National Center for Community Health Research (NCCHR)


The mission of the National Center for Community Health Research, a research alliance between the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and A.T. Still University, is to conduct quality research that considers the range of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors influencing health status; focus on underrepresented communities and vulnerable populations served by health centers; and address health equity by improving health, wellness, and well-being.

NACHC is a membership organization for community health centers nationwide. Founded in 1971, this non-profit organization promotes the provision of high quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care that is coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, and community directed for all medically underserved populations.

ATSRI NCCHR scientists

  • Joy Lewis, DO, PhD, FACP, Center Director
  • Eboni Anderson, DHEd, PhD
  • Jeffrey Andrion, PhD
  • Curt Bay, PhD
  • Meg Meador, MPH, C-PHI
  • Cheryl Modica, PhD, MPH, BSN
  • Kim Perry, DDS, MSCS
  • Debosree Roy, PhD

General Areas of Research

NCCHR research focuses on all domains relevant to social determinants of health for patients and communities served by health centers.

With a focus on the Quadruple Aim, the National Center for Community Health Research will promote research to improve and evaluate patient care experiences (including quality and satisfaction), population health, healthcare costs, and healthcare providers and staff work life at the level of the health centers and communities they serve.

Long-term Goals

The long-term goal is to employ an interprofessional, collaborative research approach to help develop a more efficient, effective health system that can promote health and wellbeing for individuals and communities served by health centers. The National Center for Community Health Research will work with health centers, local organizations, and community members to promote community-oriented primary care, oral healthcare, and community-based research focused on social determinants of health.

The overall goal is to improve health and well-being and promote health equity. Today, there are more than 1,375 health center organizations, with more than 9,300 delivery sites serving more than 24 million patients annually (1 in 13 people in the US); 48% of health center organizations are rural and 92.5 % of patients are low income. Health centers serve: 1 in 7 Medicaid beneficiaries, 1 in 7 uninsured persons, including, 1 in 5 low income uninsured, 1 in 3 individuals below poverty, 1 in 3 minority individuals below poverty, and 1 in 7 rural Americans of which approximately 13 million are CMS beneficiaries.

Current Projects

  • Million Hearts: Multi-Sector Collaborative Partnership to Advance Self-Measured Blood Pressure (SMBP) Monitoring Nationally.
  • Testing a model for improving colorectal and cervical cancer screening that embeds cancer screening improvement efforts within a comprehensive, evidence-based transformation approach (Value Transformation Framework).
  • Nationwide assessment of current vaccination activities and capacity to provide vaccination services in federally funded community health centers.

Recent Publications

  • Modica C, Lewis JH, Bay C, Macario E. Colorectal Cancer: Applying the Value Transformation Framework to Increase the Percent of Patients Receiving Screening in Federally Qualified Health Centers. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2019, May 24.
  • Lewis JH, Whelihan K, Roy D. Teaching Students to Identify and Document Social Determinants of Health. Advances in Medical Education and Practice. 2019(10): 653-665.