Quality and Innovation in Scholarly Concentration

This concentration trains future clinicians to improve the quality of health care in a collaborative community setting. Students implement and assess health care solutions in the real world, leveraging Evansville’s four-hospital consortium, local health department and new simulation center. Students also collaborate with various health care professionals to complete team-based, project-oriented courses. Through completion of coursework and a scholarly project in quality improvement, students earn Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

This concentration provides students a toolset that can be used in any specialty throughout their careers. While cutting-edge technology and scientific innovations are important in medicine, health providers and support staff sometimes overlook the impact of simple, practical solutions that improve quality, safety and efficiency of health care. Whether the problem is general or highly technical, all projects will apply the same principles of innovation, data analysis, and continuous improvement.

Student Projects

This concentration is unique in that it is team based, and coursework is integrated directly with student projects. For this reason, students need to set aside eight weeks (summer between first and second year) where they can fully immerse themselves in their project and coursework. Students should also plan to spend some time wrapping the project up during the remaining years of their clinical training.

By the end of their project and coursework, students earn Lean Six Sigma certification, which has value for residency applications but is also recognized as being valuable outside of medicine. Because students work with teammates across the health care spectrum, this is an excellent opportunity for interprofessional and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Potential Projects

Toyota maintains a large plant near Evansville and has offered its quality improvement expertise to several health care projects. This story about a person with diabetic complications provides a great example.

In past years, Evansville medical students have worked with Deaconess Hospital and Vanderburgh Health Department on various projects. Examples of projects with Vanderburgh Health Department could involve child mortality rates, food safety, drug abuse and mental health, home care for expectant mothers, or vaccination.

Co-Directors

Kara Garcia, PhD

Kara Garcia, PhD

Assistant Research Professor of Radiology & Imaging Sciences
Steven G. Becker, MD

Steven G. Becker, MD

Associate Dean, Director

Evansville Campus MD Program

The Evansville campus houses a new Simulation Center, IU Dental Clinic, and an Indiana CTSI clinical research facility. All of these resources may be used for the Scholarly Concentration. Projects in quality improvement will stem from the campus’ four-hospital consortium, local health department or local nonprofits.

Evansville is expanding residency programs, and this program emphasizes quality improvement, allowing students to partner with residents on scholarly work. Lastly, as a city built on manufacturing, Evansville is home to industry leaders in quality improvement. Participation and mentorship from the local business community can provide valuable opportunities to learn from quality and innovation experts outside of health care.