Relational Coordination Research Collaborative

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Our Board

  • Kathryn McDonald

    Kathryn McDonald, Board Chair  •  Kathryn McDonald has over 25 years of experience in healthcare, working in a variety of settings – industry, hospital, and academia.  She is the Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (CHP/PCOR) at Stanford University, a Senior Scholar at the centers, and Associate Director of the Stanford-UCSF Evidence-based Practice Center (with RAND).

    She conducts research on healthcare quality and patient safety improvement, with an emphasis on building and assessing the evidence base related to measurement, interventions, and organizational context. She aims to make her research findings useful to key healthcare stakeholders — patients/families, clinicians, systems administrators, and leaders. Her research portfolio includes numerous peer-reviewed publications, initial and ongoing development of the publicly released Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Quality Indicators (, reviews of patient safety practices (Making Healthcare Safer I and II), two series of evidence reports on quality improvement strategies for national priority topics (Closing the Quality Gap, Quality Kaleidoscope), creation of the Care Coordination Measures Atlas, and development of the Care Coordination Quality Measure for Primary Care (CCQM-PC).

    Building on her longstanding commitment to patient safety and quality, she recently served on the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) Committee on Diagnostic Error in Healthcare that produced the report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care,  chaired the Patient Engagement Committee of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, and has led the Network of Patient Safety Databases contract team for the AHRQ Patient Safety Organization Program. She is a Past President of the Society for Medical Decision Making, holds a PhD in health policy (organizations and management specialty) from University of California Berkeley, an MM/MBA from Northwestern University, and a BS in chemical engineering from Stanford University.

  • Jody Hoffer Gittell

    Jody Hoffer Gittell   Jody Hoffer Gittell is a professor of management at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  She founded the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative, bringing scholars and practitioners together to help organizations build relational coordination for high performance.  She co-founded a university spinoff called Relational Coordination Analytics Inc. offering measurement and intervention support to organizations seeking to improve their performance, and serves as its Chief Scientific Officer.

    Gittell has developed a theory of relational coordination, proposing that highly interdependent work is most effectively coordinated by frontline workers with each other, their customers and their leaders, through relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect, supported by frequent, timely, accurate, problem-solving communication.  The theory of relational coordination has two central propositions: 1) relational coordination drives quality and efficiency performance outcomes along with client and worker well-being, under conditions of interdependence, uncertainty and time constraints; and 2) organizational structures support or undermine relational coordination and its associated performance outcomes, depending upon their design.  Gittell's relational model of organizational change has extended the theory to address how organizations and their stakeholders increase relational coordination to achieve their desired outcomes, proposing three types of interventions needed to do so - relational and work process interventions, as well as structural interventions.

    Gittell's research is published in a wide range of scientific journals, for example Management Science, Organization Science, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Human Resource Management Journal, Human Resource Management, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Health Services Research, Journal of Nursing Management, Medical Care, Health Care Management Review, Journal of Interprofessional Care, and Journal of Air Transport Management.  She has published five books, most recently Transforming Relationships for High Performance: The Power of Relational Coordination (2016).  Gittell received her PhD from the MIT Sloan School of Management and taught for six years at the Harvard Business School before joining Brandeis in 2001.  She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Endowment for Health, as Treasurer for Seacoast NAACP, and on the Editorial Review Board of the Academy of Management Review

  • Karen Albertson

    Karen Albertsen  •  Karen Albertsen is a partner, researcher and consultant in the Danish company, Team Working Life.  She was educated as a psychologist at the University of Copenhagen and received her degree in 1991.  Her Ph.D. thesis was on the topic of motivation and health behaviors. From 1999 to 2011 she was employed as a researcher and later as a senior researcher at the National Centre for Working Environment in Denmark. Within the area of the psychosocial work environment, she has conducted research projects on a range of topics as work-life balance, working time arrangements, work without boundaries and work in the public sector. She has been the project manager of the research project: "Relational Coordination in Everyday Rehabilitation," conducted between 2012 and 2014, and is at present involved in a couple of projects involving the measurement and development of RC.

  • Martin Connor

    Martin Connor  •  Professor Martin Connor is currently the executive director of the Centre for Health Innovation, a collaborative venture between the Griffith University and the Gold Coast Hospital & Health Service (GCHHS), and an executive director of the GCHHS. Connor has previously served as senior adviser to the Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland where he established the Special Delivery Unit to improve healthcare system performance.  Prior to that he was awarded one of the 2010 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellowships in Healthcare Policy and Practice and studied high performing integrated delivery systems in the United States of America (USA) from the Centre for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University.  Previously Connor served as Deputy CEO of Trafford Primary Care Trust in North West England where he led the development of a nationally recognised integrated care strategy.  Connor has also served as Special Policy Advisor, Northern Ireland, and Associate Director (Health Reform), Greater Manchester, as well as serving as Modernisation Manager for the Manchester Health Authority.  Connor has recently published on the health reforms in England and on the importance of decentralised approaches to foster innovation.  Professor Connor's present work is in the following areas:   Integrated Care – designing and leading a major clinical systems redesign that includes fourteen primary care clinics covering a population of about 150,000.  Management Information System – delivering high frequency patient level automated web based analytics to improve performance.  Relational Quality Improvement – using Relational Coordination with formal quality improvement support across four major clinical teams within the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service.  Leading the Innovations programme for the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, developing commercialisation strategies for research teams and actively engaging in research associated with these areas.

  • Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

    Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld  •  Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld is a professor in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University where he leads research on agile institutions and teaches classes on strategy and operations. His primary focus is to enable institutions to operate effectively at a time of accelerating change, increasing complexity and growing polarization among stakeholders. His work encompasses the transformation of long-standing institutional arrangements and the establishment of new institutional arrangements in biomedicine and regional innovation networks. Joel is co-author of seven books and over eighty-five articles on new work systems, organizational learning and change. Joel holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Relations from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a B.S. in Labor Relations from Cornell.

  • Marjorie Godfrey

    Marjorie Godfrey  •  Marjorie M. Godfrey, PhD, RN, is Co-Director of The Dartmouth Institute Microsystem Academy and Instructor for The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire. Godfrey is a national and international leader of designing and implementing improvement strategies targeting the place where patients, families and care teams meet-the clinical microsystem. She leads as Institute for Healthcare Improvement faculty, Improvement Advisor with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and has collaborated extensively with the Veteran’s Administration Health System to improve front line care through adaptation of clinical microsystem applied theory.

    Dr. Godfrey is currently serving on three national expert panel appointments including the McColl University/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and The National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. Her primary interest is engaging interprofessional health care professionals in learning about and improving local health care delivery systems with a focus on patients, professionals, processes and outcomes. Her doctoral studies have focused on the phenomena of coaching interprofessional teams in health care improvement.

    Dr. Godfrey has worked with health systems in the United States, Sweden, Canada, Norway, France, Kosovo, Tunisia, Chile, Ireland and the United Kingdom. She collaborates with senior leaders in Qulturum, The Jönköping Academy, and Jönköping County in Jönköping, Sweden, to support innovation and transformation of their health care system using clinical microsystem processes and frameworks. She co-leads the International Clinical Microsystem Network with Sweden. She is co-author of the best selling textbooks, Quality by Design (2007, Jossey-Bass) and Value By Design (2011, Jossey-Bass) and the lead author and architect of the Clinical Microsystems “A Path to Healthcare Excellence” series and the Clinical Microsystem website,

  • carsten hornstrup

    Carsten Hornstrup •  Carsten Hornstrup, PhD, is Managing Director of Joint Action, an innovative consulting firm in Aarhus Denmark. He has an MSc in Political Science and an MSc in Systemic Leadership and Organization Studies. He recently completed his PhD on the topic of Strategic Relational Leadership, with inspiration from Social Capital Theory and Relational Coordination Theory.    

    Hornstrup is working to develop Appreciative Inquiry further, both as a theory and an organizational practice. Kenneth Gergen, Humberto Maturana, Gregory Bateson, Peter Lang and others inspire his work on theory. His practice focus is to develop Appreciative Inquiry to be a constructive way of working with important and difficult conversations in organizations and - on the other hand, as a powerful approach to innovation activities.  He is author and co-author on a number of books and articles on Leadership issues. Most recently he has coauthored the book titled Developing Relational Leadership (Taos Publishing), and in Strategisk Relationel Ledelse (published in English under the title Strategic Relational Leadership).    

  • Claus Jebsen

    Claus Jebsen  •  Claus Jebsen is a trained psychologist, educated at the University of Bergen, Norway. Working as an organizational psychologist, his main aim is to assist organizations of great complexity to make their strategy work. Very often, this requires cross-sectional collaboration, which puts an extra demand on leadership at the individual, relational, group and system level. Claus enjoys operating in this diverse and complex context. Claus has been the managing partner of the Institutt for Medskapende Ledelse (which translated would be, Institute of Co-Creative Leadership) since 2008. This company offers organizational and leadership development to small and large public and private organizations. 

  • Luci Leykum

    Luci Leykum  •  Dr. Leykum is a health services researcher at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System / University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  Her work has focused on relationships and sensemaking among inpatient teams and their association with outcomes of hospitalized patients, though her recent work also includes relationships and sensemaking in the primary care context. She serves as Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of General and Hospital Medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.


  • Curt Lindberg

    Curt Lindberg  •  Prior to his current role, Curt founded and served as President and Chief Learning and Science Officer of Plexus Institute, an organization devoted to fostering the health of individuals, families, communities, organizations and our natural environment by helping people use concepts emerging from  the new science of complexity. His work to understand complexity science concepts and their relevance to healthcare began in the mid 1990s during his tenure as President of VHA of New Jersey, a network of 19 not-for-profit hospitals.

    Lindberg earned a masters degree in healthcare administration from the George Washington University and a doctorate in complexity and organizational change from University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Ralph Stacey was his doctoral dissertation advisor. Lindberg has played an important role in bringing complexity science concepts into healthcare and management. He has written numerous articles and coauthored several books, including Edgeware: Lessons from Complexity Science for Health Care Leaders and On the Edge: Nursing in the Age of Complexity.

