Rachel Willard-Grace, MPH

Title(s)Associate Professor, Family Community Medicine
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Address2540 23rd Street, #5602
San Francisco CA 94110
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-1876-555X Additional info
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    Rachel Willard-Grace is the Director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care (CEPC). CEPC identifies, develops, tests, and disseminates promising innovations in primary care to improve the patient experience, enhance population health and health equity, reduce the cost of care, and restore joy and satisfaction in the practice of primary care.

    Rachel's scholarly work with Dr. David Thom has advanced the growing field of health coaching by providing the first research evidence that medical assistants acting as health coaches could improve clinical indicators, medication adherence, and experience with the healthcare system for patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She spearheaded work to understand how community health centers engage their patients as partners in quality improvement. She has contributed to policy discussions around primary care practice transformation, the well-being of primary care clinicians and staff, and the role of team-based care as a means to improve both quality of care delivered and the sustainability of the primary care workforce. She worked with Drs. Thomas Bodenheimer and Kevin Grumbach to develop the 10 Building Blocks model of high performing primary care that is now used as a practice improvement model across the United States.

    Prior to joining the CEPC, Rachel was a medical assistant, pharmacy tech, interpreter, and subsequently the executive director of a free clinic. Throughout her career, she has worked in the safety net to partner with vulnerable populations and seek better ways of providing healthcare support.

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. "They call me the 'Great Queen'": implementing the Malkia Klabu program to improve access to HIV self-testing and contraception for adolescent girls and young women in Tanzania. Reprod Health. 2024 Feb 07; 21(1):21. Willard-Grace R, Abigail Cabrera F, Bykhovsky C, Douglas K, Hunter LA, Mnyippembe A, Mgunya KH, McCoy SI, Liu JX. PMID: 38321482; PMCID: PMC10848389.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    2. Innovation in public delivery systems: How one safety net hospital implemented new heart monitoring technology. Healthc (Amst). 2024 Mar; 12(1):100732. Knox M, Huang B, Willard-Grace R, Su G. PMID: 38183883.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    3. Pulmonary Specialist-Supported Health Coaching Delivered by Lay Personnel Improves Receipt of Quality Care for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2023; 10(4):201-209. Willard-Grace R, Hessler D, Huang B, DeVore D, Chirinos C, Wolf J, Low D, Garvey C, Donesky D, Tsao S, Thom DH, Su G. PMID: 38046991; PMCID: PMC10688918.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    4. Making a Business Case for Team-Based Care. Fam Pract Manag. 2023 Jul; 30(4):31-37. Kong M, Bodenheimer T, Willard-Grace R. PMID: 37432162.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    5. The Association of Teamlets and Teams with Physician Burnout and Patient Outcomes. J Gen Intern Med. 2023 05; 38(6):1384-1392. Casalino LP, Jung HY, Bodenheimer T, Diaz I, Chen MA, Willard-Grace R, Zhang M, Johnson P, Qian Y, O'Donnell EM, Unruh MA. PMID: 36441365; PMCID: PMC10160282.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    6. Care Management For Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The Roles Of Nurses, Pharmacists, And Social Workers. Health Aff (Millwood). 2022 07; 41(7):947-954. Bodenheimer TS, Willard-Grace R. PMID: 35759701.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    7. Health Coaching Across the Stages of Vaccine Readiness and Action: A Practical Guide for Public Health Nurses. Am J Public Health. 2022 06; 112(S3):S245-S249. Harris OO, Taylor KD, Maher A, Willard-Grace R. PMID: 35679570; PMCID: PMC9184909.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    8. Virtual Trainings Effectively Prepared the Public Health Workforce to Support Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic in California in 2021. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2022 Nov-Dec 01; 28(6):720-727. Kiernan B, Alonis A, Diala JA, Willard-Grace R, Welty S, White K, Dorian A, Dunn C, Peare A, Westfall M, Shodahl S, Brickley DB. PMID: 35703296; PMCID: PMC9555584.