NEWS | August 8, 2012

New, interprofessional course on quality improvement to launch this fall


With a focus on the health system's commitment to interprofessional education and the goal of preparing well-qualified health-care professionals for the future, two professors from the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing collaborated to develop a new, interprofessional course that opens this fall.

"Improving Quality in Health Care" provides students the skills to utilize systematic approaches to identify and address health-care quality issues and design ways to improve efficiency, outcomes and satisfaction.

"By learning together, health professionals gain multiple perspectives to better work and communicate as teams in all settings," said Debra Bakerjian, one of the course creators. "We look forward to working with students across the health disciplines to teach them the fundamentals of quality improvement and guide them in applying quality improvement methodology to address health-care issues. This type of education is essential to meeting our health system's mission to improve lives and transform health care."

The class is open to medical, nursing, public health, health informatics and Mentored Clinical Research Training Program students.

The course creators, Bakerjian and Ulfat Shaikh, will also lead the instruction. Bakerjian is an assistant adjunct professor at the School of Nursing and vice chair for Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Studies. Shaikh is an associate professor of pediatrics and director of health-care quality integration at the health system. Both faculty members are part of the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group, the interprofessional group that leads the UC Davis graduate nursing programs. 

The six-unit course will span the fall and winter quarters. Students will acquire core knowledge about quality improvement methodology and then partner in interdisciplinary teams with UC Davis Health System clinicians to develop quality improvement projects, implement the projects and evaluate the impact on care. To complete the course, students must develop an abstract for submission to the health system's annual Integrating Quality Symposium, which takes place in March.

Shaikh, one of the key organizers of the Integrating Quality Symposium, said the course also reinforces the health system's commitment to system-wide quality improvement, in education and practice.

"We are one of only a few health-care institutions in the nation that have made integrating quality improvement in health education and clinical programs such a major priority," Shaikh said.

This course is one of several interprofessional class offerings at UC Davis Health System, including "Reducing Cancer and Health Disparities," and "Geographic Information Systems."

The Quality Improvement Student Interest Group, which includes nursing, informatics, medical and public health students, requested more educational opportunities regarding quality improvement, which led to the creation of this course.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 619-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit