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In the summer of 2010, Walter R. McDonald & Associates engaged the services of MMRL to provide facilitation services for a series of focus groups in the city of Philadelphia. MMRL assisted us in refining the topics and questions to be discussed and helped us plan and implement the sessions. Their skilled staff helped us assure that effective techniques were employed to solicit information in focus group settings.

In addition, MMRL provided a skilled facilitator to conduct the sessions. The facilitator was very competent in managing the sessions and maintaining a clear focus on the essential topics of the discussions. The facilitator maintained a good balance between the need to cover all topics and yet to allow in depth discussion. The facilitator also went “above and beyond” to assist us in planning session logistics. We were most grateful for the facilitator’s willingness to make last minute adjustments required by late changes to the session schedule. The facilitator also accommodated changes to the expected size of each session group, by adjusting the conduct of each session to the actual participant attendance.
MMRL services should be a real asset to the Philadelphia community and could be used by many planning and evaluation organizations, especially those involved in human services.

James Kennedy, Director
Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc.


In an effort to conduct a professional assessment to better understand the unmet needs of children with cancer and their families, the American Cancer Society reached out to MMRL for their expertise in research in this area. We were able to meet with MMRL staff, discuss the project in depth, and develop a plan to obtain the most comprehensive study possible in our tight time frame. The research design included obtaining IRB approvals, one-on-one interviews as well as utilizing focus groups. The MMRL staff provided skilled facilitators to conduct the interviews and manage the focus group sessions. Due to the nature of our study the facilitator had to be particularly empathetic and skilled in dealing with not only medical staff, but also with parents dealing with different stages of their child’s cancer diagnosis.

We were thrilled with the final report and the willingness of the team to speak with us to ensure that we had an in depth understanding of the qualitative data. We would absolutely recommend MMRL as they were extremely knowledgeable, professional, and communicative throughout the process.

April Reilly, MSW
Regional Cancer Control Director
American Cancer Society


I engaged the MMRL for a qualitative research project examining the household impact of underinsurance among patients with a chronic illness. The MMRL played an instrumental role in transcribing interviews, coding content, and analyzing the findings. The MMRL faculty and staff were terrific to work with and contributed a great deal of expertise to the project. The entire process was very collaborative and collegial. The project was completed much more quickly with the help of the MMRL. I plan to work with them again in the future.

David T Grande, MD, MPA
Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


The MMRL has been invaluable in the design and execution of our study ‘Patient Perceptions on the Transition from Hospital to Home.’ The goals of this study were to better understand the perspective of patients on the transition from hospital to home, with the hopes of identifying factors which predispose patients to experience illness relapse and require hospital readmission. MMRL has guided us through coding and analysis of the qualitative portion of this study during which our trained community-based interview assistant, Tamala Carter conducted 80 in-depth interviews with uninsured, Medicaid, and dually eligible patients. Dr. Fran Barg provided us with valuable mentorship throughout this process. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the MMRL.

Shreya Kangovi, MD
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Clinical Scholars


When our excellent qualitative research assistant completed graduate school and moved on to a full time job, our research team at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was faced with a problem. We had a partially completed qualitative study and needed to identify a research assistant experienced in qualitative interviewing who could quickly learn the content area we were studying and complete the interviews. We contacted MMRL and were immediately impressed by their professionalism and experience in qualitative research. Within 24 hours, MMRL manager Shimrit Keddem drafted a budget and sent it to me to review. The budget was reasonable and we moved forward immediately. They provided us with an outstanding, seasoned interviewer (Breah Paciotti) who provided a “full service” qualitative research experience, including study coordination, recruitment, data management, analysis, and assistance with manuscript preparation. We completed the interviews ahead of schedule. In addition, Dr. Barg (co-director of MMRL) provided valuable mentorship and guidance when issues arose. Our research group is planning to use MMRL again for a future study.

Christopher Bonafide, MD, MSCE
Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia