Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, SFHM, FACP
Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research
Director, Center for Health Services Research
Dr. Kripalani is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research, and Director of the Center for Health Services Research. He has developed, implemented, and evaluated numerous interventions to improve the quality, safety, value, and patient-centeredness of health care delivery, with a focus on health communication, social determinants of health, medication management, and transitions of care. He has experience in the development of evidence-based toolkits, mentored implementation programs, mixed-methods evaluation of interventions in clinical practice, and de-implementation of wasteful practices. He graduated from Rice University, received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine, and trained in Internal Medicine at Emory University, where he also completed a Hospital Medicine Fellowship and a Master of Science in Clinical Research. Dr. Kripalani’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. He is Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research (V-STTaR) K12 career development program, serves as a Co-Investigator for the Vanderbilt CTSA Learning Health System platform, and leads the Implementation Core of the Precision Medicine and Health Disparities Collaborative. He is Chair of the AHRQ Healthcare Effectiveness and Outcomes Research (HEOR) study section and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospital Medicine. He previously founded and served as Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine at Vanderbilt.
Carolyn Audet, PhD
Associate Professor of Health Policy
Associate Director, Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research
Dr. Audet is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and the Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In 2008 she joined the Institute for Global Health as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and began research on barriers to HIV testing and treatment uptake in Mozambique. As a faculty member, she has received funding from ViiV Health Care to pilot a male engagement in antenatal care services in rural Mozambique (2011-2014), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (through a sub-contract from UCSF) to assess a Positive Prevention clinical training intervention (2010-2014), a career development award (K12) from Vanderbilt University to gather information on traditional treatment practices in South Africa and increase traditional healer referrals of patients with suspected mental illness, TB, HIV, and diarrhea in Mozambique (2012-2015), and the National Institutes of Health (National Institute for Mental Health K01 Award) to assess feasibility of engaging traditional healers as HIV treatment partners in Mozambique (2015-2019), and an NIMH R01 award to study the impact of couple-based care and treatment for HIV-positive partners expecting a child (2017-2022). Her research has led to changes in national health policy. Traditional healers, recently recognized as potential allies in health care delivery, use low-literacy patient referral forms piloted by her team in 2012-2013. Male partners, traditionally excluded from antenatal, delivery, and post-natal care in Mozambique, are now formally invited to participate in couples-based services, including HIV counseling and testing after a pilot intervention increased male engagement, leading to higher proportion of women testing for HIV, accepting treatment (if positive), and delivering at the health facility. Working with the Ministry of Health and PEPFAR framework, Dr. PEPFAR framework, Dr. Audet is testing new education and counseling systems to safely and effectively engage family members in the HIV care of patients.
Lyndsay A. Nelson, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director, CCQIR Scholarly Series
Dr. Nelson is a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health. She is a social/health psychologist who has helped lead large, multi-site, behavioral clinical trials to improve diabetes management in both federally qualified health centers and academic medical centers. Dr. Nelson also has expertise in patient and stakeholder engagement, and in the design and usability of technology-delivered interventions. Broadly, her research goals include designing digital tools that effectively engage underserved patients to help reduce health disparities and implementing these tools in routine clinical care. Dr. Nelson has received extensive training in implementation science through the Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research K12 program and the Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health. She is a core faculty member in Vanderbilt’s Center for Diabetes Translation Research, the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center, and the Vanderbilt Center for Effective Health Communication.
Faculty and Affiliate Members
Aimalohi (Aima) Ahonkhai, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
Dr. Ahonkhai is an Infectious Disease clinician with focused training in HIV medicine, epidemiology, and outcomes research. Dr. Ahonkhai's goal is to design novel care delivery interventions to improve the quality of HIV care in resource-limited settings and to optimize clinical outcomes for marginalized HIV patients. She has focused her efforts in implementation research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Ahonkhai has successfully established collaborations with NGOs in South Africa and Nigeria to consider measures to assess the quality of HIV care in these settings. Dr. Ahonkhai has also focused on health-system level predictors of patient-level outcomes, including medication possession ration and patient-centered care.
Muktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH, MPH
Professor of Health Policy and Medicine
Associate Director for Research, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
Dr. Aliyu is Associate Professor of Health Policy and Medicine and Associate Director for Research with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Dr. Aliyu attended medical school at the Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and completed graduate training in public health at the George Washington University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He joined Vanderbilt University after completing residency and fellowship training at Meharry Medical College and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His research interests are in developing evidence-based implementation science approaches to improving quality and coverage of HIV services in international settings (especially services for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission). He is a principal investigator on research and training grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and is the recipient of several awards, including the Mayo Foundation’s William H.J. Summerskill Award for Outstanding Research Achievement, the American College of Preventive Medicine’s William Kane ‘Rising Star’ award, and the UAB Alumni Award for Scientific Excellence, among others. Dr. Aliyu is board-certified in General Preventive Medicine & Public Health and is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.
Leanne Boehm, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FCCM
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Dr. Boehm is an Assistant Professor in the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Her research aims to eliminate delirium, oversedation and immobilization in intensive care, and maximize the quality of survivorship for patients and family members following critical illness. Dr. Boehm has worked extensively on reducing the prevalence of ICU delirium through implementation of the ABCDEF bundle. She has advanced training in implementation science and quality improvement. Her current research is evaluating the feasibility of telehealth delivery for ICU Recovery Care. Dr. Boehm is an investigator with Vanderbilt's Center for Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction and Survivorship.
Carol Callaway-Lane, DNP, ACNP-BC
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Associate Director for Quality Improvement Projects for Nashville VA Quality Scholars Program
Dr. Callaway-Lane is the Director of Quality Improvement Workshop & Practicum within the National Geriatric Scholars Program, Associate Director for Quality Improvement Projects for the Nashville VA Quality Scholars Program, co-Director of the Lung Cancer Screening Program at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System and remains on faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Dr. Callaway-Lane has been at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System since 1996 and is passionate about improving healthcare quality for the Veteran population.
Neesha Choma, MD, MPH, FACP
Executive Medical Director of Quality and Patient Safety, VU Hospital & Clinics
Associate Chief of Staff, VUH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Choma is the Executive Medical Director of Quality and Patient Safety for Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH) and Clinics, and Co-Director of the Adult Performance Management & Improvement Department. She also serves as one of the Associate Chiefs of Staff for VUH, and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Choma graduated with an MD with Distinction in Research from Albany Medical College in Albany, NY, where she stayed to complete her Residency and Chief Residency in Internal Medicine. In 2006, she joined Vanderbilt as faculty in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Choma went on to complete a VA Quality Scholars Fellowship, and received her Masters of Public Health degree from Vanderbilt. Her primary academic interest is improving the quality and safety of healthcare delivery for patients at both local and national levels.
Kate Clouse, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Nursing
Dr. Kate Clouse’s research focuses on HIV and TB in South Africa, with a particular interest in operational issues related to improved HIV treatment and care, including patient engagement in care and TB/HIV integration. Her work has helped to recognize that women who are diagnosed with HIV during antenatal care in South Africa fall out of care at alarmingly high rates, and that the risk of loss is greatest after delivery. Throughout her extensive field experience in low-resource settings, Dr. Clouse has led data collection efforts and deployed data capturing systems, coordinated medical record review audits, overseen data quality assurance efforts, and led capacity-building efforts via collaborative partners. In 2015, Dr. Clouse was awarded a K01 award from the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) to explore the impact of frequent population mobility on retention in pregnant and postpartum HIV care in South Africa. This work was followed by a three-year R34 award (2019) from NIMH to assess the feasibility, acceptability and initial efficacy of CareConekta, a novel smartphone app that characterizes population mobility while providing an opportunity to improve engagement in HIV care among peripartum women in South Africa. An epidemiologist by training, Dr. Clouse shares an Associate Professor appointment with the Institute for Global Health and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.
