The center is among five honorees being recognized for innovations in health policy research and practice

The Center for State Health Policy, part of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, received the 2023 Research Pioneer Award from the Acenda Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI) for its nearly 25-year commitment to rigorous, impartial research.

Each year the AIHI presents Momentum Awards to recognize individuals and organizations using innovation and disruptions to advance behavioral health care and related research. The center is being recognized for its leadership in health policy research and evaluation and its ongoing work addressing population health and health equity.

“The mission of the Center is to use evidence to inform, support, and stimulate state health policy in New Jersey and around the nation,” said Joel Cantor, director of the center and Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. “And as part of the Institute for Health, we collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to produce high quality research that can be translated into policy action.”

Cantor, who accepted the award on the center’s behalf, is the principal investigator of the New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Launched in 2022, the study aims to improve the understanding of how life events and stress affect health and well-being throughout the course of life. The study will enroll up to 10,000 participants from throughout New Jersey, with an emphasis on historically disadvantaged groups, multigenerational families, and immigrant groups.

“Evaluating community needs, stressors and strengths, particularly among populations that have historically been understudied and underserved, is necessary for improving population health and achieving health equity for all residents,” Cantor said.

Fellow AIHI Momentum awardees include New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, i2i Population Health, the South Jersey Institute for Population Health and Inspira Health.

The Momentum Awards ceremony is available to watch on YouTube.