Northwestern Medicine boasts nation's only PhD in healthcare quality and patient safety

The first student has graduated from Northwestern Medicine's PhD in healthcare quality and patient safety program — the first such program in the nation.

The Chicago-based program uses industry "outsiders" like engineers, cognitive psychologists and risk assessment and change management specialists to train clinicians to locate gaps in the system and fix them.

"Under the current model, when medical students and residents walk into an emergency department, their challenge is to survive and adapt to a crazy system, not figure out how to fix it," said Donna Woods, PhD, director of the program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "When they become attending physicians, they are inured to the problems and no longer see the risks. We have to reintroduce them to these risks. If they don't see them, they won't ever do anything to fix them."

The PhD program builds on Northwestern's masters program in healthcare quality and patient safety, which was also the first of its kind in the U.S. Other medical schools — like George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and the University of Illinois — have since launched their own such master's programs using Northwestern's curriculum as template.

Cindy Barnard, PhD, was the program's first doctoral graduate. She is the vice president of quality for Northwestern Memorial Healthcare in Chicago. Other students are in the pipeline and will soon graduate with their own PhDs, according to Northwestern.

"These students are the future of safer and higher quality medical care," said Neil Jordan, director of Northwestern's Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars