NCQA Reflects on Nancy Adler’s Legacy

January 12, 2024 · NCQA Communications

The recent passing of psychologist Nancy Adler, PhD, is a loss for both the quality movement and everyone who works to improve health equity.

Nancy was a mentor and advocate for many, but even those who never knew her personally can admire and appreciate her groundbreaking research in social determinants of health. Everyone working today toward health equity uses and applies knowledge Nancy pioneered.

NCQA President Peggy O’Kane announced Nancy’s death to all NCQA employees, noting, “This is sad news for everyone who cares about quality. Nancy was a pioneer who built a body of work that continues to have tremendous influence.”

Anyone who studies social determinants globally knows or applies concepts Nancy developed. These include the MacArthur “ladder,” a subjective measure of social status that has helped generations of researchers understand and calibrate how people’s perceived social position affects their health.

We urge you to read the generous, glowing tribute to Nancy that her colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco compiled. UCSF is itself a bastion of quality thinkers—an institution that has given the quality movement many great ideas and speakers.

All of us at NCQA are grateful to Nancy for her contributions to our field.

We offer our condolences to the Adler family.

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