Dr. Valdez shared his vision for the agency and how healthcare systems might approach their common challenges.

The University of Minnesota recently welcomed Dr. Robert Otto Valdez, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), to share his vision for the agency and how healthcare systems might approach their common challenges. Dr. Valdez is an internationally recognized expert in health systems research and U.S. healthcare policy analysis. 

The event was co-hosted by the Center for Quality, Outcomes, Delivery and Evaluation (C-QODE), a center co-founded and directed by Associate Professors in the Department of Surgery, Drs. Christopher Tignanelli and Schelomo Marmor, and the Carlson School of Management’s Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI). Other sponsors included the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Center for Learning Health System Sciences (CHLSS), the School of Public Health and the Medical School. 

This high-profile visit comes on the heels of some changes in the leadership structure at the Medical School. Dean Tolar recently announced that Drs. Melton-Meaux (Director of CHLSS) and Tignanelli (Co-Director of C-QODE) would join the Medical School leadership group as Senior Associate Dean for Health Informatics and Data Science and Associate Dean for Data Science “to ensure we are able to continue to support the school and faculty at a high level, are positioned to meet the needs of the state and community, and can pursue the strategic goals we have for the School and the University.” 

When asked about the visit, Dr. Marmor mentioned the importance of building multidisciplinary partnerships and the importance of AHRQ, as a government agency, that functions to improve health care quality in the United States. Dr. Tignanelli was encouraged by the large gathering from all parts of the University and the Medical School to hear Dr. Valdez. “We helped coordinate Dr. Valdez’s visit because we hoped to energize the experts at the University and inspire them to continue working to improve healthcare quality locally and nationally by using a data-centric approach. We need to continue leading in this research space.” 

“The success of this event underscores the leadership of University of Minnesota researchers and the success of team science,” added Dr. Marmor. Dr. Valdez had two scheduled days at the University, meeting with researchers from different health disciplines and hearing about their research. 

The U of M has also proudly partnered with AHRQ through the Evidence-Based Practice Center (EPC) program since 2002. EPCs conduct systematic reviews of healthcare topics for federal and state agencies, professional associations and foundations. EPCs serve a valuable function by contributing to the consolidation of evidence and identifying actionable knowledge. 

AHRQ aims to generate scientific knowledge and evidence, move evidence into practice and provide monitoring and feedback. As a Federal entity, AHRQ has a unique role focused on health care improvement, and as Dr. Valdez shared, “Making 21st century care a reality for all Americans.”