Announcing the 2024 Health Policy Fellowship cohort  

Instructor speaking to a class of students

We are pleased to announce our 2024 Health Policy Fellowship cohort. 

More than 125 health researchers, policymakers, and nonprofit leaders have completed the fellowship since its launch in 2012. Many fellowship alumni occupy influential roles as policymakers and leaders across Michigan. 

The 2024 fellowship cohort will include:

  • Chelsea Alcock, Legislative Assistant, 52nd District, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Dr. Frank Conyers, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Michigan Medicine 
  • Samantha Cornell, Director of Community Based Services, Access Health
  • Elizabeth Crenshaw, Director of District and Constituent Services, 7th District, Michigan Senate 
  • Jennifer Day, Community Building Manager, Michigan Breastfeeding Network
  • Thye Fischman, Manager of Government Relations,  Department of Government Relations, Michigan Medicine
  • Morgan Foreman, Director of Constituent Services, 33rd District, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Shannon Jackson, Program Manager, Residents in Action
  • Stephen Jackson, Policy Advisor, Michigan Senate Democrats
  • Dr. Patrick Johnson, Resident, Department of General Surgery, Michigan Medicine 
  • Dr. Beth Kuzma, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, Michigan Medicine 
  • Kristina Leonardi, Director of Aging and Community Services Division, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
  • Kelsey Ostergren, Director of Health Policy Initiatives, Michigan Health and Hospital Association
  • Beverly Ryskamp, Chief Operating Officer, Network 180

The program is an immersive four-month experience that brings together a diverse group of professionals to foster collaboration among policymakers, researchers, and nonprofit professionals. 

“The CHRT Fellowship enhanced my ability to think about policy—from the formulation of the research questions to the translation of the research findings to inform policy in real- time,” says Dr. Renuka Tipirneni, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation. “I valued going through the experience with an incredible cohort of both policymakers and researchers. This inter-sectoral peer mentorship enhanced my training and helped me build connections that I hope will last for my entire career.”

The 2024 cohort of Health Policy Fellows will engage in interactive workshops and learning sessions in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing, and Washington, DC. These sessions are designed to provide fellows with opportunities to gain insights into local, state, and federal health policy landscapes. Orientation briefings will cover essential topics such as the legislative process, Michigan state government structure, strategies to effectively communicate with legislators, and the challenges in building sustainability for nonprofit organizations.

For further information about the CHRT Health Policy Fellowship and to apply for the 2025  cohort, please contact Holly Quivera Teague, Fellowship Program Manager, at


CHRT is grateful for the generous support of our 2024 fellowship sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Michigan Medicine, and the Michigan State Medical Society.

Providing decision makers with evidence: A Q&A with CHRT’s health policy team lead

Nancy Baum, systemic and policy analysis team lead
Nancy Baum, systemic and policy analysis team lead

CHRT’s health policy team evaluates laws, regulations and policies, as well as decisions and actions of leaders in public health, healthcare payers and providers, for their impact on population health. The team analyzes and recommends evidence-based policies designed to improve the health of people and communities, and responds to the needs and interests of a broad range of stakeholders. 

We sat down with Nancy Baum, the team director, to learn more about the team’s work.

Describe some of the challenges the health policy team addresses. 

One of our main goals is to help decision makers use evidence in their decisions. That’s a common theme of our particular team’s work, and it’s also most of what we do at CHRT. For our team, sometimes that means gathering information on what’s been published, what programs are in place, or what similar organizations or states are doing on a specific topic. Sometimes it means bringing people together to learn from each other, as we do in our two fellowship programs. We also have a project with partners at MSU to help educate Michigan legislators on health topics.

The decision makers we support could be legislators, but they don’t have to be. We’re also working with people who run programs, hospitals, or other health organizations. We want to get evidence into the hands of all decision makers who have an impact on health.

What’s one of the big projects in the team’s portfolio now?

One of the big pieces of work we’ve focused on for many years now is work we do with the Department of Health and Human Services for their long-term services and supports (LTSS) programming.

