As a Vice President at Atlas Research, Wendy Opsahl manages initiatives in knowledge translation, health marketing and communications, digital media, performance improvement, and qualitative research. She is active in teaching and research related to health communications and is an adjunct assistant professor with the Georgetown University Department of Health Systems Administration.
Much of her work focuses on assisting federal agencies with communicating important information to key stakeholders in order to effect change. Dr. Opsahl leads the communications work stream for the Premier Hospital Improvement Innovation Network of 500 hospitals, designed to improve patient safety across 19 areas, funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Rural Health to evaluate, improve, monitor, and disseminate 26 Rural Promising Practices across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). She led a national outreach campaign to promote Mental Health First Aid to rural audiences that led to more than 450 requests for training sessions for the Health Resources and Services Administration. She has developed and tested consumer-friendly language for the CMS Home Health Compare website to aid visitors in understanding how to use quality measures and data to inform decision making. She also managed communications and research support projects for the VA Military Sexual Trauma Support Team, the VA National Center for PTSD, and the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System.
She previously served as communications director for the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where she led knowledge translation efforts for the Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center and the Rural Health Research Gateway. She is the former editor of North Dakota Medicine, Health Workforce News, and the Center for Rural Health Update.
She is active with AcademyHealth and supports the Membership Advisory Committee. A sought-out speaker who presents regularly across the country, she was named a 2013 Presidential Awardee by the American Association of Public Health Physicians and a 2010 Hersch Scholar by AcademyHealth. Dr. Opsahl holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership, with a research focus on knowledge translation practices of health services research organizations. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Communications and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications and Sociology from the University of North Dakota.