<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=799546403794687&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">


Adult & Child Center for Outcomes Research and Delivery Science

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT

New ACCORDS Director Shares Initial Vision for the Center

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT uses whole-person health as a guide for collaboration and growth in outcomes research.

minute read

Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, director of the Adult and Child Center for Outcomes Research and Delivery Science (ACCORDS) and professor in the Department of Family Medicine, joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the start of the year after a decorated career at the University of Minnesota.

Berge is a mixed-methodologist researcher who focuses on child and family whole-person health across the life course. The multidisciplinary nature of her research aligns with the existing cores and programs at ACCORDS, as they allow researchers to work in various content areas, while remaining under the umbrella of outcomes research.

“I can embed myself into any one of our cores and programs to successfully measure these types of whole-person health outcomes,” Berge says. “Our ACCORDS cores and programs interweave many different methods to make people’s work innovative, creative, and have impact, while being as sustainable and effective as possible. Everything also has a translational aspect to it as outcomes research.”

Aligning personal and professional goals

In her introductory presentation to the ACCORDS faculty and staff, Berge shared her personal research vision and mission statements: “To achieve equitable whole‐person health for children and families” and to “Use groundbreaking mixed‐methods and dissemination science to optimize whole-person health across the life course and reduce health disparities.”

“My vision and mission statements align with and guide my own research projects and the other activities I take on with regards to being a co-investigator on grants, mentoring, and leadership positions,” Berge says.

Berge is also the director of the Healthy Eating and Activity Across the Lifespan (HEAL) Lab, which addresses whole-person health. At HEAL, her team addresses individual or multiple areas of mental, physical, behavioral, and social aspects of health simultaneously. The lab brings together different domains to address whole-person health, including research, community, education, and overall health care.

As part of the HEAL Lab, Berge has four active NIH-funded research projects. One of her ongoing cohort studies is learning how to achieve and optimize whole-person health by addressing systemic and structural determinants of health across families from diverse backgrounds.

Berge prioritizes working with multidisciplinary teams to achieve the most cutting-edge research. “When multidisciplinary scholars work on the same idea together, with an integrative approach, you're more likely to get further in designing something that's state-of-the-art, effective, and sustainable,” Berge says. “We feed these inventive ideas from multidisciplinary teams into our outcomes research studies in partnership with clinics and communities, then we translate what we've learned into practice.”

Initial vision for the center

In a real-time survey during Berge’s introductory presentation, ACCORDS faculty and staff shared their ideas for the center. The results highlighted the importance of collaboration and growth in the continued success of the center. It was also an opportunity for Berge to introduce her initial vision as director highlighting the four ‘Is’: inclusion, innovation, integration, and identity.

“The survey results align with the inclusion focus that I have, with regards to growing and reaching into those spaces that we don't already collaborate with, under the umbrella of outcomes research,” Berge says.

Another element of inclusion that Berge discussed was her focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a center. This includes diversifying the workforce and the groups that ACCORDS collaborates with.

The idea of innovation resonated with faculty and staff due to the nature of research happening within ACCORDS. “As I meet with people across campus, there is a lot of excitement about continuing the type of work coming out of ACCORDS that pushes innovative boundaries, considers new ways to collaborate across disciplines, and brings even more pace setting ideas in outcomes research,” Berge says.

She sees integration as a way to keep ACCORDS at the forefront of everyone’s mind when thinking about outcomes research. Berge emphasizes the importance of relationships with collaborators who continue to think of ACCORDS as their first step when thinking about the type of research they are conducting.

The final theme focused on identity and continuing to acknowledge and elevate the work being led by the center. Berge wants to ensure there is a platform to share locally, nationally, and internationally.

“These four ‘Is’ that I proposed are resonating the ACCORDS community, but there is still room to grow and add,” Berge says. “There are a lot of possibilities on the horizon.”

Opportunities for growth

“I think that there is an amazing energy and culture at ACCORDS, and on the Anschutz Medical Campus, that you can feel when you are in the buildings or you walk on campus,” Berge says.

Collaborating with new people to grow her own research, integrating with the work being done on campus, and building relationships, are all opportunities that Berge is looking forward to.

“I'm excited to leverage and lift ACCORDS even further than it's already gone. My hope is that anyone who's connected to ACCORDS feels like they have a say in the vision and in the direction ACCORDS is headed. I want them to not only see themselves in the vision, but also that they're contributing to its growth and next steps,” Berge says. “I'm eager to embark on the growth and opportunities here.”

Topics: Community, Faculty