The 13th class of United Hospital Fund’s Clinical Quality Fellowship Program held their inaugural retreat from March 17-18 at IBM’s Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Center for Learning in Armonk, NY, marking the end of two years of virtual gatherings by previous fellows due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many of the 29 Fellows and 11 faculty members attending, it was the first time they had been in a professional gathering other than their day-to-day workplaces since the start of the pandemic. Although there was some hesitancy at first, the attendees were enthusiastic about finally meeting face-to-face.
“There was a very positive energy in the room,” said Joan Guzik, UHF director of Quality and Efficiency and the Quality Institute. “This is a very engaged and informed group who, despite the stress and strain they’ve been under during the pandemic, wanted to be part of the fellowship.”
Brijen Shah, Md, associate professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discusses mentorships at the CQFP retreat
The 15-month fellowship program, sponsored jointly by UHF and the Greater New York Health Association, supports the training and professional development of early- and mid-career physicians, nurses, and physician assistants to help them lead and champion quality improvement and patient safety efforts within their health care organizations.
Since its launch in 2009, CQFP has enrolled close to 300 Fellows, drawing from more than 50 health care facilities across the metropolitan area. Many have gone on to assume leadership positions in their home facilities, while alumni serve as mentors to new classes of Fellows.
Program activities include two off-site retreats, monthly webinars, dinner meetings, and a half-day learning session. Central to the experience is the planning and implementation of a capstone quality improvement initiative at each Fellow’s home organization. Throughout the capstone learning process, each Fellow is guided by a faculty mentor, a particular benefit of the program.
Ms. Guzik noted that there has been an increasing awareness in health care institutions of the importance of quality measurement, and recent fellows have been more exposed to quality and patient safety concerns than the earliest classes. As a result, she said, “we’ve had to adjust our approach and content because the Fellows already know a lot. Also, in response to feedback we’ve made a concerted effort to engage the Fellows in group work and facilitated discussion, and we’ve added a retreat session on how to incorporate equity into quality, which was very well received.”
This year the retreat included a fireside chat with a former fellow, Lisa Schmutter, MPA, BSN, RN, CPN, manager of Quality and Patient Safety at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, who discussed her experience with the program and how it helped her career.
Two former fellows joined the fellowship’s faculty for this retreat: Calvin Hwang, MD, Patient Safety Officer for the Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens; and Rajan Gurunathan, MD, Vice President and Regional Chief Quality Officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. Nicola Davis, MD, MS, Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer and NYC Health and Hospitals also joined the CQFP faculty and presented at the retreat. “We have recruited new faculty to address some of the gaps in our curriculum and increase the diversity of the faculty,” said Ms. Guzik.
The biographies of the 2022-2023 class of Fellows can be found here.