Trust is a central aspect of improving health care, and its importance in the health care arena is becoming increasingly recognized. To be effective, it is crucial that relationships between patients, clinicians, and health care organizations be grounded in trust. However, we have seen and continue to see an erosion of trust—and the evidence base on strategies for building trust in health care is limited.

Thus far in our partnership with the ABIM Foundation, AcademyHealth has convened trust researchers to develop and inform a trust research agenda; conducted key informant interviews to assess and spur interest in supporting research on trust; and carried out a review of trust research that is in progress via the HSRProj (Health Services Research Projects in Progress) database to identify trends in funding and research on trust and trust-related issues.

In this next phase of our work, we will continue to build up the evidence base by:

  • engaging a scholar-in-residence;
  • developing and supporting a research community to share strategies for addressing trust in health care; and
  • publishing commentaries and blogs to raise the visibility of trust issues more broadly.

Trust Scholar in Residence Call for Applications

The Trust Scholar in Residence call for applications is open now until Wednesday, December 20, 2023. More information about the position and how to apply is available here.

Research Community on Trust

The Research Community on Trust is a professional network for researchers and other stakeholders to collaborate and share information about promising research, practices, and policies to improve trust in our health care system. Compromised of leaders from a number of fields, the community includes researchers in academic and other settings, health system leaders, patients/consumers, clinicians, health plans, and policy experts.

Joining the community provides members access to:

  • newsletter updates sharing recent news, events, and research on trust;
  • webinars and other virtual sessions diving into examples of interventions, research methods, and findings from the research community; and
  • other relevant resources and opportunities.

We are continuing to grow the community. If you are interested in joining or would like to learn more, please fill out this brief form or email

External Publications

Surveys of Trust in the U.S. Health Care System
Conducted between December 29, 2020, and February 5, 2021 by NORC and the ABIM Foundation as part of the Foundation’s Building Trust Initiative, this survey explores consumers’ and physicians’ opinions and attitudes on trust in the U.S. health care system. With a special focus on the impact COVID-19 has had on the relationship between providers and their patients, this poll shows that patients trust clinicians more than other parts of the health care system. The survey also indicates a decline in physicians’ trust in leaders of health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Published May, 2021. 

Trust in Health Care in the Time of COVID-19
Although trust is a foundational component in building a strong patient-clinician relationship, trust in health care has been declining, particularly among communities who experience barriers to health care, health care disparities, and racism. COVID-19 has exacerbated these existing problems in many ways, from discordant recommendations, medical misinformation, and the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black and Latino communities. In this special series of Viewpoint articles published in JAMA, experts discuss ongoing threats to trust, particularly in the context of COVID-19 and ways to mitigate them. Introduced by Dr. David, Baker, these articles cover concerns related to medical misinformation, the importance of healing relationships for creating trust, how organizations can build and measure patient/community trust, the role that transparency plays in building trust



Elizabeth Cope, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Vice President, Health Systems Improvement - AcademyHealth

Elizabeth L. Cope, PhD, MPH, is Vice President of Health Systems Improvement at AcademyHealth where she overse... Read Bio


Marya Khan, M.P.H.

Senior Manager - AcademyHealth

Marya Khan is a Senior Manager at AcademyHealth. She is responsible for managing projects under grants from th... Read Bio

Taylor Dunlap Headshot

Taylor Dunlap

Research Assistant - AcademyHealth

Taylor Dunlap is a Research Assistant with AcademyHealth. She works with the Health Policy Research Scholars a... Read Bio