2019 RCRC Roundtable

Evolving the Future: Toward a Science of Intentional Change, October 11-12, 2019 Catalyst HTI, Denver Colorado

Change is happening all the time. But we are often overwhelmed by its unintended consequences. Can we get better at creating positive change intentionally, as individuals, organizations, communities, institutions, and countries, through mindful attention to the consequences of our actions? How can we embrace unintended consequences that add value, and better anticipate those that destroy value? To do so is likely to require approaches - such as human-centered design, systems thinking, collective action, and relational coordination - that are inclusive and mindful of interdependence.

At this year’s RCRC Roundtable, we will explore how to use relational approaches to intentional change to solve the most pressing challenges we face by building shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect with all relevant stakeholders, whether in healthcare, education, community health, community safety, government, or private industry.

We hope you'll join us Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12 in Denver, Colorado where innovation and change are the new normal. Our keynote speakers David Sloan Wilson (evolutionary biologist) and Christi Zuber (human-centered designer) will share their expertise and insights on designing the future using the science of intentional change.  

Stay posted for announcements of workshops to be offered before and after the Roundtable on human-centered design, and relational coordination change methods.

Who Should Attend?

Leaders, researchers and change agents who want to engage with colleagues in a multi-sectoral international community and share their ideas and methodologies in a forum to identify opportunities to apply the transformative approach of relational coordination in their own work.

"The Roundtable gave me insight towards a very concrete case I have to crack at work."

"I really enjoy that there are practitioners and researchers at the conference together. This makes for a much richer conference than just one or the other." 

"This Roundtable reminded me that I have more RC colleagues than I remember on a day to day basis. I have an RC 'functional famly' that I can lean on for ideas, advice, energy, etc."


Our venue is Catalyst Health Tech Innovation, bringing together private sector, government, academic and non-profit organizations with providers and payers to deliver impactful change through innovative research driven by design thinking.

Welcoming Activities

Our host committee will introduce us to a dynamic mix of the old and the new Colorado through welcoming activities ranging from visits with innovative organization to hiking in the nearby mountains.

1From "Evolving the Future: Toward a Science of Intentional Change" by David Sloan Wilson, Steven Hayes, Anthony Biglan and Dennis Embry, published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2013.

Register Below

If you have any issues with registering, please contact Tanya Allain at tallain@brandeis.edu.

2019 Host Committee

Host committee

Our local host committee will welcome us and show us the best of Colorado, both old and new!  

Heather Gilmartin (Denver/Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value Driven Care)

Heather Gilmartin is an investigator and nurse scientist with the Denver/Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value Driven Care, VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, School of Public Health, and adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado, School of Nursing. Her research focuses on understanding and optimizing the culture of healthcare to enhance patient safety and facilitate organizational learning. She is interested in relational coordination for communication, coordination, and teamwork are the backbone of learning healthcare systems and high-reliability organizations. Her current area of interest is the impact of relational coordination on care coordination programs in the Veterans Health Administration.

Skip Grieser (Quality and Safety Committee of the Board, Children's Hospital Colorado)

Skip Grieser is a doctoral candidate in organizational learning, performance, and change at Colorado State University. He was a career frontline air traffic controller, most recently at Denver International Airport; and was the lead developer, facilitator, and consultant for national programs in air traffic control crew resource management (CRM) and safety culture for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.  His current interests are in healthcare patient safety and clinician well-being, organization development, and helping frontline workers succeed and thrive in high-consequence industries—such as healthcare and aviation—where people's safety and lives are at stake.  Relational coordination is a major theory in the conceptual framework for his qualitative dissertation study with surgery teams, on collaboratively speaking up about safety concerns, and responding heedfully to concerns that are voiced.  

Skip serves on the Quality, Safety, and Experience Committee of the Board and on the MRI Safety Reform Steering Committee at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.  He lives in Boulder, where he enjoys trail running in the Flatirons, nature, movies, and live music.  His son John owns Elemental Energy, a solar energy company in Portland and Bend, Oregon, and Twende Solar, a global foundation.  His daughter Laura is a thriving nursing student and leader on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  

Dylan Ross (Optum, UnitedHealth)

Dylan Ross is an organizational psychologist; healthcare consultant and managing healthcare professional with over 15 years of experience helping healthcare organizations and consumers reach their highest potential. Dylan currently serves as National Director of Behavioral Health Clinical Products at Optum, UnitedHealth Group. Dylan’s doctoral research focused on the application of a collaborative team-based training model as a means to improve the effectiveness of care teams in healthcare. He is also a clinically trained psychotherapist (LPCC, LMFT).

Janet Steinkamp (Health Systems Development)

In 2015, Janet started Health Systems Development LLC in an effort to put some structure around a number of projects that she was working on in the healthcare field. As owner and senior consultant, she was leading the effort to re-establish a national non-profit associated with emergency medicine and cardiac arrest., working with Colorado's State Innovation Model grant, and local health care workforce projects.

Currently, Janet is working with the State of Colorado’s’ Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health, and the CO State Innovation Model (SIM) grant issued through CMMI. The concentration of her effort is the design and delivery of topic-specific learning opportunities that strengthen primary care - medical and behavioral - team communication and relationships. Each learning opportunity drives team performance to deliver accessible, affordable, quality and safe patient-centered and whole-patient care. To accomplish this, Janet works alongside government agencies, educators, care providers, patients, and payers to identify potential barriers and navigate the challenges of primary practice transformation. The learning opportunities for which she is responsible foster relationships leading to, trust, respect, open communication, best practice performance, team accountability, and sustainable - quality - whole-patient care.

