Meet Your 40 Under 40 Winner - Lindsay Zimmerman, PhD, MPH, Vice President, Bartosch Patient Activation Institute, Upfront Healthcare

Sept. 18, 2023
Congratulations to Lindsay Zimmerman for being named to the inaugural Healthcare Innovation 40 Under 40 awards program!

Congratulations to 40 Under 40 Winner: Lindsay Zimmerman, PhD, MPH, Vice President, Bartosch Patient Activation Institute, Upfront Healthcare

Hometown: Deerfield, IL

Someone You Look Up to in the Industry: : Dr. Kate Wolin - Dr. Wolin, a fellow Chicagoan, has deep expertise in science, entrepreneurship, and product, and also brings a focus on the patient and behavior change to all work that she does.

Favorite hobby: Traveling to new, unexplored locations

Favorite Movie of All-Time: Any Greta Gerwig film

Favorite Band or Musician: Andrew Bird 

Your Favorite thing about healthcare: 

Healthcare affects all people, is deeply personal, and is highly complex. I love digging into problems that require me to be a boundary spanner: using first principles thinking to examine core problems and synthesize key themes across multiple disciplines and stakeholders. My work in healthcare allows me to intertwine my past experiences in public health, patient care, research, data science, and technology, and work with others with diverse perspectives on a daily basis.

Why is this candidate a good fit for 40 under 40?

Lindsay Zimmerman is a healthcare visionary, solving some of the most complex social and public health challenges of our time. At 33, she leads Upfront Healthcare’s Bartosch Patient Activation Institute, an applied research center dedicated to solving healthcare's most complex challenges by combining research, data, and design with human insights to achieve best-in-class patient activation outcomes. In this role, she spearheads a specialized team committed to transforming her vision of equitable healthcare into a reality by guiding the creation and implementation of best practices and measurement frameworks that tangibly impact and reshape patient behavior. Her innovative work proactively engages patients to become active in their care, paving the way for the future of healthcare for some of the most preeminent health systems in the country.   Dr. Zimmerman is a distinguished researcher and strategic technology leader who occupies a unique position where theoretical ideas intersect with practical implementation. She seamlessly navigates between these realms, utilizing her academic expertise to translate research into tangible solutions through digital technology. With an unwavering commitment to data-driven methodologies, she leverages a human-centered approach to tackling the deep-rooted challenges faced by enterprise health systems.  Dr. Zimmerman’s leadership couldn’t come at a more pivotal time for digital healthcare: Today, 90% of hospitals and providers in the U.S. offer patient portals, but patient adoption figures plunge across specific populations, revealing stark racial gaps in portal usage. Zimmerman is closing this digital divide among patients, paving the way for a future of more effective and more equitable healthcare.  The value of these digital tools is manifold: healthcare enterprises report increased operational efficiency, higher quality care delivery, and cost savings.  Dr. Zimmerman holds a PhD in Health Informatics from Northwestern University and an MS in Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago in Epidemiology. She sat as Director of Research at Cook County Health in Chicago, where she gained a unique expertise on the impact of social factors on patient health. Dr. Zimmerman is also a co-founder of Socium Health, a NSF-funded collaborative, researching and prototyping patient engagement and care coordination solutions.

Explain this candidate’s professional accomplishments:

With 12+ years’ experience spanning multiple healthcare settings, Dr. Zimmerman has a proven track record of integrating academic research, data-driven technologies, and patient-focused care models to advance public health and improve health equity. She is a healthcare visionary, published author and thought leader whose commitment to improving patient outcomes and exceptional leadership skills have set her apart in the industry, and her leadership at Upfront couldn’t come at a more pivotal time for digital healthcare; Today, 90% of hospitals and providers in the U.S. offer patient portals, but patient adoption figures plunge across specific populations, revealing stark racial gaps in portal usage. In her role at Upfront Dr. Zimmerman is closing this digital divide among patients, paving the way for a future of more effective and more equitable healthcare.  One particular example of her recent accomplishments is Upfront’s work with OSF HealthCare, where, under Dr. Zimmerman’s leadership, the healthcare organization was able to reverse care disparities in vulnerable populations. More specifically, OSF was able to leverage the expertise and technology of Upfront to develop a scalable intervention to close breast cancer screening care gaps and get previously challenging to engage patients in for mammograms before they were overdue — preventing deaths and advanced-stage disease. Initial results included reaching 1,200 women through its targeted digital outreach program and achieving a mammogram screening rate 3.7% higher compared to patients deemed to have fewer barriers to care, reversing the disparity. OSF then went on to  extend its partnership with Upfront to proactively communicate with all patients, engaging nearly 45,000 women before they were overdue for their mammograms. This personalized approach resulted in 52% of patients scheduling their mammograms within two weeks of receiving their last personalized nudge.  Previously, Dr. Zimmerman worked as Director of Research at Cook County Health in Chicago, where she witnessed how social and neighborhood factors impact health outcomes. She saw how difficult it was for an uninsured mother, working three jobs, to afford healthy food to keep her blood pressure under control and take time off of work to attend doctor’s appointments.  Dr. Zimmerman is also a co-founder of Socium Health, a NSF-funded collaborative, researching and prototyping patient engagement and care coordination solutions. Her experiences, growing unease with the status quo, and commitment to social justice drive her to discover new ways to better address the health inequities facing Americans.

How does the candidate show commitment to the industry and bettering their professional career?

Dr. Zimmerman is a distinguished researcher and strategic technology leader who works at the nexus where theoretical ideas intersect with practical implementation. She has a demonstrable aptitude for seamlessly navigating between these realms to utilize her academic expertise and translate research into tangible solutions through digital technology. With an unwavering commitment to data-driven methodologies, she leverages a human-centered approach to tackling the deep-rooted challenges faced by enterprise health systems.  Dr. Zimmerman began her career in academia, where she was dedicated to solving the most complex healthcare data challenges by combining research, data, and design with human insights. She joined Upfront Healthcare to bring her research to fruition - integrating findings directly into the platform to bring impact at a greater scale to patients.   As a leading researcher in healthcare and health equity, Dr. Zimmerman has her pulse on the ongoing health equity challenges playing out across the industry. However, in the majority of the conversations taking place, the focus to date has remained on providers and payers. More work still needs to be done to build cross-sector partnerships to develop solutions to address the social, structural, and societal drivers of health and develop social care interventions. The success of these interventions will only occur through collaboration with the most important group that is consistently left out of these conversations: patients.   Patients with lived experiences must be included in the design and implementation of new programs to ensure they are valuable in providing all patients with the care they need and deserve.   In her role at Upfront Healthcare, Dr. Zimmerman brings a unique perspective on the patient experience that seamlessly intertwines compassion and rigorous research. She possesses a remarkable balance of analytical acumen and empathetic insight. Her continued dedication to patient-centric research places her at the forefront of the industry and shows her commitment to future efforts to improve the patient experience with innovative technologies and industry-first thinking.

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