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AHRQ Annual Report on Research and Management, FY 2002

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Appendix A. AHRQ's Organizational Structure

AHRQ has ten major components. They are:

  • Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. COER conducts and supports studies of the outcomes and effectiveness of diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services and procedures. Acting Director: Heddy Hubbard, M.P.H., R.N.
  • Center for Primary Care Research. CPCR conducts and supports studies of primary care and clinical, preventive, and public health policies and systems, including the effective application of information technology in health care. Director: Helen Burstin, M.D., M.P.H.
  • Center for Organization and Delivery Studies. CODS conducts and manages studies of the structure, financing, organization, behavior, and performance of the health care system and providers within it. Director: Irene Fraser, Ph.D.
  • Center for Cost and Financing Studies. CCFS conducts and supports studies of the cost and financing of health care and develops data sets to support policy and behavioral research and analyses. Director: Steven B. Cohen, Ph.D.
  • Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. CQUIPS conducts and supports research on the measurement and improvement of health care quality, including surveys regarding people's experiences with health care services and systems and research related to patient safety and medical errors. Acting Director: Marlene Miller, M.D., M.Sc.
  • Center for Practice and Technology Assessment. CPTA directs the evidence-based practice program, consisting of: (1) the Evidence-based Practice Centers that develop evidence reports and technology assessments; (2) the Internet-based National Guideline Clearinghouse® ; (3) the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™; (4) the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; and (5) research and evaluation on translating evidence-based findings into clinical practice. CPTA also is responsible for research on the assessment of medical technologies, including conducting and sponsoring technology assessments to assist decisionmaking in other agencies. Director: Robert Graham, M.D.
  • Office of Priority Populations Research. OPPR coordinates, supports, manages, and conducts health services research on priority populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, women, children and adolescents, the elderly, people with special needs (disabilities, chronic illness, end-of-life issues), low-income populations, and those from inner-city and rural (including frontier) areas with health care delivery issues. Acting Director: Carolyn Clancy, M.D.
  • Office of Management. OM directs and coordinates Agency-wide administrative activities, including human resources, financial management, grant and contract management, information resources management, and other support services. Acting Director: Bruce Immerman.
  • Office of Research Review, Education, and Policy. ORREP directs the scientific peer review process for grants and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts, assigns projects to Agency components, plans and manages Agency health services research training and career development programs, develops and implements Agency policies and procedures regarding extramural research programs, and evaluates the scientific contribution of proposed and ongoing research, demonstrations, and evaluations. Director: Francis D. Chesley, Jr., M.D.
  • Office of Health Care Information. OHCI designs, develops, implements, and manages programs for disseminating the results of Agency activities, including public affairs, print and electronic publishing and dissemination, reference services, research translation and synthesis, and liaison activities with State and local health policy officials. Director: Christine G. Williams, M.Ed.

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Appendix B. AHRQ's Organizational Chart, FY2002

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Appendix C. National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality

The National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality provides advice and recommendations to AHRQ's Director and to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on activities to enhance the quality of health care, improve health care outcomes and access to care, and reduce the costs of health care services.

The 21-member council includes at least 17 private-sector experts who bring a varied perspective to the council. The private-sector members represent health care plans, clinicians, purchasers, consumers, and researchers.

Also serving as members of the council in an ex-officio capacity are the Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS, and representatives from seven Federal agencies that address health care issues: the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Department of Defense (Health Affairs) (DoD); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration).

The council advises the Director of AHRQ and the Secretary of HHS on:

  • Priorities for health care research, especially studies related to quality, outcomes, cost, use of health care, and access to care.
  • Training needs in the field of health care research and dissemination of information about health care quality.
  • AHRQ's role in each of these areas in light of private-sector activity and opportunities for public-private partnerships.

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Appendix D. AHRQ's Research Continuum

AHRQ's activities fall into the following three areas, which provide the steps needed to achieve the Agency's mission and goals:

  1. New research on priority health issues. In this area, the Agency supports new research to answer important questions about what works in health care. The effort helps build the essential knowledge base to help us understand the determinants of the outcomes, quality, accessibility, and costs of care, as well as identify instances when care falls short of achieving its intended outcomes.
  2. New tools and talent for a new century. This involves development of tools to apply the knowledge gained through the investment in new research. Here, the work of researchers is applied, and the effort begins to translate this new knowledge into instruments for measurement, databases, informatics, and other applications that can be used to assess and improve care. In addition, AHRQ provides training for the individuals who conduct this research and those who use it to build an effective and talented cadre of health services researchers and a strong research infrastructure.
  3. Translating Research into Practice. Here is where all of the previous investment comes together. Research from the first area and the tools developed in the second area are translated into resources to close the gap between what we know and what we can do to improve health care quality. In this area, we fund research and demonstrations to translate the knowledge and tools into measurable improvements in the care Americans receive. We also develop partnerships with public- and private-sector organizations to disseminate the knowledge and tools for use throughout the health care system.

This third category is a central focus of the agency through our Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) initiative aimed at implementing evidence-based tools and information in diverse health care settings among practitioners caring for diverse populations. The theme of translating research into practice is woven throughout all the initiatives undertaken by AHRQ in FY 2001.

In order to produce meaningful contributions to health care, AHRQ must set and monitor priorities, develop research initiatives based on those priorities, and keep a close watch on the processes and products that result from Agency-supported research. Four processes are involved in the AHRQ research cycle: needs assessment, knowledge creation, translation and dissemination, and evaluation.

  • Needs assessment. AHRQ's activities begin and finish with the end-users of our research. Our research agenda is based on an assessment of gaps in the knowledge base and the needs of patients, clinicians, health care managers, institutions, plans, purchasers, and State and Federal policymakers for evidence-based information. Needs assessment helps us shape the research initiatives undertaken by the Agency.
  • Knowledge creation. AHRQ continues to support and conduct research to produce the knowledge needed to improve the health care system in the coming years.
  • Translation and dissemination. Simply producing knowledge is not enough. Findings must be presented in ways that are useful and made widely available to clinicians, patients, health care managers, and other decisionmakers. AHRQ synthesizes and translates knowledge into products and tools that help our customers solve problems and make decisions. We are proactive in our dissemination of the knowledge, products, and tools to appropriate audiences, and we form partnerships with other organizations to leverage our resources.
  • Evaluation. To assess the ultimate outcomes of AHRQ research, we evaluate the impact and usefulness of Agency-supported work in health care settings and policymaking. This involves a variety of evaluation activities, including smaller, short-term projects that assess processes, outputs, and interim outcomes to larger, retrospective projects that assess the ultimate outcomes and impact of AHRQ activities on the health care system.

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Current as of February 2003
AHRQ Publication No. 03-0013

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