Nicole Van Borkulo, MEd

“I love working with clinical teams on the relational aspects of how to function as a team. Specifically, how to implement and sustain changes we’ve learned through research that will improve care and outcomes.”

Nicole Van Borkulo, MEd

Research Associate, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Nicole Van Borkulo, MEd, has a background in education, coaching and quality improvement methodology that well supports her passion for working with clinical teams and health care professionals on how to implement and sustain changes that will improve patient outcomes, increase patient, provider and staff satisfaction, and positively impact bottom-line results.

With more than 15 years of experience, she has worked on both large and small-scale change initiatives with stakeholders across the country including:

  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center,
  • the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality,
  • University of Washington Child Health Institute,
  • Acumentra Health in Oregon,
  • Center for Healthier Communities, Families and Children at UCLA, and
  • the ImproveCareNow Network, an active, open learning health network that uses collaboration and data to drive improvements in pediatric IBD care (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) in 52 care centers nationally and in the UK.

A particular area of interest for Ms. Van Borkulo is the transformational journey of a clinic’s implementation to a patient-centered medical home. As part of the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI), which included the coaching and development of materials related to the implementation of patient-centered medical home (PCMH) in primary care practices, she oversaw and provided technical assistance to the coaches in five regions across the US. Additionally, she provided direct coaching to practices in both the PCMH Collaborative for the Association of Utah Community Health and the Academic Innovations Collaborative at Harvard Medical School. 

Her current work for the MacColl Center includes directing the coach learning community for the Health Hearts Northwest initiative and providing coaching support to clinical teams in the Team-based Safe Opioids Prescribing initiative.

Research interests and experience

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Patient and family engagement in improvement of systems of care; collaborative approaches to transforming care; health disparities

  • Behavior Change

    Self-management support; provider/team training; motivational interviewing

  • Health Services & Economics

    Primary care organization and design; quality improvement methodology; patient-centered medical home

Recent publications

Parchman M, Hsu C, Fagnan L, van Borkulo N, Tuzzio L. Building a learning health care organization: external facilitation tailors support to the learning capacity of primary care settings. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2017;4:187.

Coleman K, Phillips KE, Van Borkulo N, Daniel D, Johnson KE, Wagner EH, Sugarman JR. Unlocking the black box: supporting practices to become patient-centered medical homes. Med Care. 2014 Nov;52 Suppl 4:S11-7. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000190.

Van Borkulo N, Coleman K. Quality improvement strategy implementation guide, part 1: choosing and using a QI framework.  Safety Net Medical Home Initiative .August 2011.

Van Borkulo N., Coleman K. A practice facilitator’s guide to visiting clinical teams.  Safety Net Medical Home Initiative.February 2011.


Latest News

Start making sense: Taking Action on Overuse

MacColl and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation help providers and patients hold hard conversations to curb habits of too much testing and treatment. 

Read about it in News and Events.

healthy findings blog

Stop! In the name of health—lessening low-value care

MacColl engages teams to ‘de-implement’ needless tests and treatments, doing less overused low-value care that might harm patients.

Read it in News and Events.

Health disparities

The 1 percent’s longevity: income is not the only inequality

How does a study of more than 1.4 billion tax records and 4 million deaths show us ways to improve disparities? Dr. Eric Larson explains.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

recent news

Healthy Hearts Northwest helps small and mid-sized practices

AHRQ funds Group Health, Qualis Health, and OHSU for partnership in Wash., Ore., and Idaho.

Read about it in News and Events.