Leslie Curry, PhD, MPH

Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer in Public Health (Health Policy); Associate Director Patient Centered Outcomes Research Training Program Yale-CORE; Lecturer, Yale College; Associate Director Yale Scholars in Implementation Science Training Program

Research Interests

Health Policy; Public Health; Quality of Health Care; Social Sciences; Global Health; Health Care

Public Health Interests

Global Health; Health Care Quality; Health care delivery; Health Policy; Health Services Research; Quality of care

Research Organizations

School of Public Health

Faculty Research

Global Health Studies

Yale Institute for Global Health

Research Summary

Dr. Curry’s research focuses on organizational culture, leadership, management and performance in health care systems in the US and internationally. She is an internationally recognized expert in the use of qualitative and mixed methods in public health and health services research. Dr. Curry has two decades of experience in health policy and program implementation and evaluation in collaboration with government agencies and policymakers with a primary objective of informing the development and scale up of innovative health programs and policy.

She serves on a number of editorial boards including the Journal of Mixed Methods, is a fellow at Branford College at Yale College, a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, and a member of Academy Health. She is also an elected member of AcademyHealth Methods Council and served as a Board Member of the Mixed Methods International Research Association.

Specialized Terms: Organizational culture and performance; Scale up of innovations; Social and health care spending

Extensive Research Description

Research interests include:

Innovation in hospital organizational culture and quality improvement. Leslie served as lead investigator for the first qualitative study demonstrating the importance of hospital organizational culture in performance in a clinical outcome, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) mortality. The paper drew international attention with more than 36,850 hits on the Annals of Internal Medicine website, 232 citations to date and more than 40 news stories nationally. It was foundational to the first prospective longitudinal intervention study directed at influencing organizational culture in hospitals with the goal of improving evidence-based practices and outcomes for patients hospitalized with AMI.

Development of a positive deviance approach to improve health outcomes. Together with colleagues Elizabeth Bradley and Harlan Krumholz, Leslie collaborated in the development and application of a positive deviance approach to improving health outcomes. The positive deviance approach addresses limitations of biomedical, epidemiological, quality improvement and action research combining intensive organizational-level examination using qualitative methods with the broader-scale statistical analysis possible with a large sample of organizations. The approach allows for the explicit integration of real-life implementation issues and organizational context because it seeks to characterize not just what processes and practices are present in top performing organizations but also the context in which they are implemented. This approach takes advantage of natural variation in performance, develops an evidence base through detailed organizational analysis and statistical testing of hypotheses, and supports collaboration between researcher and practitioner in ways that identify feasible solutions and foster support for dissemination and uptake of recommendations. Their paper in Implementation Science is classified as “highly accessed” (currently cited 252 times); Leslie and colleagues are now applying the method at the community level. 

Evaluation of large-scale, complex programs and interventions. Leslie has more than 20 years of experience evaluating complex health care financing and delivery programs and interventions in the US and internationally. Illustrative policies, programs and interventions include: The Partnership for Long Term Care Insurance, Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Program, Senior Care Options Program, The Patient Self Determination Act. Recent projects include Project Last Mile, a multi-country effort to translate the supply chain and logistics expertise of the Coca-Cola system to public sector medical supply chain organizations across Africa, and a realist evaluation of the Mesoamerica Salud Mesoamerica Initiativw, a large-scale,multi-country program that uses supply-side financial incentives directed at the central-level of governments, and evaluation of public, health sector performance to induce improvements in primary care performance in eight low and middle-income countries. 

Cross-organization and cross-sector collaborations to care for high need, high cost populations: Increasing evidence demonstrates that services supporting social determinants of health can improve health and reduce health care costs for older adults, particularly older adults with complex health care needs. As part of a multidisciplinary team at Yale, our recent work focuses on the structure and nature of relationships among service providers in the health care and social service sectors. Outcomes of interest include hospital readmissions, avoidable nursing home use, and costs. Current work investigates the role of Area Agencies on Aging as a mechanism for cross-sector partnerships in high-performing communities. 