People with disabilities need supportive services that are very expensive. For the most part, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term services and supports. In most states, Medicaid does, but for the generally only people with a low income qualify for Medicaid coverage and services. So we have a system where there’s a great deal of demand, but the services are very expensive. And there are serious workforce problems meeting that demand because the pay for direct care workers is very low.

Michigan, like most states, has put together some important and effective programs for people who need these long-term services and supports. But many more people want them than qualify for them, and it is very important that these services are of high quality. So we work with the state to assess these problems, gather stakeholder input, and recommend some solutions.

Do you have any projects in the behavioral health space?

Our team works on a variety of projects related to behavioral health. For many years, we have had a shortage of behavioral health providers to meet demand in Washtenaw County. Without access to the care they need, people can develop acute behavioral health needs and present at the emergency department. Emergency departments are crowded and people with acute needs then have to wait a long time for appropriate services.

One of the really exciting projects we’re working on right now is called ADAPT (A Dynamic Approach to Psychiatric Treatment Systems). We’re working with modelers at the University of North Carolina who are building a model of Washtenaw County’s behavioral health system. This model will allow the community to understand what the impact on treatment experience might be if they change the level of resources committed to an aspect of the system. It’s exciting because this kind of work hasn’t been done before. We’re training this model on Washtenaw County data, but other communities will also be able to use it that have similar behavioral health systems and problems.

Do you work with other teams?

Absolutely. Our team is working closely with CHRT’s health and social equity team to find opportunities for community paramedics to deliver services to people in their homes, which helps keep people out of the hospital. For example, what often happens is that someone is discharged from the hospital but they have to do wound care at home. If they are not comfortable doing that then they might call emergency servicest, and historically paramedics had to transport them to the hospital. But someone who just needs a bandage change doesn’t necessarily need to be transported to the hospital, so delivering care to them in their home is more appropriate. These new programs allow community paramedics to deliver those and many other types of services in the home without transporting to a hospital.

Describe some of the processes the team uses.

Our team works to gather data. Sometimes we’re gathering primary data and analyzing it. Sometimes we’re exploring secondary data, aggregating existing evidence and knowledge, or conducting landscape analyses to see if there are best practices elsewhere that can be leveraged. We also do a lot of writing. We write reports, issue briefs, one-pagers and other materials to communicate what we learn.

We also run the two fellowship programs – a policy fellowship and a public health fellowship –  which let people meet colleagues, learn from one another and from experts in the field, and find opportunities to elevate the impact of their work.

Relationships are an important part of all of our work. The better relationships we have with decision makers, the better the opportunity we have to support them.

What do you want readers to know about the team’s mission, vision, values or services?  

We’re always thinking about how the policy or system we’re analyzing impacts various people and groups. When we’re talking about addressing social determinants of health, the big picture question is: does everybody have the resources they need and a real opportunity to improve their health? Or are there inequities where programs are helping certain populations the way they need help but not others?

Identifying places we can be more equitable is very important to everybody on our team, and really everybody here at CHRT. Providing decision makers with data on inequities can empower and enable leaders and organizations to take actions to help everyone improve their health.

A Q&A with CHRT’s new Executive Director, Joshua Traylor

Joshua Traylor

Joshua Traylor joined CHRT as executive director on November 1. We sat down with him to learn more about him, his background, and his plans for CHRT.

What interested you in joining CHRT as ED?

I was born and raised in Washtenaw County so when the CHRT opportunity was posted, a few people from Michigan brought it to my attention. I had been working in the national policy space for quite a while and saw this as a great opportunity to come back to my home state and contribute to state and local reform efforts. 

At the federal level, you hope you’re doing good work, you hope your work is impactful, but you don’t necessarily see the work being carried out on the ground the way you do at the state or local level. For me, CHRT was offering an opportunity to re-engage with that state and local effort and make a tangible impact. I also saw joining CHRT as an opportunity to use what I learned at the federal level to help increase CHRT’s reach and impact. I know CHRT has done a lot of good work over the years, and there’s an opportunity to take what CHRT has done and use it to inform national healthcare policy.

Was that the first time you’d heard of CHRT?

I actually started my career at CHRT as an early career fellow right out of grad school. I worked primarily on the data analytics team and cut my teeth doing claims data work, writing issue briefs, and developing recommendations for clients. I also was active in the initial phases of the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI). 

What parts of CHRT’s mission and work are closest to your heart?

What I really like about CHRT is how interdisciplinary the organization is. I tend to think at a systems level about how different threads interact to create the outcomes we see. CHRT is one of the few organizations that brings together policy, data analytics, program operations, research, evaluation, and communications all under one umbrella. This is important because so many of the health and social issues we face are multisectorial. Addressing them requires many different components to move together and you need interdisciplinary teams to do that work. 

What attracted me about CHRT as an early career fellow was its healthcare policy focus. When I looked around Michigan, especially the Ann Arbor area, CHRT felt like the spot to be. I wanted that opportunity to dig into the data analytics work and understand how our healthcare payers, providers, and employers make decisions. I was looking for insight into how different stakeholders impact the way healthcare works on the ground, and CHRT was absolutely perfect for that.

What other knowledge and experience will you bring to CHRT? 

After my CHRT fellowship, I went to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CMMI was established to test innovative health care reform ideas intended to reduce costs and improve quality. I felt it was important to understand the impact of health care payment and care delivery reform efforts on behavior and outcomes. 

I started my time at CMMI working on the State Innovation Models (SIM) team where I got to see how different states and territories grappled with health care issues, and think about the ways federal policy could enable, or impede, that work. Next I went to the Prevention and Population Health Group, where I worked on the design of the Integrated Care for Kids Model where I learned a lot about the opportunities and issues with reform efforts in the Medicaid space. 

I left CMMI to join the Healthcare Transformation Task Force (HCTTF), a DC based non-profit that brings together healthcare payers, providers, purchasers, and patient organizations interested in payment and care delivery reform efforts. I had the opportunity to work with state and national payers, health systems, and patient advocacy groups to build consensus on a range of issues including payment model design, health equity promotion principles, and multi-payer alignment strategies. The Task Force was like a graduate program on topics you don’t learn about in grad school.

How did your work in DC intersect with what’s been happening here in Michigan?

At CMMI, I was the project officer for the State Innovation Model (SIM), so I was responsible for project management on the federal side of the program and interacted with a number of states, including Michigan. I provided technical assistance where I could and liaised with our grants office at the federal level to make sure we could fund things appropriately. I also looked for opportunities to connect the SIM folks in Michigan to other states, federal initiatives, and agencies that could inform their work.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’ll give you three at different places. Early in my career at CHRT, I worked on the launch of the WHI, a voluntary collaborative of local individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the health of low-income, uninsured, and under-insured populations. I was interested in the concept that you could bring together so many different community level entities under one umbrella to improve care delivery. The WHI experience was really formative in my early career.

At CMMI, my work on the Integrated Care for Kids model. We began working on that model in 2015 and continued designing it through the 2016 presidential transition, when a lot was up in the air and a number of programs wound up not making it to fruition. I’m proud to have been a part of the team to design that model and shepherd it all the way through and make sure it got out the door as a funding opportunity for states.

At the Task Force, one of the biggest projects I worked on was called Raising the Bar, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-funded initiative to develop principles and action steps to advance health equity. It involved creating principles and action steps for healthcare organizations that were interested in advancing health equity. That effort has gotten quite a bit of traction and been used in a lot of different places.

What books are on your nightstand?

Right now? Goodnight Moon. I have a four year old and a two year old. Not a lot of free time for book reading beyond that!

But I would say a book that I have recommended time and again to students, mid-career, and even late stage career folks who want to understand the US healthcare system is a book called The Healing of America by T. R. Reid. 

We often talk about the U.S. healthcare system when what we really have is a collection of several health care systems. The Healing of America is one of the most approachable descriptions I’ve seen of all these healthcare systems and how they compare to those in other countries.

