About Priority Populations
The Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-129) established an Office of Priority Populations within the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to conduct and support research and evaluation, and support demonstration projects with respect to:
- The delivery of healthcare within inner cities and rural areas; and
- Healthcare for priority populations, which include:
To that end, the AHRQ Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research (NOT-HS-03-010) requires that priority populations be included in all AHRQ-supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate. AHRQ emphasizes and encourages research on priority populations; however, research results lag in their ability to identify evidence-based solutions to improving healthcare safety, quality, efficiency and effectiveness.
Situated within the Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations, the Division of Priority Populations (DPP) coordinates, supports, manages, and conducts health services research on priority populations. Specifically, the Division:
- Advises the Agency leadership on matters pertaining to the health needs and health care of priority populations, including scientific, ethical, legal, and policy issues;
- Serves as an expert resource within the Agency on priority populations to assist program development, and participates in the development of policies and programs to implement the Agency's priority populations agenda;
- Conducts research including leading analytic projects focused on examining research questions related to the health care of priority populations;
- Fosters new knowledge, tools, and training related to priority populations by recommending, leading, coordinating, and conducting new initiatives;
- Assists in the development, dissemination, and application of Agency initiatives and programs to improve health care for priority populations; and
- Provides national expertise to Agency staff and Agency partners on priority populations issues, establishing and maintaining liaisons with other knowledgeable or concerned agencies, governments, and organizations.