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. We leverage resources within our VA, across the VA nationally, and those available through our academic affiliate (Vanderbilt), including the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, the Center for Health Services Research, the Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research, the Center for Health Behavior and Health Education, the Department of Biomedical Informatics, the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research, the Center for Quality Aging, the Schools of Management and Education, and the nationally recognized Precision Medicine Initiative and Population Health Initiative, among many others.
Current VA Quality Scholars
First Year Fellows
Laura Rausch, BS, MA, MD
McKenzie Roddy, PhD
McKenzie K. Roddy, MS, PhD received her BS in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went on to complete her MS and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. She completed her clinical internship at Baylor College of Medicine and collaborated with the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety at the Houston Veteran Affairs Medical Center during her time there. Dr. Roddy's research program centers on leveraging technology to improve access to high quality mental health and behavioral medicine care. As a VA Quality Scholar, she focuses on increasing integration of medical, mental, and complementary care.
Sarah Welch, DO, MA
Sarah A. Welch, DO, MA is an Instructor in the Vanderbilt Department of PM&R and a fellow of the Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program. Her research interests lie in geriatric rehabilitative care as it applies to acute care, post-acute care, and transitions of care. She is passionate about delivering evidence-based practices to older adults and evaluating interventions to improve processes and patient outcomes.
Second Year Fellows
Wali Johnson, MD
Dr. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Mercer University in 2011. He then graduated from Morehouse School of Medicine in 2016. He is currently a general surgery resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center pursuing a career in solid organ transplantation. His interests are in perioperative patient optimization using a patient focused model.
Milner Staub, MD
Dr. Staub is an infectious diseases physician with a passion for antimicrobial stewardship, particularly in the outpatient setting. She completed her infectious diseases fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2019. During her infectious diseases fellowship, she was names as an inaugural Leaders in Epidemiology, Antimicrobial Stewardship and Public Health (LEAP) fellow, collaborating with the Tennessee Department of Health to evaluate the state's outpatient antibiotic prescribing. She finished her internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington in 2017, serving as Chief Resident of Quality and Safety at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington 2016-2017.
Jenny Werthman PhD, MBA, RN, NE-BC
Dr. Werthman earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, a Master of Science in Health Services Leadership and Management from the University of Maryland, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Baltimore, and her PhD in Nursing Science from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She has broad experience in nursing and healthcare leadership. Her research interests focus on organizational concerns including patient safety, organizational systems, and hospital workforce.
Third Year Fellows
Morgan Clouse, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Dr. Clouse is a Postdoctoral Quality Improvement Fellow who received her DNP as a family nurse practitioner at Belmont University in Nashville in 2018. She is focusing on quality improvement and patient safety to improve healthcare for veterans. Her work focuses on addressing antimicrobial stewardship on a systemic level through behavioral interventions. Dr. Clouse currently practices as a nurse practitioner in the Infectious Disease Clinic at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System where she deals with complex infections and HIV focused care.
Caroline Lassen-Greene, PhD, MS
Caroline Lassen-Greene is a postdoctoral fellow in the VA Quality Scholars program. Her interests are in improved detection of cognitive impairment in aging populations, cognitive rehabilitation, and interdisciplinary care to promote quality of life in patients and caregivers. She completed a master’s degree in neuroscience at Tulane University and a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with an emphasis in health and rehabilitation psychology. She has broad experience in neuropsychological research through her work with the UAB Center for Translational Research on Aging and Mobility, Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical Psychology division, and the Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) center at VUMC.