M. Susan Ridgely

M. Susan Ridgely
Adjunct Senior Health Policy Researcher; Codirector, RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance; Affiliate Faculty, Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


J.D. in health law, University of Maryland School of Law


M. Susan Ridgely is an adjunct senior health policy researcher at RAND and a Pardee RAND Graduate School affiliate faculty member. She has more than 30 years of experience in health services research and policy analysis.

She has led numerous grant and contract projects for government, foundation, and private funders. Her recent research activities include projects on innovation in health care organization and financing, patient safety, and medical liability. She is co-director of the RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance, a five-year, multi-institutional center funded by AHRQ to characterize high-performing health systems and identify the most effective ways to promote the uptake of evidence-based practice in health care delivery systems.

In past projects Ridgely conducted studies of the cost and quality performance of California physician organizations, the IHA Bundled Episode Payment and Gainsharing Demonstration, and the Blue Shield of California's Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Infrastructure Grant Program. She was also the RAND principal investigator for the longitudinal evaluation of the HHS Patient Safety and Medical Liability Initiative.

Ridgely employs site visit, interview, focus group, and survey methodologies to understand innovations in health care, to derive "lessons learned," and communicate those lessons to policymakers and other stakeholders. She has coauthored over 75 peer-reviewed articles, law review articles, monographs, and reports in the health and behavioral health fields. Ridgely received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. 

Selected Publications

Ridgely, M. Susan, Justin W. Timbie, Laura J. Wolf, Erin Lindsey Duffy, Christine Buttorff, Ashlyn Tom, and Mary E. Vaiana, Consolidation by Any Other Name: The Emergence of Clinically Integrated Networks, RAND Corporation (RR-A370-1), 2020

Ridgely, M.S., Duffy, E., Wolf, L., Vaiana, M., Scanlon, D., Buttorff, C., Leitzell, B., Ahluwalia, S., Hilton, L., Agniel, D., Haviland, A., and Damberg, C, "Understanding U.S. health systems: Using mixed methods to unpack organizational complexity," eGEMs (Generating Evidence & Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes), 7(1), 2019

Ridgely, M.S., Buttorff, C., Wolf, L.J., Duffy, E.L., Tom, A., Damberg, C., Scanlon, D.P., Vaiana, M.E., "The importance of understanding and measuring health system structural, functional, and clinical integration," Health Services Research, 55, 2021

Ridgely, M.S., Ahluwalia, S., Tom, A., Vaiana, M., Motala, A., Silverman, M., Kim, A., Damberg, C., and Shekelle, P., "What are the determinants of health system performance: Findings from the literature and a technical expert panel ," Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 46, 2019

Damberg, C., Silverman, M., Burgette, L., Vaiana, M. and Ridgely, M.S., "Are value-based incentives driving behavior change to improve value? ," American Journal of Managed Care, 25(2), 2019

Waxman, D.A., Greenberg, M.D., Ridgely M.S., Kellerman, A., Heaton, P., "The effect of malpractice reform on emergency department care," New England Journal of Medicine, 371(16), 2014

Ridgely, M.S., De Vries, D., Bozic, K.J., Hussey, P.S., "Bundled payment fails to gain a foothold in California: The experience of the IHA Bundled Episode Payment and Gainsharing Demonstration," Health Affairs, 33(8), 2014

Ridgely, M.S., Greenberg, M., Pillen, M. & Bell, J., "Progress at the intersection of patient safety and medical liability: Insights from the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Demonstration Program," Health Services Research, 51(supplement), 2016