Relational Coordination Collaborative

Our Board

John Paul Stephens, Board Chair

Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University

John Paul (J.P.) Stephens, PhD is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, John Paul completed degrees in Psychology at Morgan State University (B.S.) and in Organizational Psychology (M.S. and Ph.D.) at the University of Michigan. J.P. studies work relationships and coordination in groups, focusing on how what individuals and teams perceive about their behaviors shapes complex interdependent work. This research has centered on the felt dynamics – emotions and aesthetic experience - that comprise individuals’ experience of relating with others in their work relationships and teams. His research has found that these felt dynamics interplay with cognitive (e.g. attention) and behavioral processes (e.g. contributing actions or information) to enable group coordination, performance, and resilience. His current research, funded by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, focuses on the development of high-quality relationships, teamwork and coordination on large construction sites.
Kathryn McDonald, Past RCC Board Chair

Kathryn McDonald, Past Chair

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Patient-safety expert Kathryn McDonald explores what makes for safe, affordable, and high-quality health care delivery systems and the factors that prevent health organizations from achieving that standard of care. Her research relies on close partnerships with frontline teams, including patients and families. As the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Systems, Quality and Safety, Dr. McDonald holds primary appointments in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing and joint appointments in the Carey Business School and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. McDonald also has affiliations with the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, and Hopkins Business of Health Initiative. Before joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. McDonald was founding executive director of the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine and executive director of Stanford’s Center for Health Policy.  She received her PhD from University of California, Berkeley.
Barbara Belk, RCC Board Member

Barbara Belk

Acting Director, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Rendelle Bolton, RCC Board Member

Rendelle Bolton

PhD Candidate, Health Policy, Brandeis University

I am a PhD Candidate in Health Policy at Brandeis University and a co-investigator at VA's Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research. In my research, I use multiple methods to investigate the implementation and coordination of person-centered approaches in healthcare from a multilevel systems perspective. The goals of my research are to understand how organizational and system contexts inform implementation of culturally transformative healthcare initiatives, influence interdisciplinary coordination for complex conditions such as chronic pain, and contribute to interpersonal dynamics within patient-provider relationships. I am particularly interested in how relational coordination can inform implementation of complex multicomponent initiatives in healthcare, and be a lens through which to understand patient-centered care coordination for patients with complex needs. Currently, my research focuses on key three areas:

  • Characterizing how organizational factors influence the implementation of VA's Whole Health System of Care, a whole person healthcare model encompassing both person-centered care and integrative medicine approaches
  • Understanding how individual, relational, and organizational factors contribute to adoption and use of nonpharmacologic treatments for chronic pain
  • Understanding how different models of care influence patient-provider relationships and communication, including shared decision-making, and relationships among teams to address complex clinical needs including lung cancer, HIV, and endocrine conditions
Samer Faraj, RCC Board Member

Samer Faraj

Professor, Canada Research Chair in Technology, Innovation & Organizing, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Samer Faraj is a professor at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, an associate member of the McGill Department of the Social Studies of Medicine, head of the research group on Complex Collaboration and serves as director of the Faculty’s PhD program. His current research focuses on complex collaboration in healthcare and on how emergent technologies are transforming coordination and allowing new forms of organizing to emerge.

Dr. Faraj has won multiple best published paper awards; most recently the AOM OCIS division 2021, 2018, 2016 Best Paper Award; the AOM Healthcare Management Division 2018 Best Theory to Practice Award; the FNEGE 2018 Prix Académique de la Recherche en Management as well as  McGill’s 2022 Henry Mintzberg PhD Teaching and Mentorship Award. Institutions such as SSHRC, NSF, IBM, the Fulbright foundation, and the Government of Quebec have funded his research. He is currently a Fellow at the Judge School University of Cambridge and has been a visiting professor at HEC-Paris, VU University, and a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the American University of Beirut.

