Ruth F. Wilson Award Winner
Penny Feldman, PhD
Senior Research Scientist/Emeritus Director, Center for Home Care Policy & Research
Visiting Nurse Service of New York
New York City

Penny Hollander Feldman, PhD, has had a wide-ranging impact on the home health care field throughout her remarkable career as a home care researcher, policy advisor, educator and agency executive.

Her ground-breaking contributions include pioneering the use of data analytics and quality measures in home health care; designing and testing numerous interventions to improve home care delivery and outcomes; and working with government officials at the state and national levels to broaden the scope and improve the quality and efficiency of home- and community based health care.

As an assistant professor and lecturer at Harvard’s School of Public Health from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Dr. Feldman published some of the first academic studies on the role and career trajectory of home health aides.

In the early 1990s, serving as a consultant to the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), Dr. Feldman drafted a report identifying the opportunities and challenges related to the establishment of a research center at VNSNY, culminating in the VNSNY Board’s decision to approve the creation of the VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 1993, with Dr. Feldman as its Director in 1994 — a position she would hold for the next 20 years.

The VNSNY Research Center was  — and continues to be — America’s only research center dedicated to care that’s provided in the home.

In addition to her trail-blazing work with the VNSNY Research Center, Dr. Feldman has lent her expertise to numerous home care-related committees, commissions and expert panels over the past 25 years, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Home Care Research Initiative, where she served as National Director from 1995 to 2002, and countless other committees on nursing, long term care and home health quality for the Institutes of Medicine, AARP, CMS and other national academies, institutions and governing bodies.

Since stepping down as the Research Center’s director in 2014, Dr. Feldman has continued to contribute her home care research skills and expertise as Senior Research Scientist and Director Emerita for VNSNY and as Associate Professor of Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

In her work as a researcher, advisor and leader of the nation’s preeminent home care research institute, Dr. Feldman has profoundly impacted the practice of home health care today, continuing to nurture the growth of both the VNSNY and national research efforts, helping to shift national reimbursement models, launching the first-ever effort to comprehensively compile and analyze clinical patient data as a means of accurately assessing the home care patient population, and pinpointing opportunities for improvement in care delivery, among other efforts.

“Penny has been pivotal in developing a framework for defining and measuring quality in a home-based setting and applying that information clinically,” says Carol Raphael, former VNSNY CEO and current VNSNY Board Member. “She is the rare academic who has top-notch research skills while also having a foot firmly planted in the world of direct care. She is truly special.”

Ruth F. Wilson Award

HCA’s highest honor, the Ruth F. Wilson Award, is presented to an individual whose work has had a dramatic effect on home care, reaching beyond a single agency. The recipient will have strengthened the practice of our profession, raised the standards of quality and care for patients, or advanced the level of understanding and mutual cooperation among the home care community, legislators, federal and state agencies, health care providers and the public.