VA Quality Scholars

Program Overview

The VA Quality Scholars program is known for its robust research and quality improvement programs and close collaborations with Vanderbilt University and its vast array of resources. The Nashville VA Quality Scholars site leverages resources within our VA, across the VA nationally, and those available through our academic affiliate (Vanderbilt). In addition to nurse and physician fellows/scholars, our site is open to applicants from other clinical health professions.

Learn more here

VAQS Program Information and Standard Operating Procedures 2023

Application and Selection Process

The application process has a rolling deadline and offers are extended when a strong candidate has applied, met the qualifications, and is recommended by the program faculty.

Eligibility Criteria

Prospective candidates for the VA Tennessee Valley Quality Scholars Program must meet the broad eligibility requirements listed on the national VA Quality Scholar website and meet all criteria under the relevant clinical profession: physician, nurse, clinical psychology, or associated health.

Initial Inquiry

An initial discussion will clarify the candidate’s career goals and assess the appropriateness of the VA Quality Scholars Program for their training. This discussion will also address questions the candidate might have regarding the program.

Interested and eligible candidates are encouraged to contact the program director, Robert Dittus, MD, MPH; the program deputy director, Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH; the senior nurse scholar, Deonni Stolldorf, PhD; or the senior psychology scholar, Sandra Simmons, PhD. Each of these individuals can be reached through the program manager, Hayly Schmidt at or, or by reaching out directly to the faculty member.

Formal Application

If the candidate wishes to make a formal application to the program, the next step is to submit a CV and letter of interest in the program to the program director. Following receipt of these materials, the program director, deputy director, and relevant senior scholar (depending on the clinical profession of the applicant) discuss the candidate’s qualifications and career fit for the program. If it is determined that there is an appropriate fit and that the candidate has the appropriate qualifications, then interviews are scheduled with the program faculty.

Selection Process

Following interviews, a recommendation is made by each of the program faculty with regard to extending an offer to join the program as a Quality Scholar fellow. In the case that multiple qualified and strong applicants are under consideration, the faculty rank order the candidates and a summary rank are used to determine the order of extending an offer to join the program.

We seek to matriculate three or four new scholars each year with not more than two being from the same clinical profession.

Current VA Quality Scholar Fellows

Learn more about the current cohort of Nashville VAQS fellows here.