.
- Provide data and resources that will be the basis for rapid and effective field assessment of population prevalence of specific diseases and causes of death.
- Enable policymakers and researchers to address persistent inequities in health outcomes in both the developed and the developing world.
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PHMRC is part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative #13 to develop technologies that permit quantitative assessment of population health status.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation