Follow Along: A Leapfrog Fellow’s Journey 

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May 17 2018

Sharmila Shankarkumar shares the first in a series of posts about her new venture as a distinguished fellow for The Leapfrog Group.


I’m excited to be a member of The Leapfrog Group’s Bruce Bradley Fellowship class this year. I’ll be blogging on our work as fellows – who we’re meeting with, what we’re learning, and how we’re moving the cause of quality and safety forward.

So, what is the Bruce Bradley Fellowship?

It’s a year-long education and training program aimed at corporate health professionals who want to take an active role in steering employees and their families to safer, higher-quality hospitals and health systems. 

Who is Bruce Bradley?

Bruce Bradley was The Leapfrog Group’s first Board Chair. On a check-in call with Leapfrog last month, Bruce told the story of how Leapfrog began.  It dates back to 2000, when Bruce who was then at GM got a call from Chuck Buck who was at GE and they gathered a group of employers together in NY to discuss the current state of healthcare. This group of pioneers, which included Arnie Milstein, now a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Clinical Excellence Research Center at Stanford University decided it was important to get the employer who is the ultimate purchaser much more engaged, to drive better performance in the healthcare delivery system. With funding from the Business Roundtable, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund, Leapfrog was launched. 

And the name Leapfrog?

It came from the goal of making giant leaps in patient safety. 

What do the fellows do?

Leapfrog’s goal with this fellowship is to educate us, help us make connections with others in the field who want to move the dial on quality and safety, and foster an atmosphere where we can learn from each other. 

The program is structured to include a series of in-person meetings and webinars, with presentations from Leapfrog, and meetings with key movers and shakers in the world of healthcare quality. At our first in-person meeting in DC, we met Shantanu Agrawal, President and CEO of National Quality Forum, Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO of ERISA Industry Committee, Mike Thompson, President and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, and Rick Gundling, SVP Healthcare Financial Management Association. These meetings are helpful in understanding how the world of quality metrics is evolving, and how purchaser priorities shape this evolution or fail to point to an opportunity. 

Join me!

Sometime mid-year, each fellow picks a project to focus on: one which uses Leapfrog Hospital Survey results or Hospital Safety Grades data to increase the safety and quality of hospital care received by their population.  Have a good idea for a project? Please send it my way – I would love to have collaborators in this exciting venture! 

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