MHQP Receives RWJF Evidence for Action Grant to Advance Health Equity Through Social Risk Adjustment Methods

(February 2024)

MHQP is honored to announce that we have received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Evidence for Action program, in partnership with the Cambridge Health Alliance Health Equity Research Lab. This project will facilitate an exploration of social risk factors in adjustment models, aiming to ensure fair comparisons of racial and ethnic disparities in patient experiences across organizations serving different patient populations. This work will also enable us to delve into the root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in patient experiences of care.

MHQP recently reported that racial and ethnic disparities in patient experiences continue to be pervasive in Massachusetts. Being able to account for social risk factors when comparing providers on disparities in patient experience measures is a critical piece of MHQP’s effort to create a standardized system to measure disparities across the state through our recently launched Measured Equity initiative. By leveraging MHQP’s annual statewide Patient Experience Survey, this initiative aims to enable participating organizations to compare their data against peer organizations and gain valuable insights to target efforts to reduce disparities. Once established, these comparisons will foster accountability among providers with the end goal of improving patient experiences and outcomes and decreasing racial and ethnic inequities. Recognizing that adjusting for social risk factors can have unintended consequences, the project team will engage national experts and local stakeholders to ensure the models tested achieve the desired outcomes.

The project kicks off in February 2024 and will conclude by August 2025. It will have three phases:

  1. Define principles for measuring racial and ethnic disparities in patient experiences with a workgroup of national experts and local stakeholders;
  2. Develop risk adjustment approaches to test new risk variables and possible adjustments; and
  3. Interpret results by engaging with national experts and local stakeholders.

“This project will enable us to deeply understand the underlying causes of the systemic racial and ethnic disparities in patient experiences that plague our healthcare system,” said Barbra Rabson, MHQP’s President and CEO. “It will also enable healthcare organizations to look beyond their own walls to identify solutions to address these complex issues .”

“We are honored to be part of this important project,” said Benjamin Lê Cook, PhD, MPH, Director of the CHA Health Equity Research Lab. “Ultimately, this project will increase our understanding of the effects of social disadvantage on racial and ethnic disparities in patient experience and inform best practices to account for social risk in the assessment of provider performance.”


This research was supported by Evidence for Action — a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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