Janet is a current Ed.D. candidate at Grand Canyon University studying Organization Leadership in Health Care Administration. Her research topic is the potential impact of training on integrating team communication in the medical home setting. Anticipated graduation is Spring of '18.

As an administrator/educator in higher education for the past 30 years, the last 12 of which focused on medical and health care education, Janet finds the principles of Relational Coordination to be highly relevant and pragmatic in the design and delivery of competency based, concise and effective team learning opportunities. In her professional experience, she has come to believe in the power of learning through training as it impacts the development of an organizational culture within which integrated primary care teams can thrive – reaching their full potential as they work to deliver the highest quality of safe, affordable and whole-patient care.

Keynote Speakers

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson is an evolutionary biologist who is known for his steadfast and highly creative support for group selection theory and the importance of altruism in a period, roughly the years 1965 to 2000, when the notion was considered beyond the pale by most biologists.  Wilson serves as a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University and as co-founder of the Evolution Institute.

Explore more about David Sloan Wilson and his work

The Evolution Institute

Wilson, D. S., Hayes, S. C., Biglan, A., & Embry, D. D. (2014). Evolving the future: Toward a science of intentional change. BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES37(4), 395-416. doi:10.1017/s0140525x13001593

The Best Schools. (2016). David Sloan Wilson Interview

Wilson, D. S. (2019). This view of life: Completing the Darwinian revolution. New York: Pantheon Books.

Synopsis: It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.”

In a series of engaging and insightful examples—from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical tool kit for understanding not only genetic evolution but also the fast-paced changes that are having an impact on our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups to our well-being as individuals to our stewardship of the planet Earth.


Christi Zuber

Christi Zuber, founder and managing director of Aspen Labs, is internationally recognized for her trailblazing work in the field of innovation and design thinking. Zuber focuses on the collaborative capabilities of change agents who have been successful in bringing Human Centered Design into large complex organizations and the evolution toward integrating innovative design processes into the fabric of the entire organization.

Explore more about Christi Zuber and her work

Aspen Labs

McCreary, L. (2010). Kaiser Permanente's Innovation on the Front Lines. HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.

Brown, T. (2015). Design Thinking. HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.

Lin, M., Hughes, B., Katica, M., Dining-Zuber, C., & Plsek, P. (2011). Service design and change of systems: Human-centered approaches to implementing and spreading service design. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DESIGN, 5(2), 73-86. 

Excerpt: "The cake model implies that talking to staff about “what to do” (conversation of action) is only valuable after giving appropriate time and effort to helping them relate to the underlying goals of the action and involving them in seeing a variety of possibilities of how to achieve that goal. Specifically, we were encouraged to spend more time talking about the issues driving the need for change, with special emphasis on whether staff could relate to those issues. Likewise, we were also encouraged to be aware of individuals that made up the collective whole."

Zuber, CD., Mood, L. (2018). Creativity and Innovation in Health Care: Tapping Into Organizational Enablers Through Human-Centered Design. NURSING ADMINISTRATION QUARTERLY, 42(1): 62-75.


Call for Abstracts

Abstracts due June 1st. We are requesting abstracts relating to research, practice or education, based on work that is either completed or in progress. We welcome submissions from multiple disciplines and methodologies.

Questions? Feel free to contact Tanya Allain at tallain@brandeis.edu with questions.

Electronic submission form

Submission Instructions

If you are interested in presenting at the Roundtable, please submit your title and abstract by June 1 using the electronic submission form. Abstract (500 words or less) should summarize your project, the context, the methodology, and your findings or expected findings. We especially encourage abstracts that are innovative and “break the mold.”

Interested in submitting a session with multiple abstracts? Submit your abstracts with the same title and distinguishing subtitles for each abstract submitted. This will flag for us that the abstracts are part of the same session.

Abstract Categories

Three categories of abstracts welcomed. Research abstracts should include research that is either completed or in progress. Practice abstracts should report on an intervention that is either completed or in progress. Teaching abstracts can include methods for teaching about relational coordination at an undergraduate or graduate level, including for example MBA, MD, RN or other professional programs, or as a theory or research method in a PhD program.

Selection Criteria

The selection committee is staffed by members of the RCRC community who are on the RCRC board, either the Research Advisory Committee or the Training and Certification Committee. They will use the following criteria.
  • Quality of the work (including scientific rigor for research abstracts)
  • Importance of the outcomes and implications
  • Novelty of the industry context and/or approach
  • Relevance to the RCRC community

Click here to see examples from past years

Acceptance Notification & Early Registration

You will be notified by June 30 at latest whether your project has been selected for presentation. Early registration ends July 15. RCRC Student Partners who have abstracts accepted will be eligible for complimentary Roundtable registration as well as a small amount of funding for travel support.


Travel Information


A discount is available at The Source hotel. Please contact Tanya at tallain@brandeis.edu for details.

Things to Do

Mission Ballroom 

Red Rocks

We will continue to add to this list! If you are local, please don't hesitate to send recommendations!


Catalyst HTI Logo

More sponsors to come!