CPPH is an Important Resource for Northeast Ohio and Beyond

Blending the brainpower and resources of KSU faculty, staff, and students provides a powerful source of assistance and knowledge for public, nonprofit, and private-sector organizations in Northeast Ohio and beyond. Under the direction of Dr. John Hoornbeek, the Center for Public Policy and Health (CPPH) does just that as it focuses on public policy related research and technical assistance. It also collaborates with the college’s Office of Public Health Practice to implement training programs.

The CPPH joined the College of Public Health in 2012 and hit the ground running, engaging in a number of notable public and private research and technical assistance partnerships.  Its work has focused in several areas, including public health management reform, program evaluation, environmental and water policy, and substance abuse and mental health. Dr. Deric Kenne serves as the Center’s Associate Director for Drug Research, and leads the center’s work in this latter area.

Examples of specific research and assistance projects undertaken in each of these areas are listed below.


Public Health Management Reform

  • Enabled the participation of multiple stakeholders involved with the Portage County Public Health System in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF)  National Shared Services Learning Community. This national project builds knowledge of the process and impacts of health department collaboration. Through this project, public health stakeholders in Portage County have undertaken successful efforts to enhance  public health services in Portage County, OH (project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
  • Assessed the feasibility of consolidating the Ravenna Health Department and the Portage County Health Department, and facilitated a merger of these two local health departments in Portage County, Ohio. The merger was completed in 2015 (project funded by the Ohio Development Services Agency).
  • Worked with officials from the City of Steubenville and the Jefferson County General Health Department to complete a feasibility assessment on consolidating their respective health departments. Discussions regarding a potential consolidation are now ongoing.
  • Assisted Marion County Public Health by researching local tax support for public health services and practices for managing carryover fund balances at the end of the fiscal year. This project culminated in a community briefing on this subject and two brief reports for Ohio health departments on funding local public health services.
  • Assisted the Ohio Department of Administrative Services with an analysis of the current use of collaborative health benefit plan purchasing by local governments in Ohio. This project also involved  creation of a resource guide to assist local government officials in making more effective health benefit plan purchasing decisions during a time of rapid change in health insurance markets
  • Shared insights on state level public health management reform with the State of West Virginia’s Public Health Improvement Task (PHIT) Task Force through an invited talk delivered for public health stakeholders throughout the State of West Virginia in September of 2015.


Program Evaluation

  • Assessed the impact of local health department consolidations in Ohio between 2000 and 2012, in cooperation with researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. This work resulted in the issuance of a report for Ohio public health stakeholders, speaking engagements to share project results in Ohio and elsewhere, and a peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health (Study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with support from the Ohio Research Association for Public Health Improvement (RAPHI), Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Kentucky).
  • Assessed the impacts of the consolidation of the Akron, Barberton, and Summit County health departments in Summit County, one year after the consolidation was implemented (project funded by Summit County Public Health)
  • Evaluated the strategic planning process undertaken by the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County (MHRSB) and the System of Care Planning Expansion team in Stark County, Ohio to improve the continuum of care and identify and address system gaps within the local community.
  • Evaluated a series of CDC funded programs in Lucas County, Ohio, including a program to assist low income  persons with chronic diseases using Community Health Workers (CHWs), a program to address under-nutrition in low  income areas by working with local corner stores to enhance  the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in these areas, and a program to  encourage housing complexes to become smoke free (project done in coordination with the KSU Evaluation Bureau and funded  by the Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention and the Hospital Council of Northwest, Ohio).
  • Conducted the annual evaluation of the Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready KidsTM  (SPARK) Ohio program, an early-childhood intervention designed to assist disadvantaged and at-risk families in preparing their pre-kindergarten (age 4) children for success in kindergarten.  The results of this annual evaluation, which began in 2007, in Stark County and has since expanded to 11 Ohio counties across the State, are used to ensure the program is properly implemented and to guide and inform enhancements to the program to more effectively serve families.  While the Center conducts the evaluation of the intervention, the program itself is managed by the Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) in Canton, Ohio.   
  • Assisted in oversight and development of the evaluative components of the Kent State of Wellness (KSoW) initiative at Kent State University, including assessing the impact and outcome of various programs and interventions developed and implemented to address eight focal areas that impact wellness of KSU employees and students: alcohol and drug use, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, preventive care, safety, sexual health and smoking and tobacco use.   


Environmental and Water Policy

  • Investigated efforts to control nutrient flows to Lake Erie in Ohio, and reviewed similar efforts in other states in order to better understand what is being done in Ohio to address the nutrient enrichment of Lake Erie and what can be learned from other states facing similar water quality challenges. The results from this work have  been shared with key environmental health stakeholders in Ohio and at the federal level of government (project funded by United States Geological Survey (USGS) and The Ohio State University’s Water Resources Center).
  • Provided insights on water policy challenges at the 2014 Kent State University Symposium for water stakeholders from throughout northeast, Ohio.
  • Delivered invited remarks on harmful algal bloom policies and water management at Fordham University Law School’s Symposium on “America’s Water Crisis” in New York City, NY in February of 2017.


Drugs, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health

  • Conducted research with pregnant or recently pregnant women in treatment for opioid use disorder to examine numerous factors, including mental health, substance abuse, contraception use and perceptions of various health services agencies that this at-risk population utilizes.  Results are being used to inform front line professionals and guide policy in an effort to improve services for this population.
  • Conducted annual survey of substance use, including electronic-cigarettes and prescription drugs, and mental health among college students.  Survey results are used to inform University administrators and develop and guide University policy and programming for students.
  • Directed Project AWARE Kent, a project funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to provide Mental Health First Aid training to KSU employees and students in an effort to raise awareness of and increase needed referrals for mental health and substance abuse disorders.  Project AWARE Kent includes an evaluation component to assess the effectiveness of the program, and a research component to examine factors associated with mental health stigma and variables that hinder or facilitate referrals for needed mental health or substance abuse services.   

Mr. Joshua Filla assists Dr. Hoornbeek and Dr. Kenne in managing the research and technical assistance work conducted by the Center. Mr. Filla serves as the Center Outreach Coordinator, and coordinates the Center’s day to day activities.  Other key faculty, staff and affiliates associated with the Center and its work include Dr. Peter Leahy, Dr. Jonathan Vangeest, Dr. Kimberly Laurene, Mr. Ken Slenkovich, Mr. Thomas Pascarella, Dr. Rebecca Fischbein, Dr. Lynn Falletta, Ms. Kelsey Hamilton and Mr. Matthew Stefanak. The Center and its clients also benefit from assistance provided by a number of students associated with the Doctoral, Masters, and Undergraduate programs in the College of Public Health at Kent State University.

If you are interested in learning more about the Center and its work, please contact Mr. Filla (jfilla@kent.edu or 330-672-7148), Dr. Hoornbeek (jhoornbe@kent.edu), or Dr. Kenne (dkenne@kent.edu)

POSTED: Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 3:42pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 9:25am