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Quality Improvement, Patient Safety & Leadership

The Quality Improvement, Patient Safety and Leadership Distinction Pathway aims to provide a focused and hands-on, experience to internal medicine residents for them to understand the practical application of improvement science in health care and learn to effectively lead teams for change. This skill building is accomplished through a combination of educational sessions, participation in a mentored longitudinal quality improvement project and independent self-study,

QI and patient safety skills are highly sought-after in healthcare. The ability to execute successful change initiatives, lead teams, understand and finally improve from adverse events or patient safety concerns are desirable and translatable skills that can be applied across a career, whether it be at the bedside or in any number of leadership or frontline positions. During residency years, there is often limited structured time for longitudinal training in quality improvement (QI). Secondly, it can be challenging to independently navigate QI opportunities to find projects of interest or pursue well thought out project ideas that are designed for successful launch and navigation. Furthermore, there is often a lack of structured mentorship which may increase frustration, discouragement and ultimately disengagement with QI.

This distinction pathway is designed to improve access to an effective, and experiential learning needed to grow a trainee’s skills in QI and patient safety. Participants will become part of an inclusive, supportive community that is reflective of the environment in which QI is practiced. The goal is for QIPSL pathway graduates to feel confident in their abilities to lead change initiatives and effective teams on any level, from single sites to health system-wide improvements.

Distinction Domains

QI Education

The QI education sets the knowledge base to start a practical journey in health system improvement science. The residents participate in an annual GME Health Equity, Patient Safety, and Quality Improvement (HEPSQI) Boot Camp and QIPSL distinction-specific bi-monthly evening educational sessions. Additionally, self-study, residents have the option to obtain the “Basic Certificate in QI and Patient Safety” through the IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) Open School as an added skill. Additionally,

Engagement in QI Activities

In this experiential educational component of the distinction, residents get to apply their IHI methodology learned through QI Boot Camp and self-study by participating in a mentored QI project where frequent mentor check-ins and project feedback in real-time help solidify the key principles of implementing change.

Engagement with Leadership

Effective leadership is paramount in effecting change. During the distinction sessions, residents will learn the key skills necessary to lead teams for change. A combination of evening sessions and optional opportunities to interact with health-system QI leadership (those involved with large scale, health-system wide change and/or are deeply involved with ensuring patient safety for the health-system) will provide QIPSL participants with the exposure to a larger QI network and help foster leadership skills translatable to any area of their career.


Requirements for this distinction fall under two categories.

Education in QI/Patient Safety and Leadership:

  • Completion of the IHI’s 13 modules required to obtain the Basic Certificate in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. Completion of modules is optional based on the number of live educational sessions attended.
  • Participation in the fall QI Boot Camp hosted by Yale GME office which runs between fall-winter of the PGY-2 year.
  • Participation in the bi-monthly evening educational sessions which start in the winter of the PGY-2 year and continue through the end of PGY-3 year. Sessions continue to grow to include QI-speicific leadership talks, senior resident peer teaching, and teaching by a QI faculty amongst others

The fall HEPSQI Boot Camp and IHI modules together set the knowledge foundation for the residents to start their longitudinal QI work while evening sessions provide additional knowledge which they can apply towards their QI project. Residents log their educational portfolio items in their folder in OneDrive QIPSL distinction link.

Longitudinal QI Project

This constitutes the experiential part of the distinction in which residents learn to select and progress through a mentored QI project using IHI Model for Improvement principles over the course of the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years. PGY-2’s are expected to explore potential projects and mentors in the fall to allow them to launch their project by late winter-early spring of PGY-2 year. Residents receive guidance to help them reach their project milestones across the span of the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years.

PGY-3 residents are expected to submit their QI project as an abstract to the annual spring GME-wide QI night or Yale New Haven Health System-wide “Safety, Quality and Equity Conference” or both. Presentation at local, regional, or national meetings or manuscript writing is encouraged but not required.

Residents log their project work hours and other details in the OneDrive QIPSL distinction link.

Additional Opportunities

Residents interested in additional QI, patient safety and/or leadership activities beyond the QIPSL distinction requirements, for example participation in health system committees or work groups, shadowing health system leaders or other opportunities of interest are encouraged to reach out to their QIPSL faculty advisor.


All resources including project work templates QI tools, PowerPoint presentations, recorded sessions, and other helpful tools are recorded in the Yale One Drive folder, the link for which is accessible to QIPSL residents.

Calendar of Events (AY 2023-2024)

Monthly Evening Sessions

Annual Distinction Kick Off Night: August 14, 2023. QIPSL: Yale School of Medicine

Dates and times for future evening sessions including the Boot Camp will be uploaded by October 2023. Stay tuned!

Other Events

Residents are encouraged to participate and present in local, regional, and national conferences with a focus on quality improvement and leadership. Below is a list of conferences that frequently feature content in this area and are also a potential venue to submit abstracts.

2023-2024 Conferences

Connecticut Chapter ACP
October 20, 2023
Aqua Turf Club, Southington, CT

Northeast SGIM
November 4, 2023
Boston, MA

Keck Innovations in Medical Education Conference
February 15-16, 2024
Virtual Conference

National ACP
April 20-24, 2024
Boston, MA

National SGIM
May 15-18, 2024
Boston, MA