Robert Dittus, MD, MPH
Albert and Bernard Werthan Chair in Medicine
Professor of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Public Health and Health Care
Senior Associate Dean for Population Health Sciences
Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President, Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network
Director, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System
Director, Quality Scholars Program, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System
Dr. Dittus is the Albert and Bernard Werthan Professor of Medicine, Executive Vice President for Public Health and Health Care, Senior Associate Dean for Population Health Sciences, and Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network. He also serves as the Director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and Senior Quality Scholar and Director of the Quality Scholars Program at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. He received his MD from Indiana University, where he also completed his internship and residency. He received his MPH from the University of North Carolina. Dr. Dittus has combined training in industrial engineering; the advancement of healthcare quality improvement through medicine and epidemiology; outcomes of care; and overall individual and population health through his research on the effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, safety and equity of health care. He has advanced the methodology of medical decision-making and conducted numerous studies delineating the comparative effectiveness of alternative strategies for clinical care. He has also conducted studies on health care microsystems that have improved health care delivery, and on health care macrosystems that have led to improvements in health policy. Dr. Dittus has led or been co-investigator of over $300 million in research and training funding, and has authored over 200 publications. He has trained over 100 fellows and junior faculty, served as the President of the Association for Clinical Research Training, received the 2013 Distinguished Educator Award from the Association for Clinical and Translational Science, and served as the founding President of the Academy for Healthcare Improvement.
Rowena Dolor, MD, MHS
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine
Rowena J. Dolor, MD, MHS is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine. The focus of her research pertains to primary care clinical and outcomes research. Dr. Dolor has contributed to the development and methodology of Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs). She has served as a co-investigator on the Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network, a PCORnet awardee, to build the partnership with the community practices for comparative effectiveness studies that will utilize the electronic health records/information system infrastructure of the CDRN. She was also a co-investigator on the MidSouth Practice Transformation Network (PTN), part of the CMS Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI), working with the Stakeholder Engagement and Practice Engagement teams to support nearly 4,000 clinicians and over 100 practices as they transform their practices to prepare for value-based payment models.
Daniel France, PhD
Research Professor of Anesthesiology, Medicine & Biomedical Engineering
Dr. France is a Research Professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine and works in the Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety at Vanderbilt. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 1997. Dr. France’s research interest is in health systems engineering with a primary focus on computer modeling to explain the relationships between hospital efficiency, provider performance, and patient safety. He is particularly interested in applying knowledge from other high-risk industries and methods from human factors and systems engineering to study and improve operational efficiency and individual and team performance in complex, high-risk clinical environments. He is a member of the Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety (CRISS).
Bill Heerman, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Chief, Section of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Fellowship Director, General Academic Pediatrics
Co-Director of Epidemiology Track, MPH Program
Dr. Bill Heerman is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. He is the Fellowship Director for Academic General Pediatrics and the Director of General Pediatrics Divisional Research. He also co-leads the Epidemiology Track of Vanderbilt's Master in Public Health Program. Dr. Heerman's research focuses on improving maternal-child health outcomes related to obesity in communities through the development and implementation of behavioral interventions to support healthy childhood growth. He has a particular focus on low-income and minority populations and is committed to creating multi-generational solutions to health disparities. His work relies heavily on the theories of health behavior change and the theories of implementation science to guide a pragmatic approach to community-based intervention development.
Cathy Ivory, PhD, RN-BC, RNC-OB, NEA-BC, FAAN
Senior Director of Nursing Research
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
Dr. Ivory is the Senior Director of Nursing Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she has responsibility for facilitating the evidence-based practice and research activities for nurses across the enterprise. As a member of the executive nursing team, she collaborates with operational leaders to improve process and practice and evaluate change. She is also faculty at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. A health services researcher by training, and an informatics nurse, she is especially interested in using data generated by nurses to make nursing practice visible and demonstrate the unique contribution of the nurse to outcomes. She is the former maternal quality improvement consultant for the Tennessee Improving Perinatal Quality Collaborative (TIPQC) and former faculty for the VA Quality Scholars program.
Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, RN, FAAN
Assistant Dean for Clinical Scholarship, Professor of Nursing
Independence Foundation Chair in Nursing Education
Senior Nurse Scholar, VA Quality Scholars
Dr. Kleinpell has conducted research related to patient outcomes in hospitalized older adults and post-discharge follow-up interventions using telehealth for vulnerable populations including elderly patients at high risk for hospital readmission. She has also conducted research focusing on outcomes after ICU treatment and role development of acute care nurse practitioners, among other funded studies. She recently served as principal investigator on an AHRQ-funded dissemination and research implementation grant aimed at disseminating patient-centered outcomes research and as PI on a PCORI funded 2-year initiative to promote patient-centered outcomes research in ICU settings, using a national collaborative with 63 hospital ICU teams to implement patient and family centered initiatives. As the Assistant Dean for Clinical Scholarship, she serves as a mentor to junior faculty for clinical scholarship and research initiatives, collaborates on Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) clinical projects, and provides consultation to the VUMC advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) through the Office of Advanced Practice for various scholarship initiatives. She also serves as PI for a national collaborative through the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Office of Advanced Practice for a national Choosing Wisely- APRN initiative.
Lindsay Mayberry, PhD, MS
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Effective Health Communication Core
Co-Director, Center for Health Behavior and Health Education
Dr. Mayberry received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2006. In 2008, she received her master’s degree in Community Counseling, with an emphasis on couples and families from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She completed her Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program called Community Research and Action in the department of Human and Organizational Development at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University in 2012, and began a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Services Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her research focuses on families’ experiences with the health and mental health care systems, and interactions between family members and health care providers in the context of chronic illness. Her current work focuses on the role of family member support in diabetes self-management behaviors among adults to inform the development of family-based interventions.
Allison McCoy, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Dr. McCoy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at VUMC and a member of the Vanderbilt Center for Clinical Informatics (VCLIC). She is also a founding member and Director of Technology for the Clinical Informatics Research Collaborative (CIRCLE). She received her MS and PhD in Biomedical Informatics from Vanderbilt University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics in Houston. Her research, funded by NLM and AHRQ, focuses on developing and implementing novel, generalizable approaches to evaluating and improving electronic health records and clinical decision support using existing data sources to promote safer and more affordable healthcare.
Amanda S. Mixon, MD, MS, MSPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, Section of Hospital Medicine
Director, Vanderbilt Implementation and Quality Improvement Core
Dr. Mixon is an Associate Professor who joined the Vanderbilt faculty and the VA Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Care Center in 2010. She graduated from Earlham College with a BA and from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center with an MD degree. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine, VA Quality Scholars Fellowship, and Masters of Science in Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Her research interests focus on care transitions, the effect of social determinants on readmission rates, medication errors across care settings, and deprescribing in patients with polypharmacy. Her research is funded by VA Health Services Research & Development, PCORI, and NIH and has led to notable invitations including serving as an expert for the WHO’s Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medications without Harm. Dr. Mixon is also a member of the Executive Committee for the Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research (V-STTaR) K12 career development program.
Laurie Novak, PhD, MHSA, FAMIA
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI)
Director, DBMI Center of Excellence in Applied Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Novak is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. She graduated from University of Michigan with a MHSA in Health Management and Policy. She then went on to graduate from Wayne State University with a PhD in Medical and Organizational Anthropology. Her research expertise lies in qualitative research and evaluation of the relationship between information systems and work in clinical settings, especially activities related to the design and implementation of large-scale clinical informatics systems. Her current focus is on the implementation of predictive analytics in clinical settings. Other areas of interest include the structuring of routines to support everyday chronic illness self-care, the social construction of risk and safety among clinicians and patients, and strategies employed by clinicians to create safety during the implementation of new technology. In the biomedical informatics training program, Dr. Novak lectures on organizational studies, methods in qualitative research, and economic evaluation. She is a member of the Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety (CRISS).
