Ohio University

Heritage College faculty member to co-lead new hospital research project

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Berkeley Franz, Ph.D., assistant professor of community-based health and holder of the Heritage Career Development Endowed Fellowship in Population Health Science, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Ralph S. Licklider, D.O., Research Endowment, is one of two principal investigators on a new grant-funded research project that will examine how much community health benefit for-profit hospitals provide to the areas in which they’re located.

With support from an 18-month, $237,966 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Franz and her co-P.I. Cory Cronin, Ph.D., assistant professor of social and public health in OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and professions, will seek to collect data from for-profit hospitals on programs they provide to benefit their communities. This topic has not been studied extensively, because unlike nonprofit hospitals, for-profits are not required to report information on such programs to the Internal Revenue Service.

“I think we’re going to contribute to this larger field of understanding what institutions offer to their surrounding communities,” Franz said. “This is a big part of urban sociology, trying to understand what the benefit is of having big employers or organizations in a community. I think we’re going to add to that by talking about for-profit hospitals, and we’ll make that data available so we can understand what’s happening and also encourage more hospitals to do more of this work that we know is important in terms of improving health disparities and population health.”

Read more about this new research project.