In the United States, more than 25% of all Americans – and two out of three older adults – are estimated to have at least two chronic physical or behavioral health conditions 1.  This problem affects a large number of working-age Americans, not just the elderly.  The percent of the US population with multiple chronic conditions is increasing, and will continue to grow as our population ages.

In 2008, the US Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health launched an initiative to strengthen efforts directed at patients living with more than one chronic disease.  One such effort was the Agency for Health Research and Quality Multiple Chronic Conditions Network (“the Network “).

The Network brought together 45 clinician and researcher grantees working to increase clinical, community, and patient-centered health research issues.  The breadth and scope of the grants funded was ambitious.  Grants ranged from pilot studies testing newly developed infrastructure, to looking at ways to prioritize testing and treatments, and suggesting adaptations to current preventive and care management guidelines.

The Network was supported with a Learning Community and a Technical Assistance Center, staffed by the MacColl team in partnership with Abt Associates, a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation.  Since 2004, we have partnered with Abt Associates on six contracts, most working with grantees in learning networks to support cross-site learning among grantees and to help with dissemination.

One product resulting from the AHRQ MCC Network collaboration is an animated video illustrating the emergence of multiple chronic conditions as a health care issue and their growing burden on the nation. “Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Day in the Life,” revolves around the experiences of Mae, a woman living with several chronic conditions who struggles to stay abreast of the instructions, treatments and prescriptions she receives from a variety of health care providers.

Find more information about the AHRQ Multiple Chronic Conditions Research Network below, including profiles of the individual grants, publicly available datasets, strategic framework, and a special issue of Medical Care dedicated to multiple chronic conditions.

  • Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Strategic Framework. Optimum Health and Quality of Life for Individuals with Multiple Chronic Conditions. [Link]
  • AHRQ Multiple Chronic Conditions website [Link]
  • March 2014 Medical Care special supplement on multiple chronic conditions [Link]
  • Datasets generated from the MCC Network studies for the study of people with multiple chronic conditions (Note: except when prohibited, these  are freely available) [Link]


  1. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Multiple Chronic Conditions, 2014. Web. November 25, 2014. [Link]
Event Date: 
Tue, 11/25/2014