Archive: Self-governance through circles in healthcare

For twenty years, Ann Linnea and Christina Baldwin led the introduction of circle practice in a wide range of organizational and community leadership settings. In the course of their work, they have become recognized as global pioneers, trainers, and transmitters.

They are not evaluators, academics, or administrators, however, so it is wonderful to discover the next chapter of the story of True North Health Center, founded by Dr. Bethany Hayes, (and featured on pages 176-182 in The Circle Way) as reported on website of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This is a government website devoted to innovations in healthcare. The writing style differs from our usual narrative format, but we wanted to share this summary of a much longer piece as an offering to readers who want to understand how circle practice can be qualitatively evaluated.


A standalone, multispecialty center (called the True North Health Center) uses innovative organizational and payment policies to enhance access to conventional and alternative health care services, particularly for low-income individuals. Organizational policies include requiring practitioners (all of whom are independent contractors) to meet strict credentialing criteria for their specialty and to participate in self-governance through “circles” of practitioners and staff who meet regularly. 

To read the entire article on the AHRQ website, click here.

Although the video below doesn't address how the True North Health Center uses circle in self-governance, it does give you an idea of the spirit behind True North.