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Elevate Eldercare

Sep 29, 2021

Evidence-based practices form the bedrock of quality health care services, but as we continue to seek real reforms in long-term care, Sheryl Zimmerman believes researchers need to flip the script – and also embrace practice-based evidence.

Instead of waiting years to see which new theories and ideas may eventually pan out into best practices, Zimmerman – a distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina, where she serves as director of aging research at the School of Social Work – calls on academics and policymakers to examine the best aspects of models that already work in the real world, and find ways to replicate them far and wide.

Zimmerman demonstrated the power of examining an existing model through as volunteer research probe into the effects of COVID-19 in Green House homes in 2020, leading to a widely publicized paper showing substantially lower rates of infections and deaths as compared to the overall nursing home system.

In this week’s episode, Susan Ryan sits down with Zimmerman – also the co-director of the Program for Aging, Disability, and Long-Term Care at UNC’s Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research – to discuss her Green House research, her background in social work, and her vision for system-wide reforms.


Read Zimmerman’s research on COVID and Green House homes:

Read the New York Times op-ed that references the research:


Show notes/call to action: Learn more about The Green House Project: