M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Alexandra Schweitzer

Health care / community-based organization partnerships to address social drivers of health: Inherent challenges and strategies to overcome them  

Thursday, March 4, 4:30-5:45PM (Eastern time)
View the webinar recording.

New health care policies, including the most recent Medicaid redesign in Massachusetts, have incentivized the creation of partnerships between health care and community-based organizations (CBOs). Such partnerships are thought to be an important strategy to address “upstream” causes of poor health among Medicaid beneficiaries, including unstable housing and poor nutrition. Although much has been written about the potential value of these partnerships to health care organizations, much less is known about how CBOs perceive these policy changes and their organizational impact.

The session will elaborate on Lauren Taylor’s recent paper with Elena Byhoff, “Money Moves the Mare,” which explores a strategic tension faced by CBOs in deciding how to respond to new Medicaid incentives. The findings are drawn from interviews with 45 community-based organization leaders in Massachusetts.  

The authors find that CBOs value their autonomy and distinctiveness but are also adapting their organizations to fit within the expectations of health care organization partners.  

This panel discussion will highlight the CBO perspective, providing provocative insights and helpful paths for health care organizations to better understand current and future partners. Three community-based organization leaders will comment, react, and share their own experience.


  • Alexandra Schweitzer, Senior Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard Kennedy School


  • Lauren Taylor, PhD, MDiv, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Population Health, NYU Grossman School of Medicine
  • Samantha Morton, CEO, MLPB (formerly Medical-Legal Partnership of Boston)
  • Christina Sieber, Vice President for Planning and Institutional Advancement, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)
  • Jean Terranova, Director of Food and Health Policy, Community Servings

Alexandra Schweitzer headshot photoAlexandra Schweitzer is expert at leading complex new ventures and transformation initiatives from strategy through successful execution.  She combines entrepreneurial passion and drive with the ability to navigate through large organizations and alliances, balancing mission and business discipline.  Her systems perspective is grounded in deep senior leadership experience as a P&L owner, a product portfolio manager, a client services executive, and the head of departments and teams with multi-million-dollar budgets.  Her health care sector experience spans payers, providers, state government, and specialized analytics and managed care organizations. Population health strategist and builder:  Alexandra has built and led value-based integrated systems of care, including tools to address social determinants of health, in innovative accountable care and provider-payer organizations, including: i) A “partnership model” Medicaid ACO under the new Massachusetts delivery system reform program; ii) Iora Health, a venture capital-backed startup nationally known for its relationship-driven, technology-enabled care model, predominantly for Medicare Advantage members; and iii) The Tufts Health Plan Senior Care Options (SCO) program for dual eligible seniors, which she built and ran.  Practical strategic planner:  As a business leader, a consultant, and a hands-on not-for-profit board member, Alexandra has led the development of numerous mission-critical strategic plans.  She emphasizes broad input from stakeholders, alignment of mission and financial goals, and a strong focus on execution to achieve results. Innovative board leader:  Alexandra is the Board President of Goddard House, an assisted living residence in Brookline, MA, where she is driving a major organizational transformation to develop innovative programs serving isolated seniors in the Greater Boston community.  As a LeadingAge board member, she initiated and led a cross-sector workgroup to promote tightly-integrated programs using affordable senior housing as a platform for health.  She was the Board Vice Chair of the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston and led their strategic planning committee. Alexandra has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University.  A lifelong learner, she has completed an executive MBA at Columbia University and certificates in strategic selling, large account management, and project management. Her research project as a senior fellow is entitled, Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Why Some Initiatives Thrive and Others Don’t. Her faculty sponsor is Dutch Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School, and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Email: aschweitzer@hks.harvard.edu