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    9. Establishment and Evaluation of a Large Contact-Tracing and Case Investigation Virtual Training Academy. Am J Public Health. 2021 11; 111(11):1934-1938. Golston O, Prelip M, Brickley DB, Cass A, Chen L, Dorian A, Gandelman A, Keh C, Maher A, Myrick R, Reid MJA, White K, Willard-Grace R, Shafir S. PMID: 34709854; PMCID: PMC8630496.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    10. California's COVID-19 Virtual Training Academy: Rapid Scale-Up of a Statewide Contact Tracing and Case Investigation Workforce Training Program. Front Public Health. 2021; 9:706697. Brickley DB, Forster M, Alonis A, Antonyan E, Chen L, DiGiammarino A, Dorian A, Dunn C, Gandelman A, Grasso M, Kiureghian A, Maher AD, Malan H, Mejia P, Peare A, Prelip M, Shafir S, White K, Willard-Grace R, Reid M. PMID: 34434915; PMCID: PMC8381767.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsPHPublic Health
    11. Implementation and Impact of the Pulmonary Specialist Health Coach Consultation Model to Improve Care for Patients with COPD. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021 11; 47(11):739-747. Tsao S, Willard-Grace R, Wolf J, Chirinos C, De Vore D, Huang B, Su G, Thom DH. PMID: 34489189.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    12. Primary Care Clinician Burnout and Engagement Association With Clinical Quality and Patient Experience. J Am Board Fam Med. 2021 May-Jun; 34(3):542-552. Willard-Grace R, Knox M, Huang B, Hammer H, Kivlahan C, Grumbach K. PMID: 34088814.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    13. "She Showed Me How to Help Myself": A Qualitative Study of Health Coaching for Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2021; 32(1):449-462. Willard-Grace R, Masaki S, Joseph R, DeVore D, Huang B, Su G, Thom DH. PMID: 33678707.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    14. Pilot of Brief Health Coaching Intervention to Improve Adherence to Positive Airway Pressure Therapy. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020 11; 46(11):631-639. Willard-Grace R, Wolf J, Huang B, Lewis E, Su G. PMID: 32972868.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    15. Team Configurations, Efficiency, and Family Physician Burnout. J Am Board Fam Med. 2020 May-Jun; 33(3):368-377. Dai M, Willard-Grace R, Knox M, Larson SA, Magill MK, Grumbach K, Peterson LE. PMID: 32430368.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 10     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Electronic health records and burnout: Time spent on the electronic health record after hours and message volume associated with exhaustion but not with cynicism among primary care clinicians. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020 04 01; 27(4):531-538. Adler-Milstein J, Zhao W, Willard-Grace R, Knox M, Grumbach K. PMID: 32016375; PMCID: PMC7647261.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 92     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    17. Lay Health Coaching to Increase Appropriate Inhaler Use in COPD: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Fam Med. 2020 01; 18(1):5-14. Willard-Grace R, Chirinos C, Wolf J, DeVore D, Huang B, Hessler D, Tsao S, Su G, Thom DH. PMID: 31937527; PMCID: PMC7227462.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    18. Capacity to Address Social Needs Affects Primary Care Clinician Burnout. Ann Fam Med. 2019 11; 17(6):487-494. Kung A, Cheung T, Knox M, Willard-Grace R, Halpern J, Olayiwola JN, Gottlieb L. PMID: 31712286; PMCID: PMC6846269.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 24     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    19. A Longitudinal Study of Trends in Burnout During Primary Care Transformation. Ann Fam Med. 2019 08 12; 17(Suppl 1):S9-S16. Grumbach K, Knox M, Huang B, Hammer H, Kivlahan C, Willard-Grace R. PMID: 31405871; PMCID: PMC6827663.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    20. Correction to: Health coaching to improve self-management and quality of life for low income patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pulm Med. 2019 05 21; 19(1):96. Huang B, Willard-Grace R, De Vore D, Wolf J, Chirinos C, Tsao S, Hessler D, Su G, Thom DH. PMID: 31113408; PMCID: PMC6528370.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    
