What attracted you to quality improvement?
I think Don Berwick, former CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, said it best. I paraphrase: We all have two jobs to do — to deliver care and to improve the care we deliver. My residency in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic prepared me spectacularly for the first task. However, I felt I lacked a methodology to address the second task. Quality improvement provided a toolbox to see opportunities to improve systems, to deliver higher quality care for my patients, and to do so while improving the work experience of colleagues and co-workers.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
Having trained as a resident here, I was already familiar with the culture. One of the biggest sells was the "in house" expertise Mayo has in terms of quality improvement — real leaders in the quality movement nationally, the Mayo Clinic Quality Academy, the staff in Systems & Procedures with tremendous industry experience in and outside of health care.
What makes Mayo Clinic subspecialty training in quality improvement unique?
I think one of the most outstanding features is the ability to customize the program to your particular interests. The program offers the flexibility to pursue a master's, to obtain certification in the American Board of Medical Quality, to pursue a Six Sigma Black Belt designation from the American Society for Quality. I had great mentorship to help figure out which would best serve my career goals. Even for a trainee, Mayo supports opportunities to present and attend regional and national conferences to help network and explore the depth and breadth of quality work going on outside Mayo.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
I am continually humbled by the number of people willing to help you out — to put you in touch with the right resources and great mentors, and to give you time and backing to do the work you need to do to be successful. To others, it might seem like it would be easy to get lost in such a large enterprise, but that's not the case.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
Rochester is an ideal community for my young family. I, my wife and our 2-year-old enjoy the many parks, green spaces, bike trails, community commitment to early childhood education through the PAIIR program, farmers market and Thursdays on First & 3rd … among many others. Despite its smaller size, we never lack for great opportunities.
What does your future look like right now?
After I complete my fellowship, I will join the Mayo Clinic internal medicine team. I will remain closely engaged with the Quality Academy, having helped redesign the curriculum for its Mayo Quality Fellows Program, and with the residency program trying out a defect analysis tool to see if it can help residents better understand key concepts in quality improvement, complete scholarly work and begin to function as change agents.