Established in 1985 by David Mechanic, the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (IFH) facilitates collaboration among the social and behavioral sciences, clinical disciplines, basic sciences and related fields to promote research on critical population health issues. Currently, Dr. XinQi Dong serves as the director of IFH and brings together scholars across and beyond Rutgers into a vibrant interdisciplinary network that advances high quality research in core areas:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Health Economics
  • Social and Cultural Determinants of Health
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Violence Prevention
  • Health Disparities
  • Aging Research
  • State Health Policy
  • Health Services Research

IFH’s members have generated award-winning scholarship. A total of six current and former faculty have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM)) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).


The Institute for Health is composed of three major divisions, four centers, a community health collaborative, a research group, an undergraduate research training program, and a national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Center for State Health Policy Center for State Health Policy, Established in 1999, the Center for State Health Policy (CSHP) is a major initiative within the Institute to create a formal capacity for policy analysis, research, training, technical assistance, facilitation, and consultation on state health policy. With initial and continuous funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Center was conceived and operates in response to the devolution of significant health policy responsibilities to state governments. The Center combines Rutgers University’s traditional academic strengths in public health, health services research, the social sciences, and medicine with a strong set of applied research and policy analysis initiatives. Center faculty and staff work with various academic programs within the University to train tomorrow’s health policy-makers and health services/health policy researchers.

The Center for Health Services Research is directed by Stephen Crystal, Ph.D., a sociologist, and was initially funded through a Rutgers University Academic Excellence Fund. The Center’s research focuses on understanding the complex factors and processes that shape utilization of psychotropic medications to provide a stronger knowledge base for more-effective and safe use of medications and improved quality of care in managing the overall treatment of individuals with chronic health conditions especially severe mental illnesses.

The Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Sciences (PETS), Established in 2017, the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science (PETS) facilitates and performs innovative, multidisciplinary science related to the use and outcomes of therapeutics and diagnostics in large populations. Its mission is to advance pharmacoepidemiology and related fields by conducting world-class research and facilitating high-quality training. Core faculty members possess expertise in the study of therapeutics and diagnostics including the analysis of large databases, observational research methods and intervention studies. The Center brings together faculty from various schools, departments, and institutes at Rutgers as well as colleagues from academia, industry and regulatory agencies with expertise ranging from epidemiology, biostatistics, and biomedical informatics to clinical medicine, economics and the social sciences.

Project L/EARN is an undergraduate research training program that recruits students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, racial/ethnic minority groups, first generation college attenders, and those with an interest in health disparities to expand the breadth of health research with a broader range of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic issues, concerns and perspectives. The program is administered by Jane Miller, Ph.D. faculty director, and Diane Davis, B.A., program director.

The national program office of the New Jersey Health Initiatives Program , directed by Robert Atkins, Ph.D., R.N., is the national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to supporting innovations to create healthier New Jersey communities. Its mission is to build a Culture of Health enabling all population groups to lead healthier lives.


The principal mission of the Institute for Health is health, health care, and policy research. The faculty is actively involved in developing future scholars through education and training programs and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students. IFH faculty led an NIMH-funded postdoctoral training program in mental health services research for 35 years that concluded in 2015. The Institute draws on its rich faculty resources in the social and behavioral sciences, public policy, health services research, public health, nursing, social work, medicine, law, business, and pharmacy. The faculty teaches department-based courses in health including a Health and Society program in the Sociology Department that is available as a minor to undergraduates.

The research focuses on important and persistent health care issues that are informed by sophisticated theory and methods. A strong academic foundation is combined with applied policy analyses. The Institute disseminates relevant research information to policymakers, community partners, advocates and consumers and involves these groups in ongoing research. The Institute performs convening functions by bringing together state policymakers and administrators and representatives of the private and nonprofit sectors to discuss shared policy concerns. Together these strategies build a more integrated and effective health research and policy community.

Click here to access the Institute for Health’s Vision Statement: Institute for Health Vision Statement 2016