First Stanford Medicine-Intermountain Healthcare fellows complete master’s program in health services

A master’s program in health services research, offered jointly by Stanford Medicine and Intermountain Healthcare, graduates its first two physician leaders.

The first two physicians from the Stanford Medicine-Intermountain Fellowship in Population Health, Delivery Science and Primary Care, a two-year master’s degree program in health services research, graduated in June. The program teaches potential future physician leaders how to apply innovation and health care quality improvement at the two health systems.

“The fellowship is a first of its kind,” says Raj Srivastava, MD, assistant vice president of research and co-director of the Intermountain Healthcare Delivery Institute.

“These future health care leaders take high quality coursework from Stanford Medicine and are able to apply those principles with clinical teams to implement systemwide projects across Stanford Health Care and Intermountain Healthcare,” said Steven Asch, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, who developed the program with Srivastava.

“Improving health care quality is at the forefront of our minds as we search for best practices to care for our patients during COVID-19. The opportunity to team up with Stanford to facilitate these efforts benefits our patients not only during a pandemic but also into the future,” said Rob Allen, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Intermountain, and executive sponsor of the Intermountain-Stanford Medicine collaboration.

In the first year of the fellowship, coursework is concentrated at Stanford Medicine. In year two, fellows attend Intermountain Healthcare’s Advanced Training Program in Clinical Quality Improvement at the Healthcare Delivery Institute in Murray, Utah. During that time, they work with mentorship teams at both institutions to develop a project from conception to completion and publication. Fellows also receive an in-depth introduction to top operational initiatives during a day of strategy with Intermountain’s executive leadership team.

Recent fellows applied the knowledge they gained in adaptation — each pivoted their work to make meaningful contributions to the COVID-19 responses within each organization.

The graduates and their projects:

Harris Carmichael, MD, an internist who joined Intermountain as a hospitalist following his fellowship, worked with Eddie Stenehjem, MD, an assistant professor at Intermountain Healthcare, on a systemwide rollout in urgent care locations to test ways to reduce unnecessary antibiotics. To assist Intermountain and Stanford Medicine in their COVID-19 responses, Carmichael helped develop a predictive model for clinical deterioration and a telemedicine evaluation.

Stacie Vilendrer, MD, an instructor of medicine at Stanford Medicine, developed innovative methods of providing patient satisfaction ratings to physicians and incentivizing physician participation in quality and efficiency improvement efforts. To assist in the COVID-19 response, she worked on outpatient pulse oximeter deployment and evaluating telemedicine in nontraditional settings, including inpatient wards and for surgical and neurology visits. She also helped evaluate an application for connecting essential workers to Stanford Medicine COVID-19 testing.

Continuing fellows’ projects include:

Sam Thomas, MD, an internist from Utah, is incorporating social factors into population health, clinical management and policies to encourage lower-priced medication. In response to the pandemic, he helped evaluate the COVID-19 clinic startup and telemedical opportunities at Stanford Medicine.

Kenji Taylor, MD, an instructor of medicine at Stanford Medicine, works on outreach to African Americans in managing chronic disease. For his COVID-19 response, he built and evaluated a clinical and testing partnership with the Roots Community Health Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Griffin Olsen, MD, is pausing his surgical residency training at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital to develop innovative ways to enhance the value of patient care. He has partnered with Intermountain’s surgical services clinical program and the Healthcare Delivery Institute on a COVID-19 surgical grant submission. 

Vivian Ho, MD, is participating in the fellowship as part of her integrated vascular surgery residency at Stanford Medicine. She plans to focus on research that employs epidemiological and machine-learning methods to evaluate surgical diagnostics and decision-making tools, with the goal of reducing unnecessary testing and streamlining the pathway from diagnosis to intervention.

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