A taxonomy of integration interventions between health care and public health

By Deborah Porterfield, L Rojas-Smith, Megan Lewis, Lauren McCormack, Thomas Hoerger, Debra Holden

Integration among health care professionals, health care systems, and public health organizations to improve population health has recently emerged as a policy priority for federal health and public health agencies. A large gap exists, however, between current policy and program implementation efforts and the existing evidence for integration interventions. The challenges of research into integration effectiveness include lack of a standardized definition of integration and lack of a taxonomy to allow grouping of similar interventions that helps to facilitate an understanding of their effectiveness. We address these challenges and advance research into integration. Drawing from prior evidence syntheses of integration interventions, we provide a recommended definition and a classification scheme for describing and grouping like interventions. Our work can benefit researchers engaged in generating evidence for integration interventions and policy makers; it will help to ensure that the integration policy promoted by health and public health agencies is supported by science.


Porterfield, D., Rojas-Smith, L., Lewis, M., McCormack, L., Hoerger, T., & Holden, D. (2015). A taxonomy of integration interventions between health care and public health. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0023-1507). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2015.op.0023.1507

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Deborah PorterfieldDeborah S. Porterfield is a senior public health research analyst at RTI International and an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

L Rojas-SmithLucia Rojas-Smith, DrPH, is a director of the Social, Health, and Organizational Research and Evaluation program at RTI International

Megan LewisMegan Lewis, PhD, is a senior research scientist and leader of the Health Care Communication Team, Health Communication Program, at RTI International.

Lauren McCormackLauren A. McCormack, PhD, created and directs RTI’s Center for Communication Science. Dr. McCormack is also adjunct associate professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Thomas HoergerThomas J. Hoerger, PhD, is a Senior Fellow in the Public Health Economics Program at RTI International.

Debra HoldenDebra J. Holden, PhD, is the senior director of the Community Health Promotion Research Program at RTI International.

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