Jody Hoffer Gittell

Jody Hoffer Gittell

Faculty Director, RCC; Managing Board Member, RC Analytics; Professor, Brandeis University

Jody Hoffer Gittell is Professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, Faculty Director of the Relational Coordination Collaborative, Co-Founder and Board Member of Relational Coordination Analytics. To understand how diverse stakeholders achieve their desired outcomes in coordination with each other, Gittell developed Relational Coordination Theory, proposing that highly interdependent work is most effectively coordinated through relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect, supported by frequent, timely, accurate, problem-solving communication. The Relational Model of Organizational Change shows how stakeholders can design structural, relational and work process interventions to support more effective coordination of their work. Gittell is currently exploring the relational dynamics of multi-stakeholder change in ecosystems.

Dr. Gittell currently serves as treasurer for Seacoast NAACP, on the board of trustees for Greater Seacoast Community Health, on the editorial board of Academy of Management Review, on the leadership team of the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management, Academic Fellow at MIT Center for Information Systems Research, Chair of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate, and on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Integrating the Human Sciences to Scale Societal Responses to Environmental Change. She received her BA from Reed College, and her PhD from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Lauren Hajjar, PhD'16, RCC Board Member

Lauren Hajjar

Assistant Professor, Suffolk University

Lauren Hajjar is Assistant Professor in Suffolk University’s Institute for Public Service.  She specializes in organizational change and relational practices that support high performing teams, organizations and communities. Her research has explored the coordination of inter and intra-organizational work in multiple contexts across the United States and in collaboration with colleagues from around the globe. Her recent research themes include organizational development and change, coordination, relational practices and policy implementation.

Dr. Hajjar is skilled in quantitative and qualitative analysis and uses diverse methodologies to answer research questions, including ethnographic methods such as interviews, focus groups, participant observation and field-based surveys. She has presented her research in papers and symposia at the Annual Meetings of Labor and Employment Relations Association, Academy of Management and other international forums. Previously, Hajjar was the Director of Research at the Relational Coordination Collaborative at Brandeis University, a Research Fellow at the Moakley Center for Public Management and Lecturer at Suffolk University. Prior to her academic roles, Dr. Hajjar spent a decade providing services to adults with disabilities and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in the nonprofit sector.

Carsten Hornstrup, RCC Board Member

Carsten Hornstrup

CEO, Joint Action Analytics

Carsten Hornstrup is CEO at Joint Action, a Scandinavian based consultancy and action research company, specialized in building strategies and advise leaders on building coordinated processes around very complex welfare challenges. He holds a MSc in Political Science and a PhD on building capacity for change. Together with his colleagues in Joint Action, he works with welfare organizations in Scandinavia and the US. He is a member of the Relational Coordination Collaborative Advisory Board. His primary research interest is how leaders at all levels can support stronger and more coordinated welfare services.
Khwezi Mbolekwa, RCC Board Member

Khwezi Mbolekwa

Lead Consultant, Calgary Police Service; CEO, Collaborative Leadership Works, Inc

Dr. Khwezi Mbolekwa, PhD, MA, MHSA, CPHR, CHE, Certified Diversity Coach, is a dynamic transformational change advocate for an inclusive, healthy, respectful, and safe workplace environment crucial to unleash the creativity and innovation to drive performance and results. Grounded in organization systems, transformational culture change, employee engagement, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism, Dr. Mbolekwa uses operational acumen to implement the vision and strategy in large complex healthcare systems, post-secondary education, and non-government organizations.

Khwezi is the Lead Consultant in the Calgary Police Service Anti-Racism Program, uses the seven elements of Relational Coordination to help teams more clearly focus their operational tasks in service of achieving strategic objectives. Previously Khwezi was the Organization Lead, Anti-Racism for the City of Calgary, where he was responsible for introducing the Racial Equity Assessment Model to evaluate the City of Calgary's organizational systems, policies, and processes through a D&I framework lens, and created and delivered the Executive Leadership Teams’ Journey of Becoming Anti-Racist Leaders.

Khwezi serves as a Strategic Advisor to the Black Physicians Association of Alberta and Curriculum Advisor for the Relating Across Differences course. Khwezi serves as Adjunct Faculty in the School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University, and holds a PhD in Organizational Systems focusing on Organizational Culture and Systems Transformation.