What do you do in your free time?

I love motorcycling, especially long distance motorcycle trips (though I don’t ride nearly as much since becoming a parent). I’ve ridden from Michigan to California and from DC to the Dakotas. I love to explore and I like to fix things so riding and motorcycle maintenance check both of those boxes. I also really like to garden and cook. If I have a garden and a well-stocked kitchen and folks to entertain, that’s my happy space.

What are your favorite places to visit in Ann Arbor or Michigan?

I grew up just outside Ann Arbor, and I went to school in Ann Arbor for my whole education from kindergarten to graduate school. The city changed a lot over that time but a few places feel like constants to me. I love the Arb, Kerrytown, and the farmers market. As a kid, I used to go to the Ann Arbor Y with my parents on the weekends and then after that we would go to the farmers market and Kerrytown for lunch. I have tons of fond memories of that area from childhood. And I’ve always loved walking through Nickels Arcade at Christmas time when all the lights are up and it’s snowing.

I also like North Campus. It’s an area not a lot of people go to unless you are in the engineering, music, architecture or urban planning programs. I was an engineering student for my freshman and sophomore years at Michigan. I appreciated the relative solitude of North Campus. There are also a ton of interesting hidden features you would miss if you didn’t know about them. For example, there is a natural echo chamber if you stand at one spot outside Pierpont Commons. There is also a grass field behind one of the engineering buildings that’s been shaped into a three-dimensional sine wave. It was designed and created by Maya Lin, the artist who did the Vietnam War Memorial in D.C. It’s a fun place if you have kids because they can run up and down the sine waves.

What are your goals for CHRT’s next few years?

Right now I’m in the phase of understanding all the work that’s going on and meeting all the leaders and partner organizations that CHRT is working with. The interdisciplinary nature of CHRT – bringing together policy, data analytics, research, evaluation, program implementation, communications, and finance – is a real strength for the organization. Our team also has experience working on a range of key health and social policy topics and initiatives. I think the perspective and skills of the CHRT team offers us the opportunity to help shape an ambitious but attainable vision for improving the health and wellbeing of our region and the state.

To be able to do this, I want to make sure we have good sustainable funding streams in place so we can support the ongoing work and be able to pursue the passion projects that attract people to work here.

Finally, I want to elevate the lessons learned at CHRT to the federal level and to create greater interconnection between CHRT and organizations that have similar missions in other parts of the country. I see a lot of opportunities for collaboration, shared learning, even partnership on projects.

What would you like to say to the CHRT community?

I’m really looking forward to getting to know the people who currently partner with CHRT, and to identifying new opportunities and new projects. CHRT has the opportunity to be a neutral convener and do the visioning work that pulls together different perspectives. I’m looking forward to partnering with people to do that.

Accepting applicants for the second annual Rebecca Copeland Memorial Internship

Rebecca Copeland

CHRT is now accepting applicants for the second annual Rebecca Copeland Memorial Internship.

CHRT seeks a high-achieving individual who is thoughtful and analytical, with interests and experiences in health policy analysis. This is a full-time paid summer internship, with flexible start and end dates. Graduate students who have completed at least one year of coursework in public policy or public health are encouraged to apply.

The intern will have the opportunity to work on relevant, timely health policy issues. The intern will be responsible for elements of health policy and research projects that align with CHRT’s mission of improving the health of people and communities.

Apply now or learn more.

About the CHRT Rebecca Copeland Memorial Internship

Rebecca Copeland was a dual masters degree student in public health and public policy at the University of Michigan, and graduated in the spring of 2021. She had a deep interest improving population health by addressing social needs. Rebecca sought out mentorship from Terrisca Des Jardins, CHRT’s former executive director serving from late 2020 – February 2023. 

Rebecca was deeply committed to improving health, health care and social justice. She brought enthusiasm and excellence to analysis of important health policy issues and inspired those alongside whom she worked.

