Sara Jean Singer

Department Associate

Health Policy and Management


My research in the field of health care management and policy focuses on how organizational leadership and culture impact efforts to implement health delivery innovations, integrate patient care, and improve performance of health care organizations. A key feature of this research is the development of survey instruments that measure provider and patient perspectives on key interpersonal and organizational factors, enabling benchmarking and comparative effectiveness studies, rapid and reliable feedback about the effectiveness of delivery system innovations, and broader dissemination of more successful interventions. In my work, I use organizational and leadership theory and mixed quantitative and qualitative methods.

I developed and teach a course at the Harvard School of Public Health, entitled Health Care Organizations and Organizational Behavior: Leadership and Management for Learning, Innovation, and Performance Improvement, which is offered twice a year. I also teach in the Harvard PhD in Health Policy core course on the subject of “Patient Safety, Safety Culture and Safety Leadership.” In addition, I serve as advisor or dissertation committee member for Masters and Doctoral students at the School of Public Health and for junior faculty recipients of career development awards.

Previously I co-founded and served as Executive Director for the Center for Health Policy at Stanford, where I was also a Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer (1993-2003). I also served as Staff Director for the California Managed Care Improvement Task Force (1997-98), a Senior Legislative Assistant for Health Policy in the US House of Representative (1994), and Health Policy Analyst at the Office of Management and Budget (1992).


Which hospitals are best or worst? Hard to tell

Consumers using national hospital rating systems to judge the quality of particular hospitals may have a tough time doing so because those ratings often disagree, according to a new study that included two authors from Harvard T.H. Chan…

Hospitals now receiving letter grades for patient safety

Hospitals across the nation are now receiving letter grades—A, B, C, D, or F—for patient safety. The new initiative comes from The Leapfrog Group, a health quality nonprofit, which drew on expertise from a blue ribbon panel including…