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Hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the IHI Scientific Symposium aims to attract the best work in the science of improvement in health and health care. The event takes place on Monday, December 6th, 2021, as a pre-conference day of the IHI Forum. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing effects, the Symposium is held virtually this year. The conference aims to attract high quality scientific work and a community of improvement researchers and practitioners who come together to explore how improvement science and methods can be used to effect meaningful change in health and health care. The IHI Scientific Symposium focuses on learning – what worked, what did not, and what can others learn from those lessons and apply to their work?

Throughout the long months of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic with its associated impacts on health, well-being, and equity, it is clear that the health and health care fields need evidence and knowledge to be produced, evaluated, and applied both more thoughtfully and more rapidly than ever. Moreover, the inequitable impacts of COVID-19 across communities of color in the United States and in COVID-19 response and impacts globally calls us to address the widespread, longstanding, systemic inequities within and across communities and nations. Therefore, this year’s Symposium includes a special focus on:

  1. Applying principles of equity and antiracism in improvement work, and

  2. How improvement methods can contribute to the rapid production of practical evidence.

The conference features a mix of keynote presentations, interactive methods sessions on new and foundational scientific approaches to improvement, and oral presentations and posters (top-rated oral and poster abstracts are published in this journal) from our community of quality improvers and applied researchers. The oral and poster sessions showcase either:

  • Applied Improvement: Applications of scientific methods to health and health care improvement; or

  • Improvement Methods: developing the methodological basis of improving health and health care.

The 18 oral presentations and 9 featured posters were selected from over 175 abstract submissions through a peer review process that ensured each abstract was reviewed by multiple reviewers. For those authors who gave permission, the abstracts of the selected oral presentations and featured posters are published in this supplement.

Marianne McPherson

Senior Director

Institute for Healthcare Improvement



On behalf of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the hosts would like to thank the individuals whose contributions have made the 2021 IHI Scientific Symposium a success, especially in such a challenging year and amid the extraordinary circumstances that 2021 has presented. Particular thanks are due to the abstract reviewers, without whose efforts we could not have accomplished a Symposium of this quality: Matthew Anstey, Barry Appleton, Komal Bajaj, Karen Baldoza, Pierre Barker, Tina Foster, Sandip Godambe, Don Goldmann, Keziah Imbeah, Mara Laderman, Lauren Macy, Jesse McCall, Marianne McPherson, Brant Oliver, Lloyd Provost, Jeff Rakover, Marina Renton, Lauge Sokol-Hessner, Curt Smecher, Rebecca Steinfield, Paul Sullivan, and Mike Taigman. We thank all those who submitted their research for review. We extend deep gratitude to our advisory group members: Karen Baldoza, Pierre Barker, Jara Dean-Coffey, Ezequiel García-Elorrio, Robert Lloyd, Lauren Macy, and Marianne McPherson, who provided valuable insight and guidance to make this year’s Symposium as enriching as possible within a virtual conference environment. Finally, we offer special thanks to Lauren Clegg, Lauren Conrad, David Coletta, Lauren Downing, Jill Duncan, Christopher Herpel, Niñon Lewis, Patricia McGaffigan, Cleola Payne, Sara Valentin, Christie VanHorne, Katherine Rowbotham, Amanda Swiatocha, Catherine Warchal, and the team at the British Medical Journal, who dedicated countless hours to the development of this year’s program so that we might feature the valuable and generous research shared with us this year.

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