Health Services and Research and the City

MK. Gusmano & VG. Rodwin
Ch. 16 in S. Galea and D. Vlahov, eds. Handbook of Urban Health. New York, Springer,

Health services research is, by nature, multidisciplinary, for it draws on the methods,concepts and theories of social sciences, which are relevant to the study of how the organization and financing of health services can improve the delivery of health care services (Gray, et al., 2003). While medicine and public health, too, are multidisciplinary enterprises drawing on such disciplines as molecular biology, physiology, anatomy, genetics, epidemiology and more, health services research departs from these disciplines in focusing not on the nature of disease and health but rather on the financing and organization of health systems.

So it is with urban health services research albeit that this field is more narrowly focused on health services in cities. The city focus has resulted in a large body of research on vulnerable groups, barriers to service access, public health clinics and community health centers. Likewise, it has led to important investigations of safetynet institutions, e.g. public hospitals and health centers, which serve a disproportionate share of uninsured and low-income patients. In addition, urban health services research has focused on a host of specific services associated with subpopulations suffering from TB, HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and other social pathologies that are typically associated with the "inner city."


Wagner Faculty