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Saint Louis University Launches New Institute to Improve Public, Patient Health

09/23/2020Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.


Saint Louis University has launched the Advanced HEAlth Data (AHEAD) Research Institute, a comprehensive center for data-driven innovation and research aimed at improving the health of individuals and populations.

The Institute brings together researchers from various fields and disciplines to help improve patient and population health, advance the quality of health care and decrease health care costs.

The new institute will utilize and develop data resources; novel analytic methods; predictive modeling; machine learning; and integrated, wearable health devices and will collaborate with national research networks.

“The devastating global impact of COVID-19 underscores the critical need to utilize data to tackle public health challenges,” said Ken Olliff, Vice President for Research and Partnerships. “The AHEAD Institute at Saint Louis University is poised to become a nationally recognized, comprehensive center for data-driven innovation and research and will help Saint Louis University become a national leader in data-informed health care.”

The research conducted at the AHEAD Institute covers a variety of disciplines and topics, including epidemiology, health services, quality improvement, health outcomes, economics, social determinants of health, health disparities and geospatial intelligence. Examples of work undertaken by AHEAD researchers include research on chronic prescription opioid use and pain management, studies to help reduce hospital readmissions, and assessment of access to diabetes technologies in underserved populations.

“The applications for utilizing and analyzing data to determine trends in health care – from identifying and addressing public health issues to improving patient care and overall population health – are potentially limitless,” said Leslie Hinyard, Ph.D., Director of the AHEAD Institute.

The origins of this new Institute lie in an internal Big Ideas competition to define university-wide strategic research priorities. SLU’s ability to invest in research was greatly enhanced in 2018 when Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield made a historic $50 million gift to accelerate research growth at the University and establish the SLU Research Institute. 

AHEAD is the latest major initiative supported by the Saint Louis University Research Institute. The Geospatial Institute (GeoSLU) was launched in 2019, followed by the WATER Institute in June 2020 and the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity in September 2020.

For more information visit the Institute’s website.