At CHRT, Rebecca interned with Nancy Baum, CHRT’s health policy director. At CHRT, she worked to improve the public mental health system, among other projects. “Her energy was amazing,” says Baum. “Rebecca showed us just how valuable interns can be in an organization like ours. When an intern is both smart and dedicated to making systems better to improve health, as Rebecca was, they are a real asset,” says Baum.

Rebecca Copeland passed away in July 2021. CHRT honors her memory by offering the Rebecca Copeland Internship to students with an interest in health policy.

Welcome new staff and interns

CHRT is pleased to introduce its newest hires in finance, data use, and programming. New finance team members will enhance our organization’s ability to conduct financial planning, ensure compliance, and improve operational procedures. New programmatic staff members bring expertise in health information technology, data use, public policy, mental health and substance use disorders, and more. 

Gudrun Bossman

Gudrun Bossmann is a senior financial analyst at CHRT and is responsible for financial planning. She holds a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in international business and management studies from the Hanzehogeschool, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Prior to joining CHRT, Bossmann built up the financial controlling of a media research company in Ann Arbor and managed financial operations for the premium resort sector of Thomas Cook, one of the largest travel companies in Europe.

Ayşe G. Büyüktür

Ayşe G. Büyüktür is a senior research area specialist with the University of Michigan School of Information and holds appointments at the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT) and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR).

Büyüktür first started working with CHRT in 2016 as a consultant for the Livingston – Washtenaw State Innovation Model (SIM) intervention, the predecessor to MI Community Care. She subsequently joined the intervention team in the design, implementation, and operations of the program.

Allison Fritsch 

Allison Fritsch is an intern at CHRT. She is a Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work dual-degree candidate (2022) at the University of Michigan.

Before coming to the University of Michigan in 2020, Fritsch worked in the hospitality industry.

Wendy Hawkins

Wendy Hawkins is a senior health policy analyst at CHRT. She graduated with her master’s in public policy from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in 2021.

Prior to joining CHRT, Hawkins worked in the harm reduction field in San Francisco and Los Angeles, providing harm reduction materials and support to people who use drugs and those experiencing housing instability. She also provided HIV/STI and Hepatitis C testing and referrals to wraparound services.

Amy Martinez

Amy Martinez is University of Michigan School of Public Health, Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) fellow, completing her field placement with CHRT. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology and public health at Williams College, located in Williamstown, MA

Prior to joining CHRT, Martinez served as a public health intern in the Berkshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC) where she helped develop mental health and COVID-related programming for improving healthcare professionals’ relationships with themselves and their patients during and post-pandemic.

Augustina Nguyen

Augustina Nguyen is a University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) fellow. She graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2021 with a BA in biology and business management.

Before joining CHRT, Nguyen was a public health intern at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, doing health equity research and intervention.

Angela Palek

Angela Palek is a senior financial specialist at CHRT. She holds a master’s degree from Michigan State University in higher, adult, and lifelong education and a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in administration, with an emphasis on organizational administration.

She began her career at Eastern Michigan University working for the EMU Wraparound Project which provided wrap around services for at-risk teen parents. While at EMU, she was instrumental in the development of the non-profit student food pantry.

Ivana Tullett

Ivana Tullett is compliance staff specialist at CHRT, with a focus on regulatory data compliance and data privacy. She holds a master’s degree in law from the Charles University in Prague and a master’s degree and research doctorate in law from the University of Michigan Law School.

Prior to joining CHRT, Tullet supported the University of Michigan research enterprise by negotiating data use agreements and coordinating related compliance reviews.

Luoluo Xu

Luoluo Xu is a senior accountant at CHRT, supporting the administrative and business functions. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University.

Prior to joining CHRT, Xu worked as an accountant for MHealthy, which offers U-M faculty and staff a broad range of health and well-being programs, and the U-M Shared Services Center, which oversees a range of human resources and financial administrative functions across the University. 

