BOSTON – Boston Medical Center (BMC) researchers have established Boston Health Equity & community-Aligned Learning Health System (Boston HEALHS), a new program that will support comparative effectiveness research to accelerate enhanced health equity, patient care, and community engagement. Boston HEALHS will be supported by a $5 million grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). 

BMC is one of 16 medical centers across the country that received funding from AHRQ and PCORI to accelerate health equity research, enhance diversity in the research workforce, deepen community relationships, and implement innovations that improve patient care and clinical excellence. 

“This grant represents a significant opportunity for BMC to play a vital role in accelerating health equity research and understanding, which can be leveraged by hospitals and health systems across the country to address persistent health inequities and injustices,” says Megan Bair-Merritt, MD, MSCE, Chief Scientific Officer at BMC. “By implementing transformative and data-informed patient care approaches, we can take meaningful strides to address health disparities and support equitable healthcare outcomes for all patients.”

 “Learning health systems are committed to providing patients with higher quality, safer, equitable and more efficient care by applying evidence from research to promote innovation and systems change,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, M.D., MPH. “These efforts are advanced when health systems employ people with the skills to explore relevant evidence and produce insights that can be implemented in routine practice to improve care.”

Through this joint initiative, Boston HEALHS will leverage key learnings generated by BMC’s researcher community to optimize care and patient experiences and outcomes. Boston HEALHS provides a unique opportunity to train early and mid-career scientists in Learning Health System (LHS) competencies and patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) methods within a setting that prioritizes health equity, and conduct community-engaged, data-driven research informed by patients, community organizations, and health system leaders. 

The grant will also advance BMC’s ongoing work to build a more diverse workforce by providing training and professional development opportunities for scientists in various settings and by engaging community partners to accelerate research and care delivery systems. 

 “BMC’s research community is dedicated to furthering life-changing health equity research, enriching diversity within our research workforce, and strengthening community relationships,” says Michael Fischer, MD, MS, Chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center. “Boston HEALHS will bring together researchers, clinicians, and community members to develop research and care models that reimagine how care is delivered to our patient populations.”


About Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center models a new kind of excellence in healthcare, where innovative and equitable care empowers all patients to thrive. We combine world-class clinicians and cutting-edge treatments with compassionate, quality care that extends beyond our walls. As an award-winning health equity leader, our diverse clinicians and staff interrogate racial disparities in care and partner with our community to dismantle systemic inequities. And as a national leader in research and the teaching affiliate for Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, we’re driving the future of care.

About the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the safety and quality of healthcare for all Americans. AHRQ develops the knowledge, tools, and data needed to improve the healthcare system and help consumers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers make informed health decisions. For more information about AHRQ, visit

About The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is the nation’s leading funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). By comparing two or more health or healthcare approaches, CER generates evidence that helps people make better-informed decisions and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes. PCORI takes a holistic approach to its work, ensuring that patients and other health decision makers are engaged as partners throughout the research process, supporting dissemination and implementation of results in practice and strengthening clinical research infrastructure to advance patient-centered CER. PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress.

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