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New Health Policy Center

CU School of Medicine

10/6/2016

AURORA, Colo. – A health policy center that aims to improve integration in healthcare has been established at University of Colorado School of Medicine. 

The Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center, sponsored by the CU Department of Family Medicine and named in honor of a former chair, aims to develop and translate evidence into policy to advance comprehensive, integrated strategies that improve individual, family, and population health. 

The formal designation as a center was granted last month when it was approved by CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Donald M. Elliman Jr. 

Benjamin Miller, PsyD, director of the center and associate professor of family medicine, said: “Our expertise is focused on better integrating mental health and substance use throughout healthcare. We want to leverage innovation happening in places like primary care, and begin to intersect health policy with community-based prevention, workforce needs, and payment reform.” 

To advance health policy, the Farley Health Policy Center:

  • Conducts, evaluates, and disseminates relevant qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Convenes stakeholders and decision-makers to improve health and healthcare together.
  • Consults with communities, state and federal agencies, and foundations.
  • Educates, trains, and mentors professionals to develop a health policy lens for approaching research and practice.
  • Provides technical assistance for implementing strategies for integrated care in health and healthcare systems.
  • Fosters collaboration among inter-professional, interdisciplinary, and community-based teams.

Eugene Shedden Farley, Jr, MD, MPH, was born and raised in Pennsylvania, served in the U.S. Navy and attended Swarthmore College. He trained in general practice in Denver and, after two years’ exposure to population health on the Navajo Tribal Reservation in Arizona, he and his wife, Linda, opened a practice attached to their home in small-town Trumansburg, NY. 

Before starting the third accredited family medicine residency program in the country in Rochester, NY, Gene enrolled at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and earned his MPH, specializing in learning how others dealt with inadequate supplies and uneven physician distribution. 

In Rochester, he, Linda and others pioneered ways to train family physicians in the community. In 1978, Gene came to the University of Colorado as chairman of its fledgling family medicine department. Later he moved to the Wisconsin School of Medicine.

 “Gene made no distinction between primary care and public health, individual and community, the mental and the physical, or personal doctoring and community engagement,” Miller said. “Gene’s mantra was: Health care is a right, not a privilege. 

“The Farley Center builds off Gene’s legacy. We want to push for change throughout our nation, and create the healthcare system that we all deserve. We believe we can do this through evidence-driven health policy.”

In September, the Farley Health Policy Center announced that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had awarded it a $1 million grant to establish a mechanism to better address health policy and payment that can advance integrated healthcare. During the next 15 months, the Farley Health Policy Center will create communications products, such as videos and policy briefs; establish a network of technical assistance providers; and assess outreach efforts that are aimed at helping policy makers and providers, payers and philanthropies transition to practices that integrate mental health.