New CHRT projects focus on integration, learning networks, and social determinants of health

CHRT has launched six new projects over the past few months, including designing a public health and primary care integration demonstration project, participating in a learning action network team to support integrated delivery networks, launching a new practicum and fellowship for Detroit Health Department staff members, and providing training in communicating for policy change to a national network of cancer care organizations.


Coaching members of a national learning and action network of integrated care delivery leaders

National: Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

While understanding that the social conditions in which a person lives, works, and plays is critical to health, only 24 percent of hospitals and 16 percent of physician offices report screening patients for social needs. More and more, however, health systems are recognizing the imperative of understanding the social needs of their patients and helping to resolve unmet social needs that directly impact health, well-being, and equity. 

In order to support the journey of these health care organizations, Pfizer is funding work with the national Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to create a Learning and Action Network. CHRT’s executive director will participate in a multi-disciplinary national faculty team that provides coaching and guidance to competitively selected integrated delivery networks. Read more

Integrating public health and primary care and developing sustainable funding mechanisms for both systems

National: American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation

The lack of connection between primary care and public health has had serious consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health messages about the measures necessary to keep people safe–masking, social distancing, the need for internal eating closures, and the like–have been highly politicized. But in many communities, it was hard for public health leaders to reach and convince their constituents.

CHRT is working with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation to Identify ways to integrate public health and primary care and to develop sustainable funding mechanisms to strengthen both systems. In the first phase of this work, CHRT will focus on key informant interviews with representatives from a range of organizations and entities such as public health and primary care professionals from states with advanced integrated systems and states identified by the National Health Security Index 2020. Read more

Expanding the Home Nutrition+ integrated infrastructure

Regional: Michigan Health Endowment Fund

Several national studies have demonstrated a return on investment for nutrition programs. Specifically, a Commonwealth Fund review identified multiple papers that provide strong evidence that medically tailored meals (MTM) improve outcomes and have a positive return on investment. Furthermore, the Commonwealth Fund found that a community-based care transition program, provided to older adults as part of a combined MTM intervention, saved $3.87 for every $1.00 spent, likely driven by a significant decrease in the 30-day readmission rate in the intervention group.

Vital Seniors Initiative grantees–five social service agencies for which CHRT provides backbone support–are forming a community integrated network with the goal of delivering MTM and coordinated service delivery to clients. The end goal: To more effectively and efficiently serve older adults and individuals with disabilities so they can remain in their community and home of choice. To do this, the network needs to develop a hub model structure, governance, and operations as well as new partnerships to expand the Home Nutrition+ program.

CHRT will provide backbone support to the community integrated network, helping network members develop strategic objectives with existing partners, develop the governance structure required to support expansion, set up the appropriate legal agreements, engage with community-based organizations beyond Washtenaw County, and develop the framework to offer Home Nutrition+ based on the “Food is Medicine” model.

During the first quarter, CHRT will identify potential geographic regions for expansion, conduct an analysis of services and gaps of MTM offerings in those regions, engage with a health plan to support the operational objectives for expansion, and conduct visioning sessions to define mission and execute delivery. During the second quarter of the grant period, CHRT will facilitate governance and geographic expansion decision making, set up legal structure and applicable agreements, and more. Read more

Public Health

Developing and delivering a fellowship and practicum for Detroit Health Department staff

Local: Detroit Health Department

In 2019, CHRT launched the Detroit Health Department Public Health Practice and Policy Engagement Fellowship, training two cohorts of DHD staff in four key areas–systems thinking, communications, policy engagement, and data analytics–so they may ultimately lead collaborative, cross-systems work, eliminating silos and addressing the social determinants of health. A shortened, supplemental virtual fellowship for alumni will continue to elevate their public health skills and professional development experience.

CHRT will lead alumni in a six-session fellowship, covering a host of current policy issues and trends. The alumni fellowship will touch on long-standing, complex issues of public health, many of which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. It will create a space to identify and discuss these dynamic problems and provide tangible ways for fellows to address them and affect change. The fellowship also includes a small-group practicum project, focused on real issues faced within DHD departments. At completion, the fellows will have a fleshed-out plan for improving processes–one that is rooted in systems thinking. Read more

Healthy Aging

Informing the development of Michigan’s statewide LTSS strategic plan

State: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

In 2019, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) engaged in preliminary preparation for strategic planning activities around long-term services and supports (LTSS). MDHHS has now asked CHRT to facilitate a comprehensive process to inform a statewide LTSS strategic plan.

