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Spotlight on External Research Partner: Yumiko Dougherty

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As the former Director of Strategy for the Colorado Department of Human Services and then the Colorado Behavioral Health Administration, Yumiko Dougherty often turned to the Colorado Lab for support.

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“We would partner with the Colorado Lab knowing we would receive more than a typical research study. Yes, their research would be rigorous and infused with applicable information that policymakers were able to use right away.” Yumiko Dougherty Ignite the Change Advisors

As a result, Dougherty, who now leads the consulting firm Ignite the Change Advisors, leapt at the chance to partner with the Colorado Lab in a new way—as an external research partner. In this role, Dougherty is capturing qualitative data for the Colorado Lab’s evaluation of the Community Aging in Place Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) pilot program.

Developed by the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, CAPABLE is an evidence-based, participant-directed program that addresses both function and health care expenses. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) is partnering with the Colorado Visiting Nurses Association and Brothers Redevelopment to pilot an expanded version of the program across the Denver metro area and in El Paso, Larimer, and Weld Counties. This approach moves beyond CAPABLE’s current focus on older adults to serve individuals across the lifespan, particularly those with disabilities. An occupational therapist, a registered nurse, and a handy person collaboratively support individuals to help them remain in their homes and maintain their independence.

“We’re taking a program that has been researched nationally and trying to determine if it can be delivered effectively to an expanded population and across a diverse geographic region, particularly rural communities. It’s important to capture lessons on how this plays out for different people and communities and to look at the big picture. Even if everything is wonderful about the service, HCPF still has to make the case as a Medicaid agency that it should be added as a benefit,” Dougherty said. “I really appreciate how thoughtful the process has been for both the pilot program and the evaluation.”