ImpactU: Improvement Science Leadership


Academic outcomes for students in the U.S. have been at a standstill for decades, and all reform efforts to date have failed to produce systemic change. In Cincinnati, health and education outcomes for children and students have improved. But, there is still a long way to go to ensure that every child thrives.

StrivePartnership, a consortium of cross-sector leaders - representing organizations along a cradle to career learning continuum - have developed and improved a set of shared academic milestones through collaboration, resource alignment and the use of data to drive student-centered practice. 91% of the indicators related to the Partnership's shared outcome are trending in the right direction.

CCHMC is a nationally recognized leader in improving child health and wellbeing through the application of Quality Improvement (QI). The institution leads and suppports 7 national improvement networks that involve 180 organizations and 390 sites of care in the United States and United Kingdom. In the past 5 years, CCHMC has also developed and led significant community partnerships and local collaborations to improve the health of children in Cincinnati.

Building on over two decades of collective experience driving collaborative improvement efforts, CCHMC and StrivePartnership have created a best-in-class training to build the capability of systems leaders to accelerate improvement toward a shared goal that all children in Cincinnati thrive.

ImpactU: Improvement Science Leadership

ImpactU leverages curriculum CCHMC has used for nearly 10 years to develop over 520 QI leaders. The curriculum was then custom-tailored to support the change effors of school, non-profit, and agency partners by adding focus areas that StrivePartnership and other communities throughout the StriveTogether Network have found necessary to drive change in the social sector such as Results Based Leadership, and a relentless focus on equity with practices aimed at reducing disparities.

The program is based on CCHMC's Intermediate Improvement Science Series (I2S2). To date, the I2S2 course has developed over 520 QI leaders, with 88% of I2S2 projects driving real-time results by the end of the course. Personal coaching between class sessions helps maximize learning and translate classroom teaching into action.

The Starting Block

As Uma Kotagal, Senior Vice President at Cincinnati Children's explains, "In healthcare, we focused on eliminating serious safety incidents in which a child is irreparably harmed. In education, the serious safety incident is a child not reading on grade level by third grade. That's the event that changes the trajectory of their entire lives." As such, an Early Literacy Network has been formed in Cincinnati. Testing and learning through this initial network will be supported by the leaders trained in ImpactU.

Cohort 1 kicked off November 9th, 2015 and was comprised of 15 high-level leaders from Cincinnati Public Schools, Head Start, Urban League, LISC, Cincinnati Children's, as well as many other leading agency partners working on early literacy and community health.

Over the course of 6 months, the students attended 9 full day learning sessions. In between each session, the students worked on their projects and received targeted coaching from CCHMC QI consultants. At the end of the course, there was an evaluation of the program based on participant experience, percentage of projects sustaining 6 months after the course ended, as well as the percentage of participants who successfully completed or sponsored another project. Cohort 4 begins November 1, 2018.

For more information, please contact Angie Okuda at

To view our Continuous Improvement Equity Principle documents, please click here.