Rangaraj (Ranga) Ramanujam, PhD
Richard M. and Betty Ruth Miller Professor of Healthcare Management
Owen Graduate School of Management
Dr. Ramanujam is a Professor of Management in the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Ramanujam graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2000 with a PhD in Electrical Engineering. Professor Ramanujam is a leading researcher and consultant on the organizational causes and consequences of operational failures in high-risk work settings. His current research examines the role of leadership, communication, and learning processes in enhancing the quality and safety of healthcare. Professor Ramanujam is currently the co-editor of the Stanford University Press series on High Reliability and Crisis Management.
Russell Rothman, MD, MPP
Professor, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, & Health Policy
Ingram Chair in Integrative and Population Health
Senior Vice President, Population and Public Health
Director, Institute for Medicine and Public Health
Dr. Rothman is a Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Health Policy. He serves as Senior Vice President for Population Health Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and he is Chief of the Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Section in the Department of Medicine. As Director of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Rothman oversees an Institute that engages more than 292 faculty members involved in health services research, implementation science, behavioral research, health disparities research, quality improvement research and other areas aimed at improving health outcomes. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator of the PCORI funded STAR Clinical Research Network, which engages Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, Meharry Medical College, Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Health Sciences of South Carolina and Mayo. The network includes electronic health record data on over 12 million patients and supports pragmatic clinical research and real world evidence research. Dr. Rothman also led the CMS funded Mid-South Practice Transformation Network, which engaged over 4,000 clinicians in quality improvement in the Mid-South region. Dr. Rothman received his bachelor's, medical, and public policy degrees from Duke University, where he also completed a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency. His current research focuses on preventing, managing, and improving care for adult and pediatric patients with chronic diseases, with particular focus on health literacy and numeracy in patients with diabetes and obesity.
Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH
Professor, Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
Deputy Director, VA TVHS Quality Scholars Program
Director, Master of Public Health Program, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Roumie is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. She received her bachelor’s from Rutgers University, her medical degree from the Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School, and her public health degree from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Roumie also completed her Internal Medicine and Pediatrics training at Vanderbilt. After residency, she joined the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt, for which she currently serves as Deputy Director. Dr. Roumie’s area of research has been the design and execution of interventions to improve cardiovascular risk factors among patients and ultimately lead to decreases in cardiovascular morbidity. A major focus of her work has been the evaluation of implementation of appropriate medication utilization as a barrier to optimal patient outcomes, and as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Roumie has participated in multiple expert committees on appropriate medication prescribing including: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Diabetes Multi-Center Research Consortium Executive Committee, the Veterans Health Administration Geriatrics Pharmacy taskforce on appropriate prescribing, and serves as a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC). She serves as Principal Investigator of the Learning Health System Scholars (LHSS K12) and the Patient/pRactice Outcomes Research in Effectiveness and Systems Science (PROgRESS) T32 Programs. Dr. Roumie is Program Director of The Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research (V-STTaR) K12 Program.
Jonathan S. Schildcrout, PhD, FASA
Professor of Biostatistics
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Biostatistics
Dr. Schildcrout received a BS in Mathematics from Indiana University, a MS in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina, and a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Washington. He joined Vanderbilt University in 2004 and has collaborated extensively in research involving personalized medicine, health services research, biomedical informatics and applications in anesthesiology. His methodological research pertains to prediction modeling, efficient study designs, longitudinal data analyses, analyses of electronic health records data, and planned (by design) and unplanned selection mechanisms. Dr. Schildcrout develops resource efficient epidemiological study designs for longitudinal data that extend scalar response data designs (e.g., case-control design and case-cohort design) to the longitudinal data domain wherein within-person changes over time can be observed. He also has a keen interest in predictive modeling of patient outcomes with electronic health records data. He is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association.
Rebecca Selove, PhD, MPH
Research Associate Professor
Director, Center for Prevention Research
Tennessee State University
Behavioral Scientist, Meharry-Vanderbilt-TSU Cancer Partnership
Dr. Selove has served as a Research Associate Professor in the Center for Prevention Research at Tennessee State University (TSU) since 2013. She was recruited as a Behavioral Scientist for the Meharry-Vanderbilt-TSU Cancer Partnership. She previously worked as a clinical psychologist in community mental health centers, public schools, inpatient and outpatient medical settings. In those settings she became aware of challenges within organizations that aim to implement new interventions to support individual provider, patient, and family behavior changes. This led her to her current focus on implementation science in research activities that include promoting tobacco use prevention and cessation among African Americans, and improving quality of life for rural cancer survivors.