Internationally recognized expertise in qualitative and mixed methods in health sciences: Expertise includes: 1) lead author on qualitative and mixed methods textbooks commissioned by Sage Publications (2014) and the American Public Health Association (2006); 2) elected member of 9-person governing board of the Mixed Methods International Research Association; 3) member of an advisory committee appointed by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health charged with defining best practices in mixed methods research; 4) co-PI on a series of grants awarded by the National Institute on Aging, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the John A Hartford Foundation designed to enhance the rigor and credibility of qualitative and mixed methods in health research; 5) ad hoc reviewer on the Health Services, Organization and Delivery study section for qualitative and mixed methods proposals; 6) regularly invited speaker in national and international settings, including as the keynote address at the International Conference on Mixed Methods in Harrogate, UK (2009); and 7) editorial board member and regular reviewer for top tier peer-reviewed journals.

Illustrative projects:

Leadership Save Lives, Culture Change in US Hospitals to Improve Performance in AMI Care, The Medicines Company

Diffusion, Dissemination, and Widespread Take Up: What Works? Gates Foundation

All-Cause Hospital Readmission Rates for Patients with Heart Failure and Acute Myocardial Infarction: What Hospital Practices Make a Difference and How Are They Adopted? Commonwealth Fund

Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative External Evaluation, Clinton Health Access Initiative and Children's Investment Fund Foundation

Strategies for Reducing Mortality after Acute Myocardial Infarction Evidence-Based Approaches to Improving Quality, AHRQ and United Health Care Foundation

Selected Publications

  • Qualitative and mixed methods provide unique contributions to outcomes research.

    Curry L, Nembhard I, Bradley E. (2009) Qualitative and mixed methods provide unique contributions to outcomes research. Bradley E, Curry L, Ramanadhan S, Rowe L, Nembhard I, Krumholz H. Research in Action: Using p

  • Attitudes, training experiences and professional expectations of U.S. general surgery residents: A national survey.

    Yeo H, Viola K, Berg D, Lin Z, Nunez-Smith M, Cammann C, Bell R, Sosa J, Krumholz H, Curry L. Attitudes, training experiences and professional expectations of U.S. general surgery residents: A national survey. Journal of the American Medical Association., 2009.; 302:1301-1308.

  • Achieving large ends with limited means: Grand strategy in global health

    Curry L, Luong M, Krumholz H, Gaddis J, Kennedy P, Rulisa S, Taylor, L, Bradley E. Achieving large ends with limited means: Grand strategy in global health, International Health:Lancet 2010; 10:82-86. doi:10.1016/j.inhe.2010.02.002

  • What distinguishes top performing hospitals in acute myocardial infarction rates?

    Curry LA, Spatz E, Cherlin E, Thompson J, Berg D, Ting H, Decker C, Krumholz HM, Bradley EH. What distinguishes top performing hospitals in acute myocardial infarction rates? Annals of Internal Medicine, 2011; 154:384-390. PMID:21403074

  • Qualitative Data Analysis for Health Services Research: Developing Taxonomy, Themes and Theory

    Bradley, E., Curry, L., and Devers, K. Qualitative Data Analysis for Health Services Research: Developing Taxonomy, Themes and Theory. Health Services Research 42(4): 1758-1772, 2007.

