Center for Health and Research Transformation names Terrisca Des Jardins as incoming executive director

Terrisca Des Jardins, MHSA, currently the chief operating officer for the Physician Organization of Michigan ACO (POM ACO), has been selected to become the next executive director of the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT), an independent nonprofit at the University of Michigan. Marianne Udow-Phillips, the founding executive director of CHRT, will retire at the end of the calendar year, allowing for seamless transition planning as Des Jardins will begin her appointment on October 1st.

“Des Jardins is an accomplished health administrator–one who has worked with teams to produce very positive results for the organizations she has served–and has proven leadership in building coalitions and improving health outcomes,” says Tony Denton, CHRT board chair and senior vice president and chief operating officer of the University of Michigan Health System – Michigan Medicine.

“Des Jardins brings significant expertise in collaborating with diverse stakeholders to meet common objectives while improving outcomes for underserved populations, government and nonprofit entities, and communities,” says Denton. “The Board of Directors and I believe that her leadership, collaborative approach to solving complex issues, creative spirit, and cross-disciplinary experience are important traits that will help advance CHRT’s legacy of providing evidence-based information to inform health policies and trends that improve population health across communities.”

As chief operating officer of POM ACO, an accountable care organization with 4,500 Michigan providers who participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, Terrisca Des Jardins’ efforts have helped achieve tens of millions of dollars in savings for the federal government, taxpayers, and the ACO, while improving the quality of care for Medicare enrollees.

Des Jardins also developed and implemented nationally-recognized engagement opportunities at POM ACO, establishing an advisory committee of Michigan Medicare beneficiaries who provided input to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services on a number of policy and operational concerns, including how to tackle social isolation and loneliness in the Medicare population.

“I’ve always been an admirer of CHRT’s policy work, research, and innovative demonstration projects and the holistic way CHRT works to advance the health of communities,” says Des Jardins. “I look forward to building on that legacy through cross-disciplinary and cross-stakeholder collaborations, and finding the best ways to do that in these challenging times.”

Marianne Udow-Phillips served as director of Michigan’s Department of Human Services under the Granholm Administration and as a senior executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for over 20 years before becoming the founding executive director of CHRT in 2007. She will continue to serve as an advisor to CHRT and support the success of a number of current projects after she retires from the executive director role at the end of December.

“We are deeply grateful to Marianne, as she has led the implementation of CHRT’s mission, vision and values, leading to sustained success,” says Denton. “Her leadership and vision to advance non-partisan, evidence-based policy and assure access to care for all, improve population health, and advance social justice have had an enormous impact in Michigan and beyond.”

CHRT’s 2019 impact report highlights the organization’s local, state, and national work to inspire evidence-informed policies and practices that improve the health of people and communities.

Also see CHRT’s impact report for the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI), a voluntary collaborative sponsored by Michigan Medicine and the St. Joseph Mercy Health System to improve health, health equity, and health care for Washtenaw County residents, with a special focus on the county’s low-income, uninsured, and underinsured populations.


MDHHS shares CHRT’s key analytic findings, recommendations for keeping nursing home residents safe in light of COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) created regional nursing home hubs with the goal of more safely handling COVID-19 patient discharges from hospitals. MDHHS asked CHRT to evaluate the regional nursing home hub approach and to recommend additional strategies to prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

A September 1 press release from MDHHS shares key preliminary findings and recommendations for keeping nursing home residents safe and advancing health in light of COVID-19.

CHRT’s full preliminary findings and recommendations are outlined in the September 1 presentation, Keeping nursing home residents safe and advancing health in light of COVID-19. The presentation places special emphasis on practice and policy recommendations to guide future COVID-19 nursing home responses including process, policy, structural, and administrative practices.

Review the project description for additional details about the analytic team, scope, and methodology. Review the MDHHS press release for key findings from the CHRT analysis and recommendations from the state’s nursing home preparedness task force.

U-M awards grants to six projects, including one from CHRT, that address poverty, impact of COVID-19 across Midwest

The Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network, led by Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, awarded six grants totaling $150,000 for projects to improve economic mobility and address the impact of COVID-19 throughout the Midwest. The grant program aims to accelerate collaborative community-university projects that will leverage data and apply research to have real-world impact on economic mobility. 

The Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT) is one of the six grantees. CHRT’s grant supports ongoing COVID-19 response analysis for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Council of Michigan Foundations, as well as other health-related organizations.

“We know that improving economic mobility requires action-based partnerships across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, government and universities,” said H. Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the University of Michigan. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright spotlight on economic inequality, and we need to support these strategic partnerships to improve economic mobility more than ever.”

Read the full Poverty Solutions press release

COVID-19 has transformed health and behavioral health care delivery through telehealth, but does everyone have access?

In this 25-minute webinar by Karin Teske, a senior analyst for research and evaluation at the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT), viewers will learn about the rapid advance of telehealth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teske shares telehealth use and uptake data from before the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers a glimpse of what’s changed since March 2020. She reviews new policies governing the provision of telehealth for national Medicaid clients and Michigan Medicare and commercial plan clients. She also describes who has been left out of the telehealth transformation, and what we can do to address that.

Listen to COVID-19 transforms healthcare delivery via telehealth, but does everyone have access?, one in a series of COVID-19 webinars organized by the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Note: The telehealth landscape has been rapidly evolving. For updates, please reach out to her.

CHRT to join the Michigan Health Endowment Fund’s Equitable Evaluation Initiative Collaboratory this April

In partnership with the Equitable Evaluation Initiative, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is working to build our state’s evaluation ecosystem. Over the next several months, CHRT and selected Health Fund grantees will explore Michigan health equity evaluation as part of a collaboratory that brings philanthropy, nonprofit, and consultant partners together, bridging the unique perspectives of each area.

In the first full-day session, which will take place online this April, we’ll unpack the Equitable Evaluation Framework and explore current equitable evaluation practices, pinpointing improvements to bring back to our organizations. Then, three monthly calls will allow us to reflect, guide one another, and identify areas for growth. The final full-day session in late August will bring everyone back together to share experiences from the program and plot a course forward.

“CHRT has always had a commitment to shining a light on ways that inequity disproportionately impacts particular groups in our society,” says Melissa Riba, director of CHRT’s research and evaluation team. “We see the EEI Collaboratory as a way to ensure we are using equitable and inclusive approaches and that our work reflects the tremendous diversity of the communities we serve.”


Working remotely to stem the spread of coronavirus, but fully operational and looking forward to hearing from you

To stem the spread of coronavirus, CHRT staff members are working remotely and have moved our team, client, and work group meetings to telephone and virtual platforms.

However, we are fully operational throughout this crisis and are always happy to speak with our clients and colleagues.

To reach key administrative staff, email Or connect with our individual staff members directly by visiting our team page.

What’s new at CHRT: New projects that focus on integration, work requirements reporting, and mental health

CHRT’s latest e-news features findings from recently completed research on behavioral health workforce issues in rural communities and what states are doing to address them; an introduction to our ninth cohort of health policy fellows; information about new projects that focus on integration, work requirements, and mental health; a blog from our director of research and evaluation on what we’ve learned during ten years of surveying Michiganders about health care coverage; and more.

Ninth cohort of CHRT Health Policy Fellows features diverse views, backgrounds, expertise, and more

On January 30, the ninth cohort of CHRT Health Policy Fellows will begin a four-month curriculum designed to build bridges between Michigan’s health researchers and policymakers. The curriculum includes the history of health care in America, Affordable Care Act implementation and impact in Michigan, value-based insurance design, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services priorities, collaborative quality initiatives, health care costs, and more. Many of the sessions are led by outside experts, including senior administrators at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and nationally regarded experts in health policy.

Fellows meet in Ann Arbor for seven, day-long seminars on public health policy and current issues affecting health policy and practice in Michigan and across the nation; take experiential learning trips to Detroit, Lansing, and Washington, DC, to see health policy and practice in action; and hear from health communicators and legislators about effective advocacy strategies. The CHRT Health Policy Fellows also work collaboratively on projects designed to translate new research findings for use by policymakers and practitioners.

This year, for the first time, the fellowship class will include leaders from the non-profit sector. The inclusion of policy fellows with non-profit experience is designed to further expand the perspective of the class and reflect the growing importance and increased interest of the non-profit sector in health care policy.

“The CHRT Health Policy fellowship creates a unique, multi-disciplinary environment that promotes deep learning and innovative thinking across the health care, public policy and non-profit sectors,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips, CHRT Director. “The enhanced training and connections created through the Fellowship strengthen the ability of leaders in all three sectors to have a positive impact on the health of people and communities.”