Sandra F. Simmons, PhD, MA
Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Aging Research
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging
Senior Scholar for the VA Quality Scholar Program
Deputy Assistant Director, VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
Dr. Simmons is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics. She also holds a secondary appointment as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. Her educational background is in clinical psychology with an emphasis in gerontology. She currently serves as the Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging, Senior Scholar for the VA Quality Scholar Program, and Deputy Assistant Director of Research at the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Veterans Administration. her research foci include clinical interventions to improve quality of care and quality of life for older adults in a variety of care settings including acute care, post-acute care, long term care and dementia care within assisted-living. Dr. Simmons is most well known for her extensive work in developing both quality improvement tools and clinical interventions to improve nutritional care quality in nursing homes. She is also known for her work related to staffing issues in the long-term care setting. However, her most recent work focuses on interventions to improve health outcomes for hospitalized older adults discharged to post-acute care and examining dementia care quality within assisted-living. Dr. Simmons provides training and mentorship for geriatric fellows, medical students and junior faculty with interests in aging research.
Jenny M. Slayton, DNP, RN
Senior Vice President for Quality Safety and Risk Prevention
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Jenny Morris Slayton joined VUMC in 1998 and began her nursing career in 1999 in the Pediatric Emergency Department. In 2005, she started her journey in quality and patient safety when joining the Performance Management and Improvement team in the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital as a Quality Consultant. She later transitioned to serving as the Administrative Director of the PM&I Department and partnered with Children’s Hospital leadership to drive improvements in quality and patient safety while serving on many state and national committees designed to drive quality across Children’s Hospitals. In 2015, Jenny expanded her role as Vice President for Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention serving VUMC across pediatrics, adult and psychiatric entities. Later in 2020, Jenny was elevated to Senior Vice President for Quality Safety and Risk Prevention for the Vanderbilt Health System, now supporting the main VUMC campus as well as the Regional Hospitals. Her work focuses on leading Quality and Patient Safety Programs in collaboration with leaders from the health system to ensure safe, reliable patient care across the continuum. Jenny holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Degree from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing Degree from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Middle Tennessee State University.
Lucy Spalluto, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Vice Chair for Health Equity
Associate Director, Diversity and Inclusion
Director, Women in Radiology
Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Dr. Spalluto is an Associate Professor who joined the VUMC faculty in 2014. She earned her medical degree from University of Virginia School of Medicine, completed her residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Brown University, and her fellowship in Women’s Imaging at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her clinical work focuses on breast imaging, including mammography, ultrasound, MRI and image-guided procedures. In 2019, Dr. Spalluto completed the VA Quality Scholars Health Services Research Fellowship and Vanderbilt Master of Public Health program. She leads an active research program focused on addressing health disparities, designing health equity focused learning materials for healthcare professionals, and mentoring residents and medical students interested in health equity. She currently co-leads the Program Evaluation of the VA-Partnership to increase Access to Lung Screening and the Program Evaluation of the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program and Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. She serves on the American College of Radiology's Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care and Commission for Women and Diversity, and as the President of the American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR).
