M.D. with Distinction in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

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The M.D. with Distinction in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety provides the opportunity to learn the methodologies of quality improvement and the practical experience of participating in quality improvement projects. Earning an M.D. with Distinction means you put forth the effort to deliver the highest quality health care throughout your career.

Individuals satisfying the program requirements will be recognized at graduation as graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, with a Distinction in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.

1. Application

Before starting any requirements that count toward the Distinction in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, students must submit a formal application, curriculum vitae, and a personal statement describing their interest in quality improvement and patient safety. The personal statement should include a description of how the experience will be used in their future career path.

Students may apply at any point in their medical school career, but applications must be received and approved by Jan. 31 of the year prior to the anticipated graduation date (e.g., by Jan. 31, 2019, for an expected 2020 graduation). This deadline is set to make sure all parties can review and approve the quality improvement process for Distinction.

2. Activities in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

The major requirement of the M.D. with Distinction in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety involves 24 weeks of full-time quality improvement activities (preapproved by the Associate Dean) and a curriculum of educational enrichment. The curriculum requirements include:

  • Complete the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Boot Camp Training Course
  • Complete summer employment in an approved quality improvement project
  • Continue your quality improvement activities during the scholarly activity rotation
  • Fulfill the quality improvement activities during the Quality Improvement elective
  • Serve in a leadership role in the UT Southwestern chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School
  • Attend and participate in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Events
  • Attend UT Southwestern IHI Open School
  • Submit abstracts and posters for state and national quality conferences and possible publication.
  • Complete a quality improvement and patient safety capstone project and paper

3. Thesis Paper

During the application process, the student will assemble a committee of two or more faculty members qualified to assess the quality improvement being conducted. This committee will be responsible for assuring that the subject matter and scope of the project are adequate.

The student’s progress will be monitored by the mentor and by his/her committee. As the project nears completion, a thesis (capstone paper) will be submitted to the committee describing the background, local problem, methods, interventions, outcomes, and conclusions of the project conducted. The Library’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations Development Process has more information. A copy of the thesis will be archived within the Library collection, and the formally signed paperwork will be kept by the Associate Dean.

The thesis must be signed by all the members of the thesis committee as well as the Associate Dean by April 1 of the graduating year. We recommend that students begin to circulate their thesis by Feb. 1 to make sure that the committee members have time for change feedback if needed.

4. Thesis Presentation

A formal presentation of the results will be made to an audience that includes the members of the student’s committee. This represents the student's capability in succinctly communicating to colleagues. This presentation must be presented before March 15 of the graduating semester for inclusion on the diploma.

Distinction Process

A general timeline looks like:

  • Jan. 31 year before graduation: Complete an application for Distinction.
  • Aug. 15 of graduation year: Confirm that you are still seeking the Distinction and meet with your mentor to confirm that you have planned all the requirements.
  • Jan. 1: Have all courses completed or registered for to complete Distinction requirements.
  • Feb. 1: Send primary mentor thesis for approval and have a presentation scheduled.
  • March 1: Send all committee members the approved version of your thesis.
  • March 15 of graduation year: Deadline to complete the manuscript, present thesis, and submit to a peer-reviewed manual.

In the event that a student disagrees with the decision of the committee, it is first the obligation of the student to make a good-faith effort to resolve the matter with the faculty member(s) involved. Further appeals should be directed to the Associate Dean and then to the Dean of the Medical School. The determination of the Dean is final.