Founding Director

CHOIR's Founding Director

Stephen M. Shortell, PhD, MPH, MBA 

Professor Stephen Shortell created the Center for Healthcare Organizational and Innovation Research (CHOIR) in 2013 upon completing 11 years as Dean of the School of Public Health. Professor Shortell’s work has been recognized through receipt of the distinguished Baxter Allegiance/Graham Prize from AUPHA for his innovative contributions to health services research, the AHA Trust Award for Visionary Leadership to the Field, election to the Healthcare Hall of Fame, and receipt of the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH) Welsh-Rose Award for Contributions to Academic Public Health. The research which formed the basis for this recognition provided the foundation for CHOIR’s creation.

Over the years, the Center served as an organizational home for extending the work of the National Survey of Physician Organizations (NSPO), which resulted in over 50 peer-reviewed publications and influenced the development of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) concept as part of the Affordable Care Act. CHOIR also became the home of the statewide Right Care Initiative to reduce mortality and morbidity from diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The Center grew quickly with the successful recruitment of Professor Hector Rodriguez who joined Professor Shortell and others in expanding the Center’s research portfolio to include studies of patient engagement in ACOs, CMS Funded innovations in care delivery, comparative health system performance (with The Dartmouth Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health), and assessments of the impact of innovations in care delivery such as telehealth. The successful recruitment of Professor Amanda Brewster has broadened the Center’s research agenda to include an emphasis on the social determinants of health, and cross-sector partnerships such as the work of the Area Agencies on Aging. A crosscutting theme in the Center’s work has been on examining those healthcare organizations serving marginalized people living in vulnerable communities.

Professor Rodriguez succeeded Professor Shortell as Director in 2017. He has further broadened CHOIR’s reach and impact in the areas of public policy and doctoral/post-doctoral training. The California Initiative for Health Equity and Action (Cal-IHEA) was created to advise the state legislature on healthcare access and equity issues with quick turn-around studies, analyses, and convening of relevant experts. The Center’s work has also greatly benefited from the from the University’s Graduate PhD Program in Health Policy. Many students in this program, with support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Shortell/Schaeffer Graduate Student Endowment Fund, have drawn on Center studies and data bases for their dissertations and related research.

Since its founding in 2013, CHOIR has grown in its national visibility. It is one of the “go to“ places producing actionable knowledge on the organizational, managerial, and implementation issues associated with health care reforms influencing the cost, quality,  outcomes and equity of care.