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Quality and Innovation in Health Care Scholarly Concentration

This program trains future clinicians to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care. Students are immersed in a hospital, clinic, health department, or other health systems as they implement and assess practical solutions to real-world problems in health care. Scholarly Concentration projects may stem from quality improvement initiatives in local health care systems or translational research projects in health care innovation.

By participating in interactive, workshop-style courses alongside various health care professionals, students master widely recognized approaches for continuous improvement and design thinking. Through completion of coursework and a quality improvement project, students can earn Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Students gain experience applying quality improvement and innovation frameworks that can be used in any specialty throughout their careers.


All coursework (except the online Fundamentals of Research and Scholarship course) takes place in Evansville. The scholarly project occurs in Evansville.

Curriculum and Timeline

Students completing the Quality and Innovation in Health Care concentration fulfill the same core curriculum as students in other concentrations. The didactic components provide a strong academic and experiential foundation in health care quality and innovation that is vital for completion of the core curriculum project and product.

Recommended Pathway

This table shows that the first and second topic specific course should be completed during the summer between first and second year of med school. The third topic specific course should be taken during phase one in year two. The two remaining courses, project and product, are longitudinal. The project can begin as soon as the summer between first and second year of med school, while the product should begin during phase one in year two and conclude on or before the end of fourth year.

*Available mid-December to mid-February.

Students determine if a concentration pathway will fit in their schedule by contacting concentration co-directors. Actual pathway may vary.

Scholarly Project Topic Examples

Whether applying innovative technologies or simple changes to an existing health care process, all Scholarly Concentration projects provide an opportunity for students to apply the tools learned through this program, such as design-thinking, data-driven decision-making, and continuous improvement frameworks. Students are invited to come up with their own project idea or join existing research of a quality improvement team.


Example Topics include:

  • Working with the local Health Department to improve rates of HPV vaccination
  • Analyzing a large EMR dataset to determine real-world outcomes associated with a cardiac procedure
  • Assessing clinical use of new technology to improve communication with non-English speaking populations
  • Working with a post-discharge clinic to reduce hospital readmission rates for high risk patients
  • Analyzing real-world utilization of IV’s and phlebotomy testing in different hospital branches

Student Testimonials

  • Christopher Blanco, Class of 2023

    Christopher Blanco"Having the opportunity to work with doctors and other health care professionals who have taken up additional quality improvement roles within their hospital systems has provided me with a better understanding of how I can pursue quality innovation in health care as a medical professional."

    Why did you choose the Quality and Innovation in Health Care scholarly concentration?

    I was very interested in further exploring how, through quality improvement measures, we can work to better the institutions we will one day work for, with the hopes of improving patient health outcomes as well as the overall work environment of the facility.

    What are you learning through work on your scholarly project?

    An end goal of the study I am conducting is to discuss how adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technology into our current electronic health records can help augment physician practices in ways to ensure they are providing the most up-to-date, evidence-based medicine to best improve patient health outcomes within their community.

    How do you expect your experience in this scholarly concentration to help guide your career path?

    With internal medical departments developing quality improvement teams, I know I will be prepared to fill a leadership role with the experience and educational certification I gained through this program. I have always had professional aspirations of one day becoming a doctor, but now I have a clearer focus on what institutional role I want to play as a doctor in the improvement of my patients’ health outcomes.

  • Ellen Yos, Class of 2022

    Ellen Yos works on her scholarly concentration project"I am really interested in doing research that directly impacts patients. Clinical research seems to have more of a human side to it."

    What have you learned through working on your scholarly project?

    We were looking at re-admission rates for congestive heart failure patients based on whether they followed up at a post-discharge clinic in Evansville. We thought the clinic was helping, and we were able to find out by how much. Our team presented at the American College of Physicians Indiana chapter meeting and won first place there! This gave us the the opportunity to present at the national conference, which was held virtually. It was a valuable learning experience!


42731-Garcia, Kara

Kara Garcia, PhD, ME

Assistant Professor of Radiology & Imaging Sciences

Bio and Contact Information

44106-Chlebowski, Arthur

Arthur L. Chlebowski, PhD, BME

Adjunct Associate Professor of Family Medicine

Bio and Contact Information

MD Student News

Concentration Topic: Quality and Innovation in Health Care

Kara Garcia, PhD, and Steven Becker, MD, share details on the Quality and Innovation in Health Care Scholarly Concentration, which trains future clinicians to improve quality, safety and efficiency in health care systems in any specialty throughout their careers. 

IU School of Medicine  |  Feb 11, 2019