Deonni Stolldorf, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Dr. Stolldorf is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt, who recently completed the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program in Nashville. She trained as a nurse in South Africa and as a nurse practitioner in the United States. She holds degrees from the University of the Free State and Johannesburg University (South Africa) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Stolldorf is a healthcare systems researcher with a focus on the sustainability of innovations. Her work seeks to understand and improve the sustainability of innovations in hospitals to enhance organizational performance related to patient safety and the quality and effectiveness of care. She draws on Organization Theory and Implementation Science in the development of research proposals and uses both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
Thomas R. Talbot, MD, MPH, FSHEA, FIDSA
Professor of Medicine
Chief Hospital Epidemiologist
Dr. Talbot is a Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Talbot is a recognized expert in the field of healthcare epidemiology and infection control, as he currently serves as a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and recently served on the Board of Directors for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). He also serves on the Editorial Board for Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the preeminent journal in the field. Dr. Talbot's clinical research is centered on the area of healthcare epidemiology and infection control. He has a particular interest in vaccination of healthcare workers and the prevention of healthcare-associated infections. Dr. Talbot has more than 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals, with original research studies focusing on healthcare personnel vaccination, HAI surveillance, and improving hand hygiene as a tool to drive a culture of safety. As a part of his role as the Chief Hospital Epidemiologist, he oversees the surveillance and prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) at VUMC, including the development of education for staff and physicians and the implementation of quality improvement interventions designed to reduce patient morbidity and mortality related to HAIs.
Cecelia Theobald, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Department of Medicine
Dr. Theobald is an Associate Professor of Medicine. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and completed her residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University. Following residency, she completed both a Quality Scholars fellowship at the Nashville VA and her Master’s in Public Health from Vanderbilt University. She has been at Vanderbilt University Medical Center since 2008 and practices outpatient primary care and inpatient general internal medicine including supervising resident trainees. She is Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Medicine and has been recognized for her work evaluating the implementation of improvement initiatives. Her research interests focus on improving the safety of care transitions, the implementation of evidence-based strategies into bedside care, and teaching quality improvement skills.
Kim Unertl, PhD, FACMI
Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Dr. Unertl is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Unertl graduated from Vanderbilt University with a PhD in biomedical Informatics. Her current research focuses on inter-organizational collaboration and cross- organization workflow among academic medical centers and community-based healthcare providers. She is working with Dr. Michael DeBaun as part of the Vanderbilt-Meharry-Matthew Walker Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease Care. She is interested in the interaction between clinical workflow and health information technology. Her primary research interest is improving the fit between technology and work practices through the development of health information technology design and implementation strategies.
Eduard E. Vasilevskis, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Chief, Section of Hospital Medicine
Director of Medical Student Education
Dr. Vasilevskis is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and staff physician with the Tennessee Valley VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Care Center. He completed medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, followed by residency and chief residency at the University California, San Francisco. He completed fellowship training at the Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Division of General Internal Medicine and Hospital Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. During fellowship he trained in health services research methods, including risk-adjustment modeling, quality metric development, and clinical epidemiology. Currently Dr. Vasilevskis’ clinical focus is in hospital medicine and geriatrics, where he now serves as a medical inpatient and consultation attending, and a physician provider on the Geriatric Evaluation and Management team. His research to date has focused on quality and efficiency measurement in the hospital and intensive care unit setting. Currently, Dr. Vasilevskis is working with the ICU delirium group and the Center of Quality Aging to improve efforts in the translation of important clinical research findings into broader clinical practice in order to reduce the burden of delirium and adverse safety events among hospitalized patients.
Timothy Vogus, PhD
Brownlee O. Currey Jr., Professor of Management
Owen Graduate School of Management
Dr. Vogus is a Professor of Management, and has been on faculty at the Owen Graduate School of Management since 2004. Dr. Vogus graduated in 2004 from Ross School of Business at University of Michigan with a PhD in Management and Organizations. He currently teaches a course in the MBA core curriculum. Professor Vogus' research focuses on the mechanisms through which organizations create and sustain a culture of safety as well as how they enact highly reliable performance through mindful organizing – a set of behaviors by which collectives detect and correct errors and unexpected events. He is especially interested in these dynamics in health care settings and their effects on the incidence of medical error at the point of care delivery.
Michael Ward, MD, PhD, MBA
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Michael Ward, MD, PhD, MBA is a board-certified emergency physician, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a staff emergency physician at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville. He earned his PhD in operations management at the University of Cincinnati after completing a research fellowship in operations research. He was a previous K12 Scholar from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and is a recipient of a K23 Career Development Award from NHLBI. His research is funded by the NIH and the Department of Veterans Affairs focusing on care transitions, feedback systems, and implementation of telehealth in emergency care settings.
