Cambridge, MA, July 30, 2014: Established by the academic teaching institutions and Harvard Medical School (HMS), the HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is proud to present its five recipients representing the class of 2016.

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. During the course of the program, Fellows will rotate to affiliated community-hospitals, office practices, and clinics.

The inaugural class graduated this past June. Heather Tory, MD, a member of the first graduating class says of the program:

“The people we’ve had the chance to meet through the Fellowship and learn from in a structured way—this has been really incredible. The Fellowship gave us the tools to be able to do quality improvement projects and performance improvement and really be involved in a significant way to have an impact in this field.”

Promoted nationally in the Spring/Summer of 2013, HMS Fellowship applications were screened and finalized in December. Five fellowships were offered and accepted for this class that began July 1, 2014. The recipients include:

Bijay Acharya, MD is currently an Assistant in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his MBBS degree from the B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Nepal. He completed his Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, New York. As someone born and brought up in Nepal, he has been keenly aware of health disparities since his childhood. This passion ultimately led to medical school and an interest toward community-based services for the underserved. While in residency, he helped incorporate quality improvement projects into resident physician contracts. He also leads a non-profit Nyaya Health that works in rural Nepal providing high quality care in low-resource settings. Given his unique set of experiences, he is an unrelenting advocate for improving health systems, and wishes to continue on this trajectory and become a leader in national and international initiatives to improve patient safety. The site for his HMS fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is the Massachusetts General Hospital.

David Lucier, MD, MBA is currently an Internal Medicine Resident (PGY-3) at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Economics, and received his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine. He also obtained an MBA from Tufts, Northeastern University’s School of Business and Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Having a dual interest in both medicine and business provided Dr. Lucier with the opportunity to work with multiple organizations on various projects that combined these degrees. His area of interest is in quality improvement, mainly process improvement and systems redesign. He hopes to gain the training and skills necessary to be a leader throughout his career in hospital medicine. The site for his HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Marc Pimentel, MD is currently a Resident (CA-3) in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He graduated from Columbia College in New York and received his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During his anesthesiology residency, Dr. Pimentel learned of the many innovations in patient safety, that were made by anesthesiologists in response to the historically high morbidity and mortality attributed to general anesthesia. His patient safety work includes a perioperative hand hygiene campaign, as well as a project regarding perioperative eye injuries. Dr. Pimentel plans to become an expert in perioperative patient safety and quality, to ensure that no patient shall be harmed by anesthesia. The site for his HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Melissa Sundberg, MD is currently a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma, was a Research Associate at the University of Michigan Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and received her MD from Wayne State University. Her Pediatric Residency, as well as her Chief Residency was at Yale New Haven Hospital. Dr. Sundberg has had a long-standing interest in applying quality improvement approaches to medicine. During her chief residency year she embraced the opportunities afforded by the position to become involved in several pediatric-specific and hospital-wide quality improvement initiatives. At Children’s Hospital, she has continued to be involved in QI initiatives, and looks forward to the opportunity to solidify her understanding of the science of quality improvement, including the best practices for both conducting QI research as well as implementing the resulting findings to improve patient satisfaction and care. The site for her HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is Boston Children’ Hospital.

Jessica Zerillo, MD is currently a second-year Fellow in Hematology/Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She graduated from Brown University, where she majored in Community Health, and received her MD from Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard School of Public Health. Throughout her education and training, Dr. Zerillo has focused her work on the objective prevention and the study of disease from the viewpoint of a population. Her efforts have spanned from using molecular epidemiology to improve cancer surveillance to studying end-of-life outcomes using a SEER-Medicare database. Jessica looks forward to contributing to future administrative and research efforts aimed at making systems safer and care better for all patients. She plans to retain a clinical practice as well as her commitment toward the education of medical students and trainees. The site for her HMS Fellowship in Patient Safety and Quality is Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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.


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