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Great Immigrants

Roberta Capp
Physician and Public Health Expert
Born in:
Brazil

“The beautiful thing about this country is that if you are passionate and persistent, you can achieve your dreams,” Roberta Capp said after receiving the 2016 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science. Capp first came to the U.S. at the age of 14 from Brazil, speaking little English. She went on to obtain her medical degree from Harvard and is now an emergency medicine physician and an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Capp started a pilot program in the emergency department that assigns Medicaid patients to “navigators” — volunteers who help them navigate the landscape of Medicaid providers, nonprofit services, and government-funded resources. The innovative program led to a 20 percent reduction in emergency department use and a 50 percent reduction in hospital admissions, resulting in savings of more than $1 million. Capp also developed an algorithm, IMPAS (Improving Patient Safety), that helps identify cases and patterns of misdiagnoses. It is currently being used in four sister hospitals. Updated July 2016