Matthew Weinger, MD
Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety & Medical Simulation
Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Medical Education
Associate Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Department of Anesthesiology
Senior Physician Scientist, Geriatrics Research Education & Clinical Center
Tennessee Valley VA Healthcare System
Director, Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety (CRISS)
Dr. Weinger holds the Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety and Medical Simulation and is a Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Medical Education at Vanderbilt. He is the Director of the Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety (CRISS) that specializes in human factors, informatics, simulation, and quality improvement research and implementation. He holds a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a Master's degree in Biology from Stanford University. He completed his MD degree at the University of California–San Diego and did his anesthesiology residency training at the University of California–San Francisco. Dr. Weinger has been teaching and conducting research in patient safety, human factors, health services research, biomedical informatics, healthcare simulation, technology development/evaluation, and clinical decision making for a quarter century. Other active projects address issues of teamwork and communication, the effects of interruptions of care, and the analysis of patient safety events. Dr. Weinger has received nearly $7 million in direct research support from federal agencies and major non-profit foundations. He has mentored dozens of junior faculty (two currently on foundation grants), as well as 12 post-doctoral fellows, 3 PhD students, and almost 100 pre-doctoral, medical, and undergraduate students.
Asli Ozdas Weitkamp, PhD, FAMIA
Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Director, Knowledge Engineering, Health IT
Asli Ozdas Weitkamp, PhD, is an Associatet Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Director of Knowledge Engineering in HealthIT. In this role, she oversees the curation of a variety of knowledge bases that drive clinical decision support (CDS) applications integrated into VUMC's clinical systems. Dr. Weitkamp’s area of expertise focuses on Clinical Decision Support (CDS) design and delivery specifically leveraging CDS best practices to integrate evidence-based as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven solutions that aim to improve key organizational performance metrics including quality, safety, and resource utilization. Her expertise is to utilize sustainable and data driven approaches to CDS and implement it in a fashion that brings the largest value to organizations, providers and patients while creating the least possible disruption. Dr. Weitkamp is an expert in implementing operational processes for CDS governance and lifecycle management. More recently, Dr. Weitkamp has been focusing on clinical knowledge management solutions to create mobilized and sustainable CDS solutions and have given multiple workshops and tutorials on this topic.
William Wester, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, Global Health Pathway (VUMC Internal Medicine Residency)
Associate Director, Global Health Faculty Development
C. William (“Bill”) Wester, is an Infectious Disease epidemiologist and internist with extensive HIV/AIDS research experience in resource-limited settings of the world, Dr. Wester's research focuses on implementation science and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with a particular focus on kidney complications. Through his faculty appointment at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Wester currently works with the scale-up efforts and site mentoring of large public ART treatment programs in Africa (as Project Director of a large PEPFAR program in Mozambique). Before joining Vanderbilt, he lived and worked in Botswana for eight years, with the Harvard School of Public Health where he helped establish and maintain its national adult ARV treatment program.
Kathleene Wooldridge, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
Dr. Wooldridge is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Hospital Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University and her medical degree from the University Of Tennessee Health Science Center College Of Medicine. Following her Internal Medicine Residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, she joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2014. Dr. Wooldridge completed both the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship through the Nashville VA and a Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology from Vanderbilt University in 2016. Dr. Wooldridge also serves as the Medical Director of Patient Flow for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her academic interests include quality improvement initiatives in patient care transitions and hospital flow.
Adam Wright, PhD, FACMI, FAMIA, FIAHSI
Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Director, Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center
Dr. Wright is a Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and serves as the director of the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC). Dr. Wright has led NIH, AHRQ and ONC-funded projects on clinical problem lists, malfunctions in clinical decision support systems, approaches for sharing clinical decision support nationally and adverse event detection using machine learning. Dr. Wright is also a founding member and director of research for the Clinical Informatics Research Collaborative and directs clinical decision support operations at VUMC. He is active nationally, serving as a board member of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), an Associate Editor for Applied Clinical Informatics, and an Editorial Board Member for Methods of Information in Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.