Who We Are

To make medicine kinder, safer, and more reliable through preeminent programs in education, research and service, fostering professional accountability and risk prevention.


To be recognized internationally as leading the pursuit of professionalism for individuals, leaders, teams and organizations.

CPPA's Founders

Gerald B. Hickson, MD, James W. Pichert, PhD and Charles F. Federspiel, PhD

Between 1980 and 1994, Dr. Hickson and Vanderbilt colleagues published landmark studies on why patients and families sue their doctors and why some are sued more than others. Beginning in 1995, Drs. Hickson, Pichert, and Federspiel, along with Ms. Cynthia Miller received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop and pilot test, “Early identification and response model for doctors at high risk of risk management activity” at Vanderbilt and four community medical centers in another state. Several peer-reviewed publications resulted, and the PARS® program evolved from this work. Other medical centers around the nation contracted to implement the program in their institutions. The PARS group published “Patient Complaints and Malpractice Risk” in JAMA in 2002, showing the strong relationship between these variables.


The Vanderbilt Health Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy was created in 2003. It serves as the Vanderbilt home of the PARS® and CORSsm programs as well as related educational and research activities.





Vanderbilt Health Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy

2135 Blakemore Avenue | Nashville, TN 37212-3505 | Phone: 615-343-4500 (CPPA office) | Fax: 615-343-8580