Conwell Named to National Health Care Innovations Program

Jan. 4, 2012

Yeates Conwell, M.D., professor of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been selected for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Innovation Advisors Program. 

The initiative, launched by the CMS Innovation Center in October, will help health professionals enhance skills that could drive improvements to patient care and reduce costs. The first group of Innovation Advisors was announced this week.

Conwell, vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry and an internationally known researcher in suicide prevention, has helped develop a number of innovative programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of depression in the elderly. He directs the department’s geriatric psychiatry program and the Senior Health and Research Alliance.

Conwell is one of 73 individuals from 27 States and the District of Columbia participating in the Innovation Advisors Program. After an initial orientation phase, Innovation Advisors will work with the CMS Innovation Center to test new models of care delivery in their own organizations and communities. They will also create partnerships to find new ideas that work and share them regionally and across the United States.

The Medical Center will receive a stipend of up to $20,000 to support Conwell’s activities while serving as an Innovation Advisor. Funding for this initiative was made possible by the Affordable Care Act. 

The 73 individuals were selected from 920 applications through a competitive process, and include clinicians, allied health professionals, health administrators and others. By attending in-person meetings as well as remote sessions to expand their skills and applying what they learn, the Advisors will be able to deepen their knowledge in health care economics and finance, population health, systems analysis, and operations research.

“We’re looking to these Innovation Advisors to be our partners; we want them to discover and generate new ideas that will work and help us bring them to every corner of the United States,” said CMS Innovation Center Director Rick Gilfillan, M.D. 

Among other duties, the Advisors will be expected to support the Innovation Center in testing new models of care delivery, to form partnerships with local organizations to drive delivery system reform, and to improve their own health systems so their communities will have better health and better care at a lower cost.

Conwell is one of two people from the Rochester area selected for the program. The other is Deborah Peartree, R.N., M.S., clinical director of the Monroe Plan for Medical Care, which has its headquarters in Pittsford.

More information about the Innovation Advisors Program, including a fact sheet and a list of participants and their affiliated organizations, can be found at: