Rachel  Hess, MD, MS

Rachel Hess, MD, MS

University of Utah Health

Chief, Division of Health System Innovation and Research

Expertise: Health SciencesInternal MedicineHealth System Innovation and Research

Rachel Hess, MD, MS is a Professor of Population Health Sciences and Internal Medicine and the founding Chief of the Division of Health System Innovation and Research (HSIR) program at the University of Utah Schools of the Health Sciences. As a clinician and Health Services Researcher, Dr. Hess brings a unique perspective of translating research into clinical and policy practice. She is the co-principal investigator of one of the original 11 PCORnet Clinical Data Research Networks, PaTH and serves as the co-Director of the Utah CCTS.

Dr. Hess’s research aims to improve patient-centered outcomes in clinical care. In service of this mission, she seeks to understand the determinants of quality of life, including sexual function, and how the health-related quality of life affects health and cost outcomes. She has conducted cohort studies in midlife women to examine the impact of menopause on health-related quality of life, including sexual functioning. She is currently following a cohort of adults over 50 to characterize the roles of intrapersonal resources, interpersonal relationships, and individual lifestyle in shaping the quality of life across transitions; and the health and healthcare-cost outcomes of quality of life.

Dr. Hess’s implementation work uses health information technology to engage patients in their care. She has examined the impact of providing patients with guideline-based feedback regarding their health behaviors and health-related quality of life on patient activation and behavior change. Dr. Hess has overseen the development and successful implementation of multiple technology-based programs in primary care. As the director of HSIR, she brings together individuals from across the University of Utah to develop, test, and implement novel approaches that improve health outcomes for the population.

Dr. Hess completed her undergraduate work in mathematics at Washington University, received her medical degree from the University of New Mexico, completed her residency training at Temple University, and completed her general internal medicine and women’s health fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh.

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“Physicians are going to need to decide how far outside the SPRINT inclusion criteria to go”


“We moved very quickly to encourage social distancing, encourage work from home policies, and encourage school closures to decrease the density of people that we have, not only in the state but also in individual areas. And by doing that we have been able to decrease the predicted rate of infection in the state of Utah, which has been wonderful. We haven’t seen the same overwhelm in our health system.”

- Newswise Live Expert Panel for May 14, 2020: Vaccine and Treatment Leaders for COVID-19

“One other thing that I think we’re seeing in Utah that we’re seeing in other places is a very high prevalence of this disease among a population that has not necessarily been accessing healthcare previously, for various socio-economic reasons. With the increased prevalence down at their Southern border, we are seeing higher prevalence’s in our lower socioeconomic neighborhoods as well, which is of course concerning not just to see how we take care of those in our community that have access to healthcare but those in our community who have not traditionally had access to healthcare.”

- Newswise Live Expert Panel for May 14, 2020: Vaccine and Treatment Leaders for COVID-19

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