Mar 2, 2009

Vanderbilt Chapter Update

The Vanderbilt Chapter of the IHI Open School has launched with interest and enthusiasm from a diverse group of Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and administrators. With the assistance of some close friends and our fellow National Forum attendees, we have secured a faculty advisor--Sebastian Strom, M.D., M.B.A.--and a dean advisor--Bonnie Miller, M.D.--who are committed to engaging students in quality improvement and patient safety efforts.

While the Vanderbilt Chapter is still in its inception phases, we have many things cooking: we are drafting a mission statement to direct our current and future efforts; scheduling meetings with quality improvement and patient safety stakeholders, such as our Chief Quality Officer; and planning our first open meeting, which aims to recruit students from the School of Nursing, Owen Graduate School of Business, as well as the rest of the School of Medicine. In the meantime, we are generating a list of potential chapter projects, which we envision will be independently managed by teams of Open School students with the assistance of key faculty.

Specifically, plans are in the works to create a School of Medicine elective that will allow students to participate in quality improvement efforts across the medical center and earn credit towards their M.D. degree. The elective would be a practical complement to the IHI Open School's online curriculum. Having the Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education as one of our advisors should facilitate some of our curricular efforts: we think we will able to offer this elective by the next academic semester. Eventually, we hope to open this elective to students from Vanderbilt's other graduate schools, but securing administrative support for an interdisciplinary elective may take a little more time.

Furthermore, we plan to work closely with the medical school curriculum development team to integrate foundational quality improvement and patient safety topics into our new medical school curriculum to pique students' interests in the field and draw them to the IHI Open School. Additionally, we hope to create new long-term quality improvement and patient safety research opportunities for students under the School of Medicine's Emphasis Program, building on existing ones that are overseen by Robert Dittus, M.D., M.P.H., one of Vanderbilt's quality improvement gurus.

Finally, we are exploring quality improvement opportunities outside of the traditional acute care setting, e.g., at Vanderbilt's free student-run community health clinic, The Shade Tree Family Clinic, and with Vanderbilt's employee wellness program, HEALTH Plus.

These projects are materializing as the Chapter builds a foundational organizational structure and continues to recruit members from the Vanderbilt community. In the future, we hope to expand our membership to other Nashville universities and hospitals. However, while our plans are ambitious, we are starting small and hoping to secure greater support from our community with early accomplishments.

Irving Ye and Piotr Pilarski
Co-Leaders, Vanderbilt Chapter of the IHI Open School


Eva said...

WOW! Thank you Irving and Piotr for sharing your amazing work and progress with all of us. This simple update allows IHI Open School Chapters all over the world to learn, adopt, modify, and improve upon what you have already done to set the foundations of your chapter.

What excites me most about your update is the huge amount of support you have received from faculty and administrators on your campus. Could you tell us how you approached faculty? Any unforeseen difficulties or pleasant surprises in the process? How did IHI help in the work you have done so far?

I also think working within already established programs and offerings at Vanderbilt was a strategically wise thing to do. Taking advantage of the Emphasis Program (perhaps creating a Quality Improvement track!) and making inroads to an elective are really fantastic endeavors.

I'd also love to hear what other Chapters are doing. Please share your progress with us!

Keep us updated on your progress and congratulations on all of the work you have done so far!

Shannon said...


I second Eva's wow. It sounds like your Chapter is off to a great start! One of the biggest challenges most leaders face is just getting started. It sounds like you and Irving have done an outstanding job of organizing your thoughts, have a set a few starting goals, and have found an approach to engage other students on your campus. Keep up the great work at Vandy!

Eva said...

Check out the University of Michigan IHI Open School Chapter Blog! Go Blue!