HARP Research Project

Our Highlighting and Assessing Referral Program Participation (HARP) research project seeks ways to better integrate social services, public health and healthcare to improve patient outcomes and well-being.

In recent years, health care providers have recognized patient well-being depends on social and environmental factors not addressed by traditional clinical care — such as housing quality, food security, and poverty. To help address this, sophisticated data systems, such as NowPow, have been developed to enable health care providers to refer patients directly to food pantries, legal services, faith communities and other social services.

NowPow users can log-in to the community resource directory and referral platform to see what local agencies can best meet patients’ needs, immediately refer them for assistance, and then follow-up on results. Too often, however, community organizations providing these services are unable to participate in the referral process — leaving patients with fewer options for assistance.

The $346,500 grant will fund a study identifying barriers preventing community organizations from participating in these referral systems, and designing solutions to encourage and expand their participation so more residents can receive needed services. See HARP Update blogs below

The study will address three questions:

  • What are the facilitators and barriers to community organizations actively participating in Trenton’s coordinated care network?
  • How do these facilitators and barriers differ across organizations?
  • What engagement strategies would encourage them to participate?

THT is partnering with the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) on the two-year study, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The HARPP project was one of “just seven projects funded from more than 150 applicants nationwide.

Engaging more community partners in referral programs addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) is critical to improving patient well-being, said THT Executive Director Gregory Paulson, principal investigator for the study.

Co-Principal Investigator Caroline Fichtenberg, PhD, Managing Director for SIREN and researcher in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, sees the study providing information needed to reduce health inequities and create networks that effectively engage community-based organizations to address health issues beyond clinical care.

A Project Steering Committee, including Trenton community agencies and national organizations, will guide the research. The study is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as part of the Aligning Systems for Health initiative, which seeks ways to better integrate healthcare, public health, and social services to improve patient outcomes and well-being. See $2.4 million national grant announcement

BLOG: Early Milestones in HARP Research

New research by Trenton Health Team is seeking better ways to integrate social services, public health and healthcare to improve patient outcomes and well-being.  Already, this project has reached several key milestones. Read more