Global Health Initiative

RAND Global Health: Conducting research and analysis to improve health policy and systems worldwide

Today, health and global wellbeing are inextricably intertwined. Nations around the world face similar challenges in providing access to high-quality, comprehensive, cost-effective medical care. The rapid spread of new and emerging infectious diseases and their potential use as terrorist agents grab headlines around the world, while in many regions, economic, political, and social development is hampered by poor health and poor health care. At the same time, health represents an area of shared human values through which constructive engagement, relatively neutral to religion, culture, and politics, is possible. RAND Global Health supports the development of health systems and good health policy in the global community by analyzing, modeling, measuring, and developing policy options for public- and private-sector entities in the United States and around the world. Our activities include:

  • Providing strategic analysis and technical assistance worldwide to support health systems development and to answer challenging health policy questions in the areas of:
    • quality of care
    • health care financing
    • health information technology
    • public health and health care infrastructure
  • Strengthening regional public health and emergency preparedness and response around the world
  • Developing models, metrics, processes, organizations, and tools for improving national, regional, and global health
  • Identifying ways in which health can contribute to foreign policy development and nation-building.

What We Do

RAND Health has helped shape private- and public sector responses to emerging health policy issues for more than three decades. Our Global Health work covers a wide range of topics, including:

Health Policy Strategy

We have developed comprehensive strategies and flexible approaches for improving national, regional, and local health. We work with governments and relevant organizations to analyze critical health care issues, identify policy options for addressing them, and develop models and metrics to measure progress.

Quality of Care

We have developed basic tools and measures of health care quality that are now widely used around the world as a scientific basis for determining whether medical and surgical procedures are used appropriately. These tools are used to inform providers and policymakers where care needs are and are not being met.

Public Health Preparedness

We have worked with government organizations and coalitions across the United States and around the world to identify and fill gaps in public health preparedness. We have led a series of studies to evaluate public health preparedness programs, identify key lessons and best practices, and develop practical exercises for emergency preparedness. These exercises cover a wide range of public health threats, including pandemic influenza, smallpox, and anthrax.

Health Care Financing

We have a distinguished history of analyzing health care financing systems. Recent work has focused on comparing public versus private financing of health care, developing and evaluating health insurance policy alternatives, assessing financial incentives for delivering quality care, and suggesting ways to improve access and ensure affordable health care for the poor.

Health Information Technology

Health information technology (HIT) offers the promise of reducing costs while improving the efficiency, quality, and safety of care. We have worked with governments and private-sector organizations to identify the costs and benefits of HIT, to understand how the full potential of HIT can be achieved, and to develop strategies for overcoming barriers to its implementation.

Wellness and Healthy Lifestyles

We have led many studies related to overall health and wellness, preventive care, and effective primary care. These include studies of obesity, physical activity, disease prevention, the role of primary care physicians in treating depression and other mental health conditions, and the role of communities and neighborhoods in promoting health. We have also gone beyond analysis to develop prevention and health promotion interventions—such as teen smoking cessation and violence-prevention programs—and to help organizations implement them.

Analytic Tools

We have developed analytic tools, such as models and performance measures, to help government and nongovernmental organizations improve the performance of health systems and the delivery of health care services. A recent project developed a model to quantify the potential health benefits associated with better clinical diagnostic tools for a number of priority diseases in the developing world. This tool is being used to inform strategic investments in diagnostics technology development and diffusion.

Health Dimensions of Foreign Policy

Health issues often intersect with political, economic, and security concerns. We have collaborated with other health experts and organizations to illuminate the emerging field of global health policy, identify ways in which global health serves national and international goals, and develop methods and strategies to address both foreign policy and health policy issues. A recent study examined seven cases of nation-building operations and identified best practices for rebuilding public health and health care delivery systems following major conflicts.

Who We Are

Global Health is a strategic initiative within RAND Health, a research division of the RAND Corporation. For 60 years, decisionmakers in the public and private sectors have turned to RAND for objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the nation and the world. As an independent, nonprofit organization, RAND is guided by a commitment to make a positive difference in the way the world works. We match client needs with multidisciplinary project teams assembled from among RAND's 950 research professionals whose collective expertise spans nearly every academic field and profession. Global Health merges long-standing RAND expertise in two policy domains: health and international policy. Our staff includes physicians, economists, psychologists, mathematicians, organizational analysts, political scientists, medical sociologists, policy analysts, and statisticians. In addition, Global Health draws on the full range of research capabilities and resources available within RAND as needed.