Darren McLean, RCC Board Member

Darren McLean

Principal Advisor, Clinical Teaming, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service

Darren works as a Principal Advisor, Clinical Teaming, at Gold Coast Hospital and Health Services in Australia. In this role, Darren plans and implements a range of hospital-based initiatives to improve the efficiency of care delivery. His work includes applying Relational Coordination to improve how individuals and groups work together to coordinate the provision of clinical care within the hospital that he works.  

Darren worked as Registered Nurse for over 10 years before turning to health improvement project work 15 years ago. He has a Bachelor of Nursing Science and a Master of Public Health, and is competing a PhD part-time at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. His PhD thesis examines how contextual factors such as the economy, professions, and gendered work affects the implementation of a Relational Coordination designed to improve patient centred care.   

Ingrid Nembhard, RCC Board Member

Ingrid Nembhard

Fishman Family President’s Distinguished Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Ingrid M. Nembhard, Ph.D., M.S., is the Fishman Family President’s Distinguished Professor, Professor of Health Care Management, and Professor of Management (Organizational Behavior) at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on how characteristics of health care organizations, their leaders, and staff contribute to their ability to implement new practices, engage in continuous organizational learning, and ultimately improve quality of care. She uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to examine health care delivery from provider and patient perspectives, and to evaluate organizational performance. Her research has provided and continues to provide insights about how health care leaders manage change, the role of psychological safety in organizations, teamwork within and across organizations, strategies for improving patient experience, and organizational efforts to learn new clinical and operational practices. 

Prior to joining the faculty at the The Wharton School, she was the Ira V. Hiscock Tenured Associate Professor at Yale School of Public Health, Associate Professor at Yale School of Management, and Associate Director of the Health Care Management Program at Yale. Dr. Nembhard received her Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management, with a concentration in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University through a joint program between Harvard Business School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She received her M.S. in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University School of Public Health, and her B.A. in Ethics, Politics and Economics and in Psychology from Yale University.

Olawale Olaleye

Human Capital Consultant, Deloitte; Consultant, RC Analytics; Post Doctoral Fellow, Brandeis University

Wale Olaleye is a Pharmacist, a Human Capital Consultant for Deloitte, a Consultant for Relational Coordination Analytics, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He received a PhD in Social Policy at The Heller School, an MBA with a focus on Health Systems Management from the Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and his Pharmacy degree from the University of Ibadan Nigeria. Olaleye studied interprofessional teams at Beth Israel Lahey Medical Center in Boston where he identified workforce diversity as an impediment to effective communication and relationship building between and within teams. His dissertation focused on the use of Relational Coordination principles to uncover professional and social identity-related discrimination on health care teams. 

He now serves as Co-Principal Investigator on Relating Across Differences - An Improvement Process for Clinical Units, funded by the Josiah Macy Foundation, implementing the results of his research in three U.S. health systems over a three-year period. Prior to joining the Heller School, he worked at Steward Health Care System of Massachusetts and Care New England Corporate of Rhode Island as a Hospital Manager. He has also worked as a Clinical Pharmacist at government-owned hospitals in Abuja, Nigeria. His research interests include team-based care, diversity equity and belonging, opioid policy, performance of healthcare organizations and issues related to the healthcare workforce.

Inger-Marie Weigman, RCC Board Member

Inger-Marie Weigman

Work Advisor and Development Consultant, Team Working Life

Julius Yang, RCC Board Member

Julius Jong Yang

Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Dept. of Medicine; Senior Medical Director of Clinical Operations and Data Analytics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Yang is Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Medicine, and Senior Medical Director of Clinical Operations and Data Analytics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  He works clinically as an academic Hospitalist, and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Recent areas of healthcare focus include transitions of care, interprofessional collaboration, throughput optimization, drug shortage management, and hospital pandemic response.  

Dr. Yang received his MD degree from University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1997, after earning his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993.  He completed internship and residency at BIDMC, served one year as Primary Care Chief Medical Resident, and then joined the Hospital Medicine program in 2001.  He has completed fellowships in both medical education and patient safety leadership.  Past awards include the Herrman L. Blumgart Faculty Award in 2005 for his contributions to housestaff education, the BIDMC Robert M. Melzer Leadership Award in 2006, the Katherine Swan Ginsberg Faculty Award for Humanism in Medicine in 2016, and the S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center from Harvard Medical School in 2019.