Alison Holmes, MD, MPH
Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Kanekal Gautham, MD, MBBS
Baylor College of Medicine
The Quality and Safety Improvement Scholars Program is a three-year faculty development program designed to help APA members enhance their academic credentials in the area of quality and safety improvement science to develop into productive, advancing and fulfilled faculty members. The QSIS includes:
- The core learning activity in this program is an experiential one – a mentored scholarly project on a quality or safety topic of the scholar’s choice and interest. In completing this project, each scholar will work with a local, on-site project mentor at his or her home institution. Scholars will also be expected to evaluate the quality improvement literature and present synopses of projects with critical analysis as part of their learning. A final, peer-reviewed, national-level presentation or publication of the mentoring project will be required for graduation.
- In addition to the local, on-site mentor, each scholar will also be assigned an external QSIS faculty advisor, who will be a nationally renowned quality and safety expert. Each scholar may, based on the need, also be assigned subject-matter (content) expert from another institution to serve as an additional faculty advisor.
- Intersession activities hosted in between PAS meetings, scholars communicate via webinars and virtual small group sessions, digital/virtual communications, and the program website and Canvas page. Ensuring extensive and supportive networking among scholars is a high priority for the program.
- APA’s QI Science Conference, held annually prior to the PAS meeting, focuses on providing training to child health researchers on the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions aimed at improving the health care services provided to children. Speakers and participants will focus on state-of-the-art methods to facilitate the conduct of rigorous QI research and implementation science.
- Each scholar will work towards a mentored scholarly project. This experiential component of the program is a mentored with the main, home mentor at the scholar’s home institution. Scholars will also be expected to evaluate the quality improvement literature and present synopses of projects with critical analysis as part of their learning. A final, peer-reviewed, national-level presentation or publication of the mentoring project will be required for graduation.
- Scholars are expected to complete the full curriculum, including projects, over the three-year program. Successful scholars will receive a Certificate of Excellence in Quality and Safety Improvement Science
The curriculum includes yearly participation in the Quality Improvement Science Conference, additionally scheduled sessions for the group at PAS, periodic didactic webinars (approximately, 3/year), ongoing collaborative learning, and completion of a mentored improvement project.
The deadline to apply has passed. The new recruitment window will open Fall 2021.
The applicant is responsible for collecting and electronically submitting the required signed statements from the supervisor and mentor as well as the letters of reference, and other parts of the application.
During the online application process, you will be asked to submit the following materials electronically online:
- Personal Statement of Agreement to Participate (250 word limit)
- Curriculum vitae that highlights your education, post-graduate training, relevant background and experience.
- Project description (1000 word limit)
- Applicant agreement form
- Supervisor agreement form
- Required statement and letter from your Supervisor
- Required statement and letter from your Mentor
- Have a pediatric faculty appointment (including DOs, PhDs and advanced practice providers (e.g. PA, PNP) in general, hospital or subspecialty divisions. Community faculty members with a genuine commitment to leading improvement efforts in a systematic, scholarly manner will also be considered for the program.
- Commitment to payment of a one-time tuition fee of $5600, due 90 days after receiving the invoice. If payment is delayed, your position may be filled by an individual on the wait list.
- Commitment to a minimum 10% effort during the three years of program participation; attend QSIS teaching sessions; complete required assignments; and conduct an individual project, under the guidance of a mentor that results in a peer-reviewed publication or presentation. The individual project should be in line with the applicant's career goals and with departmental and institutional expectations of the applicant. A statement must be signed by the applicant and his/her supervisor agreeing to the 10%- time commitment.
- Each applicant must propose an initial project topic and identify a mentor within the program application. Projects may be modified post program enrollment after enrollment in the program, after discussion with the Scholar's mentor, and assigned QSIS faculty advisor.
- You must be a current member of the APA to enroll in the QSIS Program.
- There is a $125 fee to apply for this program.
Who selects the scholars and how many will be selected? The Academic Pediatric Association's Quality and Safety Improvement Scholars Program leadership group directs selection of scholars. Cohorts of 14 scholars will be enrolled annually.
What does the Quality and Safety Improvement Scholar's Program cost? All applicants must pay a $125 application fee. For accepted scholars, a one time tuition fee of $5600 is payable 90 days after receiving the invoice at the time of enrollment. Operating costs are also partially subsidized by the Academic Pediatric Association.
