Brown’s work on public health, mortality prevention named Article of the Year for public health systems

June 18, 2014

Timothy Brown, assistant adjunct professor of health economics, won the 2014 Public Health Systems Research (PHSR) Article-of-the-Year award for his paper, “How Effective are Public Health Departments at Preventing Mortality?” The award, given by AcademyHealth’s PHSR Interest Group, recognizes the most notable scientific work that the field of PHSR produced and published in 2013.

The selection was based on his article’s contribution to the understanding of the public health systems, provision of new insights to the field of PHSR, and potential to advance the field and challenge current thinking. In particular this year, the PHSR Interest Group wanted to recognize research that shed light on the public health systems' contribution to population health outcomes.

In the award-winning article, published in Economics & Human Biology, Brown evaluates the impact public health spending has on mortality—showing that nearly 27,000 lives are saved as a result of every year of public health spending in California. While there has been research about the return on investment (ROI) for certain medical interventions and specific public health interventions, Brown’s study is one of the first to look at overall impact.

“Brown’s use of sophisticated econometric methods allows him to paint a more realistic picture of the impact of public health expenditures and lays the groundwork for much needed additional research linking public health investments to health outcomes,” writes Felicia E. Mebane, a member of the AcademyHealth Translation and Communications Interest Group Advisory Committee, in an Academy Health blog. “In particular, his model accounts for lagged, cumulative and short and long-term effects. Brown’s methodological decisions are well grounded and explained in this paper.”

Brown received the award at the PHSR Interest Group Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting, June 10-11 in San Diego. AcademyHealth is a national organization serving the fields of health services and policy research and the professionals who produce and use this important work.

By Linda Anderberg

Related information:
Health economist shows value in public health spending in California (March 5, 2014)