Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Welcomes 30-Year Research Veteran Lucy Savitz as New Director

Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Welcomes  30-Year Research Veteran Lucy Savitz as New Director

Lucy Savitz, PhD, MBA, a health services researcher with decades of experience translating scientific findings into clinical practice, will join the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research as its new director in May. Savitz will replace Mary Durham, PhD, who retired in November.

Savitz is currently assistant vice president for delivery system science at Intermountain Healthcare’s Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is also a research professor in epidemiology at the University of Utah and serves on the faculty of the private, nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

“I’m excited to join CHR and to work with our partners in Kaiser Permanente’s delivery system to help bridge the gap between research and practice,” said Savitz. “Academic research has traditionally been conducted at arm’s length from clinical practice, and this can make the findings difficult to implement. To solve this problem, CHR researchers will design studies with clinicians and health plan leaders to answer real-world questions and provide real-world solutions to improve patient care.”

Savitz will oversee 41 research investigators and 243 staff members at CHR’s offices in Portland, Oregon and Honolulu. The center’s scientists focus on improving prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and mental health conditions. Researchers at CHR also study genetics, health care disparities and health care economics. The center was founded in 1964 and receives the majority of its funding from federal grants.  

In addition to leading the research center, Savitz will serve as vice president for health research at Kaiser Permanente. She will report to Andy McCulloch, regional president, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals of the Northwest.

“Dr. Savitz is uniquely qualified to lead the renowned research program at the Center for Health Research,” said McCulloch. “She has a passion for studying the effective spread of evidence-based, cost-effective delivery system models, and she brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and curiosity to this role.”  

Savitz said: “Andy McCulloch and other leaders at Kaiser Permanente have the vision necessary to support a partnership between CHR researchers and the delivery system. I’m confident that through our research, we can help to fulfill Kaiser Permanente’s mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care and improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.”

While at Intermountain Health Care, Savitz was an elected member of the board of the High Value Healthcare collaborative, an organization that works to drive transformational change in quality and payment reform. She serves on numerous committees, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Executive Leadership Council, the Academy Health Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Advisory Council, and AARP’s National Policy Council.

She started her research career in health services research in the mid ’90s at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she still holds an adjunct associate professor appointment in the Department of Health Policy & Management.

Savitz earned her PhD in health policy and administration with a minor in medical geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MBA and bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Denver.

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