In Phase I, CHRT will review MDHHS work to date and interview key staff. CHRT will then conduct an environmental scan of federal policy and funding changes, both planned and existing, as well as examples of how states are applying these federal changes. CHRT will review best practices on equity initiatives and key LTSS options, then develop a white paper on LTSS options. CHRT will also conduct a series of internal and external key informant interviews, and complete a literature review on home- and community-based services, with high-level recommendations for the state. Read more

Communication for Policy Change

Training members of a national cancer care consortium in communicating for policy change

National: Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care 

The national Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care seeks to ensure that findings from the alliance’s six participating sites and cross-site evaluation–particularly those that demonstrate evidence-based mechanisms for advancing patient-centered care and reducing disparities–reach, inform, and inspire national decision and policy leaders.

CHRT is collaborating with the alliance around communicating for policy change. The focus: Developmental editing, as alliance staff write a policy brief to share with national policy and decision leaders, and webinar development and delivery to help alliance members in several states as they communicate their own findings to policymakers and practitioners. Read more

Special open enrollment period allows Michigan consumers to purchase 2021 health insurance on national ACA marketplace

On January 28th, President Biden signed an executive order to initiate a nationwide special enrollment period and reopen the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace will reopen from February 15 – May 15, which will give consumers in Michigan (and in 35 other states that use the federal exchange) an additional opportunity to purchase 2021 health insurance coverage amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of Michigan experienced a 46 percent increase in the number of uninsured adults from February to May of 2020, due in large part to the pandemic.[1],[2] While over 267,000 Michiganders were able to enroll in health insurance plans during the regular 2021 open enrollment period, a 2 percent increase from the 2020 open enrollment period, thousands of Michiganders currently remain uninsured.

Governor Whitmer has announced that the state of Michigan, in tandem with this special enrollment period, will be launching outreach efforts to help uninsured Michiganders learn more about the coverage options available to them. Many uninsured individuals may find that they have subsidies that are large enough to cover the entire cost of a health insurance plan.

For more general information regarding the 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace, including an in-depth rate analysis, see CHRT’s Rate Analysis: 2021 ACA Health Insurance Marketplace for Michigan. To explore health insurance plans available through the Marketplace, visit

[1] State Leaders Applaud Biden Administration for Opening Marketplace Special Enrollment Period and Making Medicaid more accessible. (2021, January 28). Retrieved February 11, 2021, from,4669,7-192-29943_34759-550797–,00.html

[2] A 46% increase equates to roughly 834,000 Michiganders without health insurance coverage.

Webinar: CHRT Policy Analytics Director Robyn Rontal offers webinar on policy solutions to support family caregivers

In this hour-long webinar by Policy Analytics Director Robyn Rontal, viewers will learn about the current state of informal and family caregiving in the U.S., factors that impact caregiver stress, and a variety of policy solutions to support family caregivers.

Rontal discusses the prevalence of family caregiving and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on caregivers and families. She presents research showing that almost 40 percent of caregivers find their caregiving situation to be emotionally stressful, and shares examples of strategies to address these problems with policies at the local, state, and national level.

Listen to Policy solutions to support family caregivers to learn more about ways we can support unpaid caregivers in the U.S.

CHRT is growing: Join us in welcoming new staff

Several new staff members have joined the Center for Health and Research Transformation. They bring expertise in pay for success financing, evaluating case management interventions for superutilizers, recovery-oriented communities, integrative approaches to health disparities, program evaluation and improvements, and more. Please join us in welcoming them to the team.

