Safety net hospitals in the United States have long been a key health care provider for some of the nation’s sickest, most vulnerable patients. These hospitals also have a strong history of innovation, leveraging limited resources, knowledge of local communities, and relationships with partner organizations to experiment with strategies for improving the health of their patients and their communities.  

With support from Kaiser Permanente, AcademyHealth’s Translation and Dissemination Institute undertook a series of activities to better understand safety net providers’ evidence needs and how the health services research community can be a better partner in helping fill important knowledge gaps. This Google Hangout will feature findings from a series of issue briefs that explored innovations in care at three safety net hospitals and the experiences of leadership in using research and other evidence to help inform their work. 

Learning Objectives

  • To highlight innovative efforts by safety net hospitals and their partners to address patient needs;
  • To explore the opportunities and challenges hospital leaders encountered when seeking research and other evidence to help inform program development; and
  • To identify information needs and priorities of safety net hospital leaders that can help inform future health services research agendas.

Course Level: 101 (Introductory) 

This Google Hangout was developed from issue briefs authored by Linda Cummings, Ph.D., who served as an AcademyHealth Innovator-in-Residence in 2015.    

Watch Online 

Faculty Bios:

Linda Cummings, Ph.D., of Health Services Research LLC, provides research and program development consultation focused on the health status and health care of underserved populations. Dr. Cummings was formerly Vice President for Research at America’s Essential Hospitals, where she directed the Essential Hospitals Institute. In that capacity, she developed the organization’s research agenda around system redesign, quality performance and improvement in patient care, health disparities, and the financial and operational characteristics of safety net hospitals. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a concentration in American politics and public policy. Dr. Cummings served as an Innovator-in-Residence at AcademyHealth from January to March of 2015.

Cecilia Echeverría, M.P.P, M.P.H., is director of Safety Net Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente. In this role, Ms. Echeverría helps accelerate safety net grant initiatives, technical assistance, and the development and spread of safety net partnerships across Kaiser Permanente’s seven regions and at the national level. She has a bachelor of arts in social welfare, a master’s in public policy, and a master’s in public health from University of California, Berkeley. She is an alumnus of the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship program and in 2012 she was selected as a participant in the Grantmakers in Health Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy.

Anna Roth, R.N., M.S., M.P.H., is the Chief Executive Officer of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers (CCRMC), a public hospital system in the San Francisco Bay Area. A leader in system redesign and innovation, Ms. Roth has spearheaded improvement efforts throughout her system, including the introduction of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Model for Improvement and the Toyota Production System’s Lean management system. Committed to the engagement of frontline staff as drivers of change, Ms. Roth established the CCRMC Change Agent Fellowship to cultivate leaders from within her system as local redesign experts and to create a culture of continuous improvement. She also sees the inclusion of patients, families and the community as essential to transformation and includes them as full partners in delivery system redesign. Ms. Roth has played a key role in advancing health care reform efforts and other joint performance improvement initiatives with public hospital systems, safety net organizations and government agencies. A registered nurse with more than 25 years of health care experience, Ms. Roth holds a master’s degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and a M.P.H. from Harvard University. She is a lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health where she teaches health care quality improvement and measurement.