What are the criteria for acceptance? We are looking for scholars with outstanding credentials and recommendations, a dedicated local mentor, and documentation of institutional support, as well as a sound and innovative initial project proposal that is likely to improve the quality or safety outcomes in the applicant's institution. Project proposals are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Relevance to QSIS goals (impactful improvement target, systematic approach)
- Feasibility of accomplishing project objectives (e.g., time, resources, technical capability)
- Quality of improvement methods (e.g., appropriate measurement and improvement design, timeline reasonable, methods appropriate to purpose)
- Potential for dissemination (e.g., clarity of written proposal, experience with dissemination methods, sound plan, past peer review successes)
Will the program accept fellows as well as faculty? Faculty applicants are preferred. Fellows who plan an academic career in pediatrics may apply, if they are already engaged in improvement work and planning a significant focus on improvement science in their careers. They must also obtain a commitment to pay the full enrollment fee. The three year duration of the QSIS program can create challenges for fellows who will move on to a faculty position midway through the program. In this case, the scholar's new supervisor in a faculty position must agree to support continued participation in the project including time and expenses. Shortening tenure in program to 2 years is not an option.
Is this program designed only for new faculty members, or can mid-career faculty also apply? We expect to include a mix of new faculty and those with more experience who want to develop new skills to enhance their programmatic effectiveness and academic success. Medical directors and others with clinical program responsibility or the opportunity to impact quality or safety within clinical areas will be particularly well suited for this program.
Can pediatric subspecialists apply? Yes, sub-specialists are welcome and encouraged to participate. The focus of the program is improvement science, not any particular specialty. We expect that scholars will represent a range of disciplines within pediatrics.
Must the scholar be an MD to apply? No, the program will accept anyone who has a pediatric faculty appointment including DOs, PhDs and advanced practice providers (e.g. PA, PNP), or a faculty appointment related to pediatrics in another department (e.g., Emergency Medicine), or a community faculty member with a genuine commitment to leading improvement efforts in a systematic, scholarly manner.
Does the QSIS provide financial or travel support to scholars? No, we have no funds for this purpose. Your supervisor's support for the tuition fee, time protection, project costs, and travel to the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting will be required for you to participate. Some scholars may have access to grant support, e.g. through faculty development grants, to supplement local resources.
What does the 10% time commitment mean? Does it mean a salary commitment? Negotiation of the supervisor's agreement to protect 10% of the scholar's time is the responsibility of the scholar. The QSIS is unable to subsidize the scholar's 10% time commitment. Our expectation is that scholars will be doing projects that are a direct and valuable contribution to their department or institution and that fit into their current job commitments, or can be negotiated to become a part of the scholar's job commitments. Program participation should also benefit the department by making the scholar more effective as an improvement leader who can also disseminate his/her work in support of academic promotion expectations.
How developed must the proposed initial project in quality/ safety improvement be? Draft project proposals must include an overall project aim and potential measures that can be used to track and progress and guide project development over time. Ideal projects are feasible, impactful ones which include systematic evaluation and are likely to lead to scholarly output.
How should I choose a mentor? Mentors should have improvement experience and the ability to guide the scholar's project planning, implementation and dissemination. A good mentor is approachable and available, and personally committed to the mentee's success. Mentors will ideally also be able to help their mentee(s) to network with senior colleagues inside and outside their institution and help the scholar gain visibility in their field. Ideally, a scholar's mentor is local, so as to facilitate frequent meetings and also offer the advantages that contextual knowledge provides in improvement planning. Scholars must make their own arrangements with mentors. The mentor's letter and qualifications will be reviewed critically as part of the application process.
What is a QSIS faculty advisor? In addition to the mentor that each scholar will identify, each scholar will also be assigned a QSIS faculty advisor selected from a group of distinguished improvement leaders in the US and Canada. The advisor will track progress on the scholar's project(s), providing periodic project and career development guidance.
What are the requirements for successful completion of the program?
- Maintain the support of your Department in order to complete the full curriculum, including projects, over 3 years, and pay the $5600 enrollment tuition fee.
- Attend 3 PAS teaching sessions over 3 years: The didactic component of the program will include a core curriculum taught in full-day sessions, offered each year at PAS for three consecutive years.
- Review workshops or other presentations at PAS: In their first year in the program, Scholars must participate in and thoughtfully evaluate 2 workshops, symposia, or other presentations at the PAS or equivalent meetings.
- Participate in quarterly virtual learning sessions which will be synchronous and/or asynchronous learning activities with discussions on a Virtual Learning Platform.
- Implement at least one mentored quality or safety improvement project and provide evidence of a successfully peer reviewed presentation or publication related to the project.
What will I get out of the program? Completion of the QSIS program will provide you: a Certificate of Excellence in Quality and Safety Improvement Science with a letter to your supervisor, help with implementation of a substantial improvement project, one or more peer-reviewed publications or presentations to add to support your academic advancement, a systematic learning experience to enhance your skills as an improvement leader, expert career guidance, and valuable networking with a national group of like-minded academic peers.