The 2020 CHRT Health Policy Fellows are:

  • Denise Anthony, Professor of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Chardae Burton, Legislative Analyst, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ramiro Galván, Chief of Staff, State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Cassidy Giltner, Legislative Assistant, State Senator Michael MacDonald (R-Sterling Heights, MI)
  • Jeremy Glick, Legislative Director, State Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia, MI)
  • Adrienne Lapidos, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Psychiatry
  • Emily Toth Martin, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Michelle A. Meade, Associate Professor, University of Michigan Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Lisa Peacock, Health Officer, Health Department of Northwest Michigan and Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department
  • Kait Skwir, Director of Policy and Special Projects, Food Bank Council of Michigan
  • Greg Toutant, Chief Executive Officer, Great Lakes Recovery Centers
  • Jen Villavicencio, MD, Clinical Lecturer, UM Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Samantha Zandee, Chief Policy Advisor, State Representative Brandt Iden (R-Portage, MI)

More information about the CHRT Health Policy Fellowship and complete biographies of all the 2020 CHRT Policy Fellows can be found at

Ten years in, Riba discusses the history and future of Cover Michigan, launched to track ACA trends


Recently, our research and evaluation team sat down for a 2020 work-planning meeting, and we asked ourselves, “what did we want to accomplish in 2020?” As our conversation focused on the year ahead, it also led me to think about the last ten years of Cover Michigan – the issues and subjects we explored, and the impact that the survey has had.

The initial concept for Cover Michigan was to conduct a consumer survey that regularly explored health, health insurance, and health care access trends across Michigan.

We developed the concept in 2009 to better understand the likely impact of the Affordable Care Act on the state of Michigan and the people who live here. Over the last decade the survey has revealed important trends about health status, health care coverage, and access to health care across populations.

Some of the topics we asked people about included insurance churning and access, satisfaction with health coverage, and participation in wellness and prevention programs – and we learned a lot.

  • In 2013, we found that Michigan’s mental health care system faced significant capacity challenges.
  • In 2015 we learned that cost, not physician choice, was the most important factor for consumers selecting a health plan. And we also learned that race and economic status were strong predictors of whether people had a flu vaccination, and that Michigan had opportunities to improve vaccination rates.
  • In 2016 we found that a substantial share of Michiganders reported having participated in wellness programs – though they perceived limited benefit from those programs – and that those who participated in mental health and stress relief programs reported the greatest perceived benefits.

And of course, it’s always gratifying when a Cover Michigan Survey brief is part of a story in the media, whether it’s regional coverage of our mental health care access survey brief in Crains Detroit or national print stories mentioning our insurance churning survey findings in The Week or The New Republic.

This partial list of the useful information that has developed from the Cover Michigan survey really just scratches the surface of what we’ve learned and shared at CHRT over the last decade.

So the survey will continue, and expand.

In the next decade, we will maintain our emphasis on learning about the health of people and communities, and we will continue tracking trends in coverage and access to care.

But we will also increase our focus on the social determinants of health; use new platforms to disseminate what we learn through the survey; and work to expand statewide partnerships that help us provide local and regional health data to inform policy decisions that positively impact the health of people in communities all across Michigan.

CHRT to support grantees of The Kresge Foundation as they advance health and human services integration

The Kresge Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in grants to five organizations across the nation to enhance their efforts to integrate their health and human services systems and create more seamless, person-centered experiences for individuals and families seeking support in cities across the country.

The Center for Health and Research Transformation serves as the foundation’s learning partner and technical assistance provider for the initiative.

Integrating health and human services systems requires changes to policies, practices, funding, data systems, values and culture, Katie Byerly, Kresge Health program officer said.

This includes implementing, aligning and improving data sharing systems; reallocating and blending health and human services funding streams; ensuring person-centered approaches; establishing shared values and goals; and creating strong and effective feedback loops for continuous quality improvement among partners.

“We believe that integrated systems move beyond crisis stabilization, triage, or treatment to accelerate social and economic mobility and health equity,” said Joelle-Jude Fontaine, Kresge Human Services senior program officer. “These systems should be informed by individuals and families and create equitable pathways to opportunity so that people and communities can thrive.”

With this funding, organizations will advance existing integration efforts that strengthen connections across health and human services systems to improve the health and well-being and the social and economic mobility of children and families.

Grantees include: