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Physician Leadership in Quality and Safety Scholarly Concentrationis designed for 4th year medical students with an interest in quality improvement in healthcare. Students work closely with a mentor and QI project over the course of a year and present their findings at an annual symposium.

To learn more, contact IHQI’s Program Coordinator, Karen Davis, at

Meet this year’s students:

Darami Nicole Damari is a 4th year medical student. Nicole is working with Dr. Will Stoudemire to reduce exposure to nephrotoxic medications and rates of AKI on inpatient pediatrics services. The project aims to establish a pharmacist-driven screening program to identify patients at risk for AKI and to develop standardized recommendations for renal monitoring and hydration for patients on multiple nephrotoxic medications. Nicole is applying to Combined Medicine-Pediatrics residency programs, and is broadly interested in quality improvement, care of marginalized communities, and health policy.
Jarmul Jamie Jarmul is an MD/PhD student in her 4th year of medical school who is working on ASCVD risk reduction at UNC Internal medicine clinic with Dr. Dan Jonas. She is currently working on increasing rates of statin use through electronic medical record notifications and patient outreach efforts. Jamie is passionate about improving health care delivery and health care system transformation and hopes to continue working in this area in the future as a general internist and primary care physician.
Javalkar Karina Javalkar grew up in Cary, North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill for her undergraduate studies in the School of Public Health as a Health Policy & Management major. It was during her time in the School of Public Health that she first learned about quality improvement and the role of healthcare leaders in promoting quality and safety. She also has a strong interest in health services research. She is excited to have dedicated seminar and project time during her 4th year of medical school to learn and apply quality improvement skills through Physician Leadership in Quality and Safety (PLQS). She is working with Dr. Charul Haugan at UNC Rex on mortality reduction, specifically by improving the transfer process from outside hospitals to Rex. She has spent her time observing and documenting the complex transfer process, participating in meetings with multidisciplinary stakeholders to develop experiments to improve various elements of the process, and researching best practices to guide the improvement efforts. She is currently applying for residency in pediatrics and hopes to use the skills that she learns through PLQS during her residency and future career.
Nagle Max Nagle graduated from high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. He became interested in quality improvement and patient safety through his experience pursuing a Master of Public Health through the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Early in the year, he was connected with an IHQI team focused on reducing hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (HA-VTE) at UNC. The first half of their project used various informatics tools to conduct a root cause analysis on why patients at UNC develop HA-VTE. The second half of their project involved conducting PDSA cycles for the three major causes – situational awareness, appropriate risk stratification, and patient refusal. In addition to assisting with these projects, he is also working on a team to update the pharmacy guidelines for VTE prophylaxis and designing a patient safety educational intervention for medical students. His faculty mentor is Dr. Carlton Moore, who has helped him navigate conducting quality improvement projects. Max plans to continue projects in patient safety and quality improvement during internal medicine residency.
Pi Cinthia (Cindy) Pi was born in China, and grew up in China, Japan, and the Durham-Chapel Hill area. From helping to improve organization in her father’s office as a young child, to helping her family medicine preceptor meet cervical cancer screening goals as a 3rd year medical student, Cindy has always enjoyed exploring new ways to improve things. After learning about the field of Quality Improvement during her family medicine rotation, she was very excited for the opportunity to continue learning about and practicing QI as a Physician Leadership in Quality and Safety Scholar during her leave of absence year. She is working with the neurosciences ICU team to reduce rates of unnecessary routine diagnostic tests like chest x-rays and daily labs at the NSICU in hopes of reducing both the harms associated with unnecessary routine tests (e.g. excessive radiation exposure, anemia, work-up for false positive results) and costs for the patient and healthcare system. Dr. Casey Olm-Shipman has helped Cindy learn more quality improvement methodologies and challenged her to improve her leadership skills. Even though Cindy is living in St. Louis this year, Dr. Olm-Shipman has been very understanding and open to working with Cindy remotely.
SAm RObin Sam Robin was born and raised in Sparta, New Jersey before moving to North Carolina in 2010 to study neuroscience and music at Duke University. She then began medical school at UNC in 2015 where she developed strong interests in quality improvement and medical education. She is currently applying for Medicine-Pediatrics residency and plans to graduate from UNC School of Medicine in Spring 2019. Sam and Dr. Amy Shaheen are working together on improving the quality of outpatient COPD care. They started by improving the quality and frequency of inhaler education at the UNC Primary Care at Clayton clinic, and were able to increase the percentage of COPD patients who had received inhaler education from 13% to over 30% in 2 months and greatly improved the quality of this patient education. Currently, Sam and Dr. Shaheen are working on implementing COPD Action Plans, which will provide patients with a home contingency plan for treating mild COPD exacerbations to reduce ER visits and hospitalizations. Sam has considered herself very fortunate to work with Dr. Amy Shaheen on this project. Dr. Shaheen has challenged Sam to push the boundaries of her comfort zone to apply these skills to clinical settings. Working with Dr. Shaheen has convinced Sam that quality improvement work will remain an important part of her future career.
Thomas Tainayah Thomas, MPH, is a doctoral candidate at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health in the department of Health Behavior. Throughout her academic career she has focused on the health of underserved populations throughout the world. In the past, she has worked on various research projects and public health programs targeting Caribbean immigrants, African Americans, Latinos and vulnerable populations in West Africa. Her research interests include: diabetes prevention and self-management, men’s health, health disparities, primary care quality improvement and implementation science. To intervene on patients with diabetes and deliver the right care to the right patients at the right time, Tainayah believes we must improve collaboration among stakeholders that goes beyond usual care to prioritize the needs of the patient and involve the entire care team. For that reason, Tainayah and Dr. Sarah Smithson are piloting shared medical visits for patients with diabetes in the General Internal Medicine Clinic to better meet the health system’s goal of reducing the percentage of patients with diabetes under poor control (A1c >9). It has been an absolute pleasure for Tainayah to work with Dr. Smithson. Dr. Smithson has worked enthusiastically to connect Tainayah to stakeholders and help her navigate the ins and outs of implementing quality improvement projects in clinical practice.