The Georgia Health Policy Center, established in 1995, provides evidence-based research, program development, and policy guidance to improve health status at the community level. The center conducts, analyzes, and disseminates qualitative and quantitative findings to connect decision makers with the objective research and guidance needed to make informed decisions about health policy and programs. Today the center is at work in more than 220 communities in all 50 states, helping our nation to improve health status.
Integrating research, policy, and programs to advance health and well-being
These values are the foundation and basic principles that influence our daily decisions and actions, helping us to realize our shared vision and accomplish our mission.
Adherence to Commitments – Whether it is a formal contract, a phone call request, or a handshake with a state official, a foundation officer, an advocate, or a team member, we honor our agreements in terms of quality and timeliness. We also recognize the importance of both personal and professional commitments and the need to have balance in our lives.
Continuous Learning – We recognize the evolving nature of our work and experiences. We learn from clients, communities, and each other. We are open to new ideas and approaches and want our work to reflect our emergent knowledge and experiences.
Effective Communication – While we conduct evidenced-based research, we recognize that policy change does not occur without effective communication. We strive to translate our work clearly and effectively in our personal communications as well as in newsletters, issue briefs, or journal articles.
Genuine Personal Relationships – We are present with one another and with our clients, engaged in honest conversation, speaking truthfully and valuing their input. Whether in the office or the community, at the local, state or national level, we seek to understand what people need. We respect the inherent worth of all people and value their dignity, talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and various ways of living. We also value diversity, humor, sincerity, authenticity and teamwork in our relationships. Our relationships foster an environment where effective communication and collaboration can occur.
Innovation – We strive to be an organization committed to innovative approaches to our work. We seek to partner with those who are intellectually curious and who desire to bring the “best of the best” to challenging opportunities.
Integrity – In our relationships with people and in our work, we are honest, credible, and truthful, and equitable. We are viewed as trustworthy and incorruptible in what we learn and how we translate information.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – We support our clients, stakeholders, and colleagues, and the communities in which they work, by developing their capacity to create systems and interventions that address health, social challenges, and inequities. We work to understand and address the root causes of outcome disparities within our society by seeking out and considering diverse perspectives and encouraging thoughtful dialogue focused on potential solutions. We believe that everyone should have an equitable opportunity to achieve health and well-being.
Service – We provide a service to others, which can be viewed as both customer service – understanding and responding to peoples’ needs and expectations – and public service for the greater good.
Amid an increased federal emphasis on health care policy during the early 1990s, many state governments launched initiatives aimed at identifying better ways to promote access to health care. Then-Gov. Zell Miller formed the Governor’s Commission on Health Care to advise on health care reform in the state.
In 1995, the work of the commission transitioned to the newly established Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC). GHPC, then housed in the College of Health and Human Services at Georgia State University, served as the research arm of the Georgia Coalition for Health, which represented consumers, providers, businesses, and government. Former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Jim Ledbetter served as GHPC’s first director.
In 1998, the Georgia Coalition for Health faded out of the spotlight, but GHPC remained active and found a home in the newly formed Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. The center remains active in health system transformation. GHPC’s initial areas of work — long-term care, rural health systems, and child health and well-being — developed out of the early Medicaid reform work with the state. From those initial areas, GHPC’s portfolio grew to also include projects in the areas of behavioral health, community health systems development, financing health, health in all policies, and population health.
Relying on a three-pronged approach of evaluating, translating, and implementing research, policy, and programs, GHPC draws on its cumulative learning from working with public and private organizations at the national, state, and local levels to continue to positively impact health at the community level.