Cambridge, MA , May 2, 2012 —Established by the academic teaching institutions and Harvard Medical School (HMS), the HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is proud to present its first four recipients representing the Class of 2012.

The CRICO-funded two-year postgraduate program is offered to physicians who are in, or have completed, a residency or fellowship program. The primary goal of the HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is to train a select group of individuals to lead operational improvement initiatives within the Harvard medical system and across the nation.

The HMS Fellowship represents a collaboration of quality and safety leaders across the Harvard medical institutions. Tejal Gandhi, MD of Partners HealthCare will serve as Fellowship Director with Susan Abookire, MD of Mount Auburn Hospital serving as Curriculum Director. Fellows will be paired with at least one mentor at their assigned site, and will receive oversight and assistance from the organization’s Director/VP of Quality and Safety along with guidance from CRICO faculty. During the course of the program, Fellows will rotate to affiliated community-hospitals, office practices, and clinics.

Dr. Luke Sato, Sr. VP and CMO for CRICO explains:

CRICO’s vision in funding this program was to expose clinicians to the nuances between risk, quality, and safety through the lens of malpractice. By investing in the development of human capital with a unique set of skills, we hope to develop an understanding of how to implement broad-reaching interventions that will have a dynamic impact on improving patient safety and quality.

Promoted nationally in the Spring/Summer of 2011, HMS Fellowship applications were screened and finalized in December. Four fellowships were offered and accepted for this inaugural class beginning July 1, 2012. The recipients include:

  • Yvonne Cheung, MD Staff Anesthesiologist at Newton-Wellesley, Emerson, and Massachusetts General Hospitals. She graduated from Harvard University and received her MD degree from Columbia, followed by a Medicine internship at Mount Auburn and residency in Anesthesia at Mass General. Dr. Cheung will conduct her HMS Fellowship at Mount Auburn Hospital where she plans to focus on developing procedures and systems that make the practice of medicine safer for all.
  • Yael Kushner, MD Renal pathologist and Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement in the Department of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She received her MD degree from McGill University, followed by residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Montreal General Hospital and a Renal Pathology fellowship at Massachusetts General. Dr. Kushner will explore her particular interest in the role of quality assurance and quality improvement in anatomic pathology during her HMS Fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
  • Heather Tory, MD Fellow in Pediatric Rheumatology at Children's Hospital Boston. She graduated from Middlebury College and received her MD degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, followed by a pediatric residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Tory hopes to improve quality of life and outcome measures in pediatric patients with rheumatic disease during her HMS Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
  • Ian Zenlea, MD Pediatric Endocrinology Fellow at Children's Hospital Boston. He graduated from Middlebury College and received his MD degree from the University of Vermont, followed by a pediatric residency at Yale where he was also a Chief Resident. Dr. Zenlea envisions quality improvements in the treatment of pediatric obesity through his HMS Fellowship at Children's Hospital Boston.

These individuals will be expected to achieve the following primary Objectives during the tenure of their HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality:

  • Understand the scientific basis of quality improvement and patient safety, including the epidemiology and nature of medical error, quality measurement and data analysis, research and evaluation design, improvement tools and techniques, as well as best practices.
  • Develop competence in designing and conducting QI projects using rigorous methods, the results of which can be communicated through publication.
  • Learn to facilitate/lead healthcare professionals in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Navigate and understand the complex dynamics of hospitals/clinical operations.

To maintain their clinical skills and have insight into practical health care operations, fellows will maintain a small clinical practice. However, at least 80% of their time is to be dedicated to HMS Fellowship activities.

Contact: Missy Padoll
T. 617.450.6841
F. 617.450.8299


CRICO is the patient safety and medical malpractice insurance company owned by and serving the Harvard medical community since 1976.

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