    21. Strategies for recruitment and retention of underrepresented populations with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for a clinical trial. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2019 02 21; 19(1):39. Huang B, De Vore D, Chirinos C, Wolf J, Low D, Willard-Grace R, Tsao S, Garvey C, Donesky D, Su G, Thom DH. PMID: 30791871; PMCID: PMC6385381.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 15     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    22. Physician Burnout and Higher Clinic Capacity to Address Patients' Social Needs. J Am Board Fam Med. 2019 Jan-Feb; 32(1):69-78. De Marchis E, Knox M, Hessler D, Willard-Grace R, Olayiwola JN, Peterson LE, Grumbach K, Gottlieb LM. PMID: 30610144.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 28     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. Burnout and Health Care Workforce Turnover. Ann Fam Med. 2019 01; 17(1):36-41. Willard-Grace R, Knox M, Huang B, Hammer H, Kivlahan C, Grumbach K. PMID: 30670393; PMCID: PMC6342603.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 88     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    24. Patient Engagement in Community Health Center Leadership: How Does it Happen? J Community Health. 2018 12; 43(6):1069-1074. Sharma AE, Huang B, Knox M, Willard-Grace R, Potter MB. PMID: 29777334.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    25. Randomized Controlled Trial of Health Coaching for Vulnerable Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2018 10; 15(10):1159-1168. Thom DH, Willard-Grace R, Tsao S, Hessler D, Huang B, DeVore D, Chirinos C, Wolf J, Donesky D, Garvey C, Su G. PMID: 30130430; PMCID: PMC6321989.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. How Is Family Medicine Engaging Patients at the Practice-Level?: A National Sample of Family Physicians. J Am Board Fam Med. 2018 Sep-Oct; 31(5):733-742. Sharma AE, Knox M, Peterson LE, Willard-Grace R, Grumbach K, Potter MB. PMID: 30201669.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. Creating and Sustaining Care Teams in Primary Care: Perspectives From Innovative Patient-Centered Medical Homes. Qual Manag Health Care. 2018 Jul/Sep; 27(3):123-129. Howard J, Miller WL, Willard-Grace R, Burger ES, Kelleher KJ, Nutting PA, Hahn KA, Crabtree BF. PMID: 29944623.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. The Impact of the Patient-Centered Medical Home on Health Care Disparities: Exploring Stakeholder Perspectives on Current Standards and Future Directions. Popul Health Manag. 2019 04; 22(2):99-107. De Marchis EH, Doekhie K, Willard-Grace R, Olayiwola JN. PMID: 29920148; PMCID: PMC6459267.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    29. Maslach Burnout Inventory and a Self-Defined, Single-Item Burnout Measure Produce Different Clinician and Staff Burnout Estimates. J Gen Intern Med. 2018 08; 33(8):1344-1351. Knox M, Willard-Grace R, Huang B, Grumbach K. PMID: 29869142; PMCID: PMC6082224.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 26     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    30. Higher Perceived Clinic Capacity to Address Patients' Social Needs Associated with Lower Burnout in Primary Care Providers. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2018; 29(1):415-429. Olayiwola JN, Willard-Grace R, Dubé K, Hessler D, Shunk R, Grumbach K, Gottlieb L. PMID: 29503309.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 22     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    31. Understanding the Potential for Patient Engagement in Electronic Consultation and Referral Systems: Lessons From One Safety Net System. Health Serv Res. 2018 08; 53(4):2483-2502. Olayiwola JN, Knox M, Dubé K, Lu EC, Woldeyesus T, James IE, Willard-Grace R, Tuot D. PMID: 28940495; PMCID: PMC6051985.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    32. Health coaching to improve self-management and quality of life for low income patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pulm Med. 2017 Jun 09; 17(1):90. Huang B, Willard-Grace R, De Vore D, Wolf J, Chirinos C, Tsao S, Hessler D, Su G, Thom DH. PMID: 28599636; PMCID: PMC5466738.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    33. Perspectives of low-income chronically ill patients on complex care management. Fam Syst Health. 2017 Dec; 35(4):399-408. Mao AY, Willard-Grace R, Dubbin L, Aronson L, Fernandez A, Burke NJ, Finch J, Davis E. PMID: 28447834.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    34. "How Can We Talk about Patient-centered Care without Patients at the Table?" Lessons Learned from Patient Advisory Councils. J Am Board Fam Med. 2016 11 12; 29(6):775-784. Sharma AE, Willard-Grace R, Willis A, Zieve O, Dubé K, Parker C, Potter MB. PMID: 28076261.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 24     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    35. Engaging patients as partners in practice improvement: A survey of community health centers. J Clin Outcome Manag. 2016; 23(7):311-319. Willard-Grace R, Sharma A, Parker C, Potter MB. View Publication.