Ryan Bartholomew is an analyst at CHRT. He manages CHRT’s Health Policy Fellowship and provides analysis of issues and trends in health policy. Prior to joining CHRT, Ryan worked as a research intern for Michigan’s Children, an independent organization that works to promote public policies in the best interest of the children and families of Michigan. He has also worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, an Office of Presidential Correspondence intern in the White House, and as a political department intern at the Democratic National Committee. Ryan holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Matthew Hill is a program manager for the Center for Health and Research Transformation. He manages all Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Mental Health related programs that fall under the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI). In doing so, Matthew supports the WHI Opioid Project, a community based coalition that aims to help address the opioid epidemic locally, as well as the Washtenaw County SUD System Transformation Initiative. Prior to joining CHRT, Matthew managed the Washtenaw Recovery Advocacy Project, a recovery community organization that worked to eliminate the stigma surrounding SUD, provide community education, and create a recovery oriented community in Washtenaw County. Matthew holds a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience from the University of Michigan.

Samantha Iovan is a senior analyst at CHRT and will be supporting the Washtenaw Health Initiative UNITE Group and Medicaid and Marketplace Outreach and Enrollment (MMOE) Group. Prior to joining CHRT, Samantha worked as a project manager in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan. There, she oversaw health services research projects focused on addressing cardiac arrest outcomes in the state of Michigan and improving care coordination and patient-centered care. Before joining Michigan Medicine, Samantha managed multiple population health policy projects at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy. She led data collection and analysis efforts to understand Pay for Success (PFS) financing models and interventions to address superutilizers of acute care. Samantha holds a master’s degree in public health from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Myra M. Tetteh is a senior analyst at CHRT. She provides project management to the Vital Seniors Initiative, a convening of multiple organizations in Washtenaw County creating actionable solutions to problems faced by seniors and their caregivers. Prior to joining CHRT, Myra worked with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation where she developed program evaluation measures for grantees, wrote and reviewed requests for proposals, and revamped multiple award programs. She also worked as a program coordinator on the translation of physical science to urban community audiences at two federally-funded research centers, Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD) and the Michigan Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities (CIAHD). In addition, Myra formerly served as the public health policy analyst at the Detroit Health Department where she coordinated multiple projects, including work on food systems and the built environment. Myra holds a doctorate in public health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

John Tsirigotis is a healthcare analyst at CHRT.  He performs data analysis and conducts research regarding health care trends in Michigan and across the nation. Prior to joining CHRT, John worked as a survey specialist with Wolverine Pathways, a University of Michigan outreach program that serves middle school and high school students throughout Michigan that hope to attend the University. In this role, he created surveys that were used for data collection and analysis in evaluating the efficacy of the program. Before moving to Michigan to attend graduate school, John served as a middle school math teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana for three years. John holds a master’s degree in program evaluation and improvement research from the University of Michigan’s School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, with a minor in mathematics, from Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

Nine lessons for the leaders of health and human services integration initiatives (and for the grantmakers that want them to succeed)

In Health Affairs’ GrantWatch column, Marianne Udow-Phillips, Kathryne O’Grady, and Phyllis Meadows share Nine lessons for the leaders of health and human services integration initiatives (and for the grantmakers that want them to succeed).

“Collectively addressing the environmental and social factors that influence health, a process known as health and human services integration, is not a new concept in the United States, but our understanding of the value of integration is far ahead of our implementation of integration,” they write. “Visionary leaders have shown that real integration is possible, that integration can effectively diminish health disparities, and that community life—and human lives—are better off when it can be achieved. Yet, significant barriers continue to stand in the way of integration, including isolated government departments, data systems that rarely “speak” to each other, and siloed funding sources—all of which have emerged organically over many years.”

To better understand the current state of health and human services integration across the United States, the Kresge Foundation and the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) at the University of Michigan embarked on an exploration of integration efforts across the country. they tracked the goals of these initiatives; the groups, systems, and programs that had been integrated; the factors that proved critical to success; the outcomes for those who are the most vulnerable (populations such as youth at risk, seniors, and those living in poverty); and, importantly, they recorded the challenges and lessons learned along the way.

Read more at Health Affairs.