    In 2004 he helped introduce the social and behavioral change process, Positive Deviance (PD), into healthcare in North and South America and served as principal investigator on the first significant multi-hospital application in the US. He has served as an advisor on PD projects in the US, Canada and Colombia South America on such issues as blood stream infection prevention, case management, palliative care, MRSA prevention, and pain management. Lindberg has written and spoken extensively about PD in healthcare and coauthored the first book about Positive Deviance in healthcare - Inviting Everyone: Healing Healthcare through Positive Deviance. His article,"Leadership in a Complex Adaptive System: Insights from Positive Deviance," was awarded the Best 2012 Paper by the Academy of Management Organization Development and Change Division.

    In recent years he has been active in developing and diffusing Relational Coordination theory in healthcare. Currently he is working on Relational Coordination-informed initiatives to improve the quality of care in an intensive care unit, in a family medicine practice, in case management process in a large health insurer, and in joint replacement surgery. He is also helping to integrate Relational Coordination into efforts to foster high levels of collaboration throughout a large health system.

  • Anna Perlmutter

    Anna Perlmutter  •  Anna Perlmutter is a researcher and consultant working to effect positive, systemic change in mission-based organizational networks. For over a decade, Anna has worked at the intersections of research and practice to explore the dynamics of inter-organizational collaboration, leveraged technology and infrastructure, shared resources, and work-place coordination and co-production in complex cross-sector systems. As a current Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, she is focused on improving the capacity of social mission organizations, particularly those engaging in multi-stakeholder, whole-systems change efforts. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Anna was Research and Development Specialist at the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative (RCRC) at the Heller School and has served on the Research Advisory Board for the RCRC for the past several years. Anna received an MBA in Nonprofit Management at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management and a BA in Literature at New College of Florida. She lives in Cleveland, OH with her husband, child, three cats, and a few hundred traveling couch-surfing guests who come through town each year. Contact her at:

  • Diane Rawlins

    Diane Rawlins  •  Diane B. Rawlins, MA, LMHC, founder and president of InsideOut Consulting, LLC, partners with healthcare leaders and their teams to meet today’s complex challenges and unprecedented opportunities. She strengthens leaders’ capacity to transform organizations by providing them with structured approaches for mindfully achieving outcomes, forging collaborative relationships with diverse stakeholders, developing a mature understanding of self and purpose, and acting with integrity in charged conditions.

    Diane has been working for over 25 years as a consultant, coach, 
facilitator and teacher with healthcare leaders and practitioners in the US,
 UK, and Canada. An early participant in the formation of the positive organizational psychology movement, she collaborated with David Cooperrider as a founding partner of Appreciative Inquiry Consulting, LLC, a global consultancy committed to creating positive transformation in organizations and communities.

    In 2001, Diane co-founded Leading Organizations to Health, a nationally acclaimed institute on leading change in healthcare, where she continues to serve as senior faculty. She also works closely with Parker J. Palmer as a national facilitator for the Center for Courage & Renewal, where her focus is on fostering personal and professional renewal, integrity, and leadership skills for serving professionals. In addition, she is an affiliate of Cambridge Leadership Associates, the organization that grew out of the work of Dr. Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky, and a certified professional partner of the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative, based at Brandeis University.

    Originally a psychotherapist, Ms. Rawlins holds a BFA from the University of Michigan and a MA (psychology) from the University of Louisville, and has post-graduate training in both psychology and organizational development. She and her family live in Seattle, WA.

  • Dale Collins Vidal

    Dale Collins Vidal  •  Dale Vidal, MD, MS is the Executive Director of the Multi-Specialty Clinic (MSC) at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital.

    Dr. Vidal spent the previous 21 years practicing at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where she served as the Chief of Plastic Surgery and the Medical Director of the Center for Shared Decision Making. She also served as a Professor of Surgery at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. 

    Dr. Vidal attended Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA and received her post-doctoral education at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. She also received her Master of Science from the Geisel School of Medicine, Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences (now the Dartmouth Institute.)

  • Nancy Whitelaw

    Nancy Whitelaw  •  Nancy Whitelaw is a Registered Nurse, having received both her baccalaureate and graduate degrees in Nursing Science from Western University, London Ontario Canada.  During her nursing career, Nancy has worked in a variety of clinical departments, primarily in the hospital sector, from frontline to program leadership positions. Since 2002, Nancy has been working in the patient safety field, bringing together her knowledge and experience in healthcare management with safety culture concepts to develop effective new approaches to improving performance in the safety and quality of healthcare services. Nancy is currently Director of Research and Development at Salus Global. For more than 12 years, Salus Global has been recognized as the world leader in helping healthcare organizations achieve better clinical, economic and operational outcomes. A specialty consulting and implementation firm, Salus Global helps healthcare organizations improve performance and quality outcomes through increased interprofessional collaboration. Under the leadership of Salus Global's experienced team, clients have seen significant reductions in adverse events, measurable reductions in costs and improved teamwork and communications across all disciplines.

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