    36. What Happens After Health Coaching? Observational Study 1 Year Following a Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Fam Med. 2016 05; 14(3):200-7. Sharma AE, Willard-Grace R, Hessler D, Bodenheimer T, Thom DH. PMID: 27184989; PMCID: PMC4868557.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 20     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    37. Costs for a health coaching intervention for chronic care management. Am J Manag Care. 2016 04 01; 22(4):e141-6. Wagner TH, Willard-Grace R, Chen E, Bodenheimer T, Thom DH. PMID: 27143350.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    38. Teamlets in Primary Care: Enhancing the Patient and Clinician Experience. J Am Board Fam Med. 2016 Jan-Feb; 29(1):135-8. Bodenheimer T, Willard-Grace R. PMID: 26769885.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    39. Strategies for Primary Care Stakeholders to Improve Electronic Health Records (EHRs). J Am Board Fam Med. 2016 Jan-Feb; 29(1):126-34. Olayiwola JN, Rubin A, Slomoff T, Woldeyesus T, Willard-Grace R. PMID: 26769884.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    40. Clinician perspectives on working with health coaches: A mixed methods approach. Fam Syst Health. 2015 Sep; 33(3):213-21. Dubé K, Willard-Grace R, O'Connell B, DeVore D, Prado C, Bodenheimer T, Hessler D, Thom DH. PMID: 25751177.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    41. Panel management, team culture, and worklife experience. Fam Syst Health. 2015 Sep; 33(3):231-41. Willard-Grace R, Dubé K, Hessler D, O'Brien B, Earnest G, Gupta R, Shunk R, Grumbach K. PMID: 25730504.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    42. Health coaching by medical assistants to improve control of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia in low-income patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Fam Med. 2015 Mar; 13(2):130-8. Willard-Grace R, Chen EH, Hessler D, DeVore D, Prado C, Bodenheimer T, Thom DH. PMID: 25755034; PMCID: PMC4369595.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 62     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    43. The panel management questionnaire: a tool to measure panel management capability. Perm J. 2015; 19(2):4-9. Rogers EA, Hessler D, Dube K, Willard-Grace R, Gupta R, Bodenheimer T, Grumbach K. PMID: 25785637; PMCID: PMC4403574.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    44. The impact of health coaching on medication adherence in patients with poorly controlled diabetes, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2015 Jan-Feb; 28(1):38-45. Thom DH, Willard-Grace R, Hessler D, DeVore D, Prado C, Bodenheimer T, Chen E. PMID: 25567821.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 33     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    45. Expanding the roles of medical assistants: who does what in primary care? JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Jul; 174(7):1025-6. Bodenheimer T, Willard-Grace R, Ghorob A. PMID: 24820220.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 29     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    46. Does health coaching change patients' trust in their primary care provider? Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Jul; 96(1):135-8. Thom DH, Hessler D, Willard-Grace R, Bodenheimer T, Najmabadi A, Araujo C, Chen EH. PMID: 24776175.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 19     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    47. The 10 building blocks of high-performing primary care. Ann Fam Med. 2014 Mar-Apr; 12(2):166-71. Bodenheimer T, Ghorob A, Willard-Grace R, Grumbach K. PMID: 24615313; PMCID: PMC3948764.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 172     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    48. Team structure and culture are associated with lower burnout in primary care. J Am Board Fam Med. 2014 Mar-Apr; 27(2):229-38. Willard-Grace R, Hessler D, Rogers E, Dubé K, Bodenheimer T, Grumbach K. PMID: 24610185.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 63     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    49. In search of joy in practice: a report of 23 high-functioning primary care practices. Ann Fam Med. 2013 May-Jun; 11(3):272-8. Sinsky CA, Willard-Grace R, Schutzbank AM, Sinsky TA, Margolius D, Bodenheimer T. PMID: 23690328; PMCID: PMC3659145.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 134     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    50. Health coaching. Virtual Mentor. 2013 Apr 01; 15(4):319-26. Ghorob A, Willard-Grace R, Bodenheimer T. PMID: 23566781.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    51. The effectiveness of medical assistant health coaching for low-income patients with uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia: protocol for a randomized controlled trial and baseline characteristics of the study population. BMC Fam Pract. 2013 Feb 23; 14:27. Willard-Grace R, DeVore D, Chen EH, Hessler D, Bodenheimer T, Thom DH. PMID: 23433349; PMCID: PMC3616979.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 26     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    52. "I don't see myself as a medical assistant anymore": Learning to become a health coach, in our own voices. i.e., Inquiry in Education. 2013; 2(4). Willard-Grace R, Najmabadi A, Araujo C, Canizalez D, DeVore D, Prado C, Ghorob A, Bodenheimer T. View Publication.
    53. The building blocks of high performing primary care: Lessons from the field. 2012. Willard R, Bodenheimer T. View Publication.
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