  • A model for scale up of family health innovations in low-and middle-income settings: A mixed methods study • Bradley EH, Curry L, Taylor L, Pallas SW, Talbert-Slagle K, Yuan C, Fox A, Minhas D, Ciccone DK, Berg D, Pérez-Escamilla R. A model for scale up of family health innovations in low-and middle-income settings: A mixed methods study. BMJ Open, 2012 Aug 24;2(4). PMCID:PMC3432850.
  • Organizational culture change in U.S. hospitals: a mixed methods longitudinal intervention study. • Curry LA, Linnander EL, Brewster AL, Ting H, Krumholz HM, Bradley EH. Organizational culture change in U.S. hospitals: a mixed methods longitudinal intervention study. Implementation Science 10:29, 2015.
  • Research in Action: Using positive deviance to improve quality of health care • Bradley E, Curry L, Ramanadhan S, Rowe L, Nembhard I, Krumholz H. Research in Action: Using positive deviance to improve quality of health care. Implementation Science, 2009; 4:25.
  • A systems approach to improving rural care in Ethiopia. Bradley EH, Byam P, Alpern R, Thompson JW, Zerihun A, Abebe Y, Curry LA. A systems approach to improving rural care in Ethiopia. PLoS One, 2012;7(4):e35042. Epub 2012 Apr 25
  • Influencing organizational culture to improve hospital performance care of patients with acute myocardial infarction: A mixed methods intervention study. BMJ Quality and Safety Curry LA, Brault MA, Linnander EL, McNatt Z, Brewster AL, Cherlin E, Fleiger SP, Ting HH, Bradley EH. Influencing organizational culture to improve hospital performance care of patients with acute myocardial infarction: A mixed methods intervention study. BMJ Quality and Safety 2017. DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2017-006989.
  • Bradley EH, Brewster AL, McNatt Z, Linnander EL, Cherlin E, Fosburgh H, Ting HH, Curry LA. How guiding coalitions promote positive culture change in hospitals: A longitudinal mixed methods interventional study. Bradley EH, Brewster AL, McNatt Z, Linnander EL, Cherlin E, Fosburgh H, Ting HH, Curry LA. How guiding coalitions promote positive culture change in hospitals: A longitudinal mixed methods interventional study. BMJ Quality and Safety 2017. DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2017-006574.
  • Patterns of collaboration among health care and social services providers in communities with lower health care utilization and costs. Brewster AL, Brault M, Tan A, Curry L, Bradley EH. Patterns of collaboration among health care and social services providers in communities with lower health care utilization and costs. Health Services Research 2017; DOI: 10.1111/1475-6883.12775.
  • Process evaluation of knowledge transfer across industries: Leveraging Coca-Cola’s supply chain expertise for medicine availability in Tanzania Linnander EL, Yuan CT, Amed S, Cherlin E, Talbert-Slagle K, Curry LA. Process evaluation of knowledge transfer across industries: Leveraging Coca-Cola’s supply chain expertise for medicine availability in Tanzania. PLoS One 2017. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186832.
  • Development and psychometric properties of an instrument to measure hospital organizational culture for cardiovascular care. Bradley EH, Brewster A, Fosburgh H, Cherlin E, Curry L. Development and psychometric properties of an instrument to measure hospital organizational culture for cardiovascular care. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2017; DOI: 10.1161/CIROUTCOMES.116.003422.
  • Leveraging the social determinants of health: What works? Taylor LA, Xulin Tan A, Coyle CE, Ndumele C, Rogan E, Canavan M, Curry LA, Bradley EH. Leveraging the social determinants of health: What works? PLoS One 2016; 11(8): e0160217. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160217.
  • Federal funding for mixed methods research in the health sciences in the United States: Recent trends. Coyle C, Schulman-Green D, Feder S, Toramin S, Prust ML, Plano Clark VL, Curry L. Federal funding for mixed methods research in the health sciences in the United States: Recent trends. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2016; DOI: 10.1177/1558689816662578.
  • What works in readmissions reduction: How hospitals improve performance Brewster AL, Cherlin EJ, Ndumele CD, Collins D, Burgess JF, Charns MP, Bradley EH, Curry LA. What works in readmissions reduction: How hospitals improve performance. Medical Care 2016; 54:600-607.
  • Interventions for reducing hospital readmission rates: The role of hospice and palliative care. Cherlin EJ, Brewster AL, Curry LA, Canavan ME, Hurzeler R, Bradley EH. Interventions for reducing hospital readmission rates: The role of hospice and palliative care. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care 2016; DOI: 10.1177/1049909116660276.
  • Variations in health outcomes across the United States: The roles of social service, public health, and health care spending. Bradley EH, Canavan M, Rogan E, Talbert-Slagle K, Ndumele C, Taylor L, Curry L. Variations in health outcomes across the United States: The roles of social service, public health, and health care spending. Health Affairs 2016; 35:760-768.
  • State variation in HIV/AIDS health outcomes: The effect of spending on social services and public health. Talbert-Slagle KM, Canavan ME, Rogan EM, Curry LA, Bradley EH. State variation in HIV/AIDS health outcomes: The effect of spending on social services and public health. AIDS 2016; 30:657-663.
  • Organizational culture in cardiovascular care in Chinese hospitals: A descriptive cross-sectional stud Yin ES, Downing NS, Singer SJ, Curry LA, Jing L, Krumholz HM, Jiang L. Organizational culture in cardiovascular care in Chinese hospitals: A descriptive cross-sectional study. BMC Health Services Research 2015; 15:569. DOI:10.1186/s12913-015-12117.
  • Integrating new practices: How hospital innovations become routine. Brewster AL, Curry LA, Cherlin EJ, Talbert-Slagle K, Horwitz LI, Bradley EH. Integrating new practices: How hospital innovations become routine. Implementation Science 2015; DOI: 10.1186/s13012-015-0357-3.
  • Attrition from surgical residency training: Perspectives from those who left. Bongiovanni T, Yeo H, Sosa JA, Yoo PS, Long T, Rosenthal M, Berg D, Curry L, Nunez-Smith M. Attrition from surgical residency training: Perspectives from those who left. American Journal of Surgery, 2015; 210:648-654. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2015.05.014.
  • Symptom recognition and healthcare experiences of young women with acute myocardial infarction. Lichtman JH, Leifheit-Limson EC, Watanabe E, Allen NB, Garavalia B, Garavalia LS, Spertus J, Krumholz HK, Curry LA. Symptom recognition and healthcare experiences of young women with acute myocardial infarction. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2015; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.114.001612.
  • Hospital strategy uptake and reductions in unplanned readmission rates for patients with heart failure: A prospective study Bradley EH, Sipsma H, Horwitz LI, Ndumele CD, Brewster AL, Curry LA, Krumholz HM. Hospital strategy uptake and reductions in unplanned readmission rates for patients with heart failure: A prospective study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2015; 30:605-611. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-014-3105-5.
  • Strategies to reduce hospital 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction: A cross sectional and longitudinal surve Bradley EH, Sipsma H, Brewster AL, Horwitz LI, Krumholz HM, Curry L. Strategies to reduce hospital 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction: A cross sectional and longitudinal survey. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2014; 14:126. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2261-14-126. PMCID:PMC4182840.
  • Strategies to reduce heart failure readmissions. Bradley EH, Curry LA, Krumholz HM. Strategies to reduce heart failure readmissions. Journal of the American Medical Association 2014;311:1160.
  • Emergency medicine residents’ experiences caring for patients who are homeless. 110. Doran KM, Curry L, Vashi AA, Platis SM, Rowe M, Gang M, Vaca FE. Rewarding and Challenging at the same time: Emergency medicine residents’ experiences caring for patients who are homeless. Academic Emergency Medicine 2014;21:673-679.
  • Achieving Integration in Mixed Methods Designs, Principles and Practices. 109. Fetters M, Curry L, Creswell J. (2013) Achieving Integration in Mixed Methods Designs, Principles and Practices. Health Services Research 2013; DOI: 10.1111/1475-6773.12117.
  • The variation in recovery: Role of gender on outcomes of young AMI patients (VIRGO) classification system: A taxonomy for young women with acute myocardial infarction Barreto-Filho JA, Lampropulos JF, Bueno H, Chaudhry SI, D’Onofrio G, Safdar B, Dreyer RP, Murugiah K, Spertus JA, Krumholz HM. The variation in recovery: Role of gender on outcomes of young AMI patients (VIRGO) classification system: A taxonomy for young women with acute myocardial infarction. Circulation 2015; 132:1710-1718. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATION/AHA. 115.016502.
  • Patients’ experiences managing cardiovascular disease and risk factors in prison. Thomas EH, Wang EA, Curry LA, Chen PG. Patients’ experiences managing cardiovascular disease and risk factors in prison. Health & Justice. 2016;4:4. doi:10.1186/s40352-016-0035-9.
  • Interventions for reducing hospital readmission rates: The role of hospice and palliative care. Cherlin EJ, Brewster AL, Curry LA, Canavan ME, Hurzeler R, Bradley EH. Interventions for reducing hospital readmission rates: The role of hospice and palliative care. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care 2016; DOI: 10.1177/1049909116660276.

Full List of PubMed Publications

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Contact Info

Leslie Curry, PhD, MPH
Office Location
Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health (LEPH)
60 College Street, Ste 310

New Haven, CT 06510
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Mailing Address
PO Box 208034
60 College Street

New Haven, CT 06520-8034

Curriculum Vitae