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Our People

The Vanderbilt Healthcare Improvement Group (VHIG) is an interprofessional community of Vanderbilt education management, medicine, and nursing students committed to advancing education and student participation in quality improvement in health care.

Founded in December 2008 by Piotr Pilarski and Irving Ye, both second-year medical students at the time, VHIG became the 99th Chapter of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Open School for Health Professions. VHIG is led by an Executive Board of students from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education & Human Development, Owen Graduate School of Management, School of Medicine, and School of Nursing. Support and guidance are provided by a panel of faculty and deans from each of the representative Vanderbilt schools.

Student Leadership

Scott Hagan

President
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Graduate: MD ’13, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BS, Science-Business ’08, University of Notre Dame
Interests: social media, blogs, running

Tim Lockney

President
Hometown: Concord, NC
Graduate: MD ’13, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BS, Biology and Chemistry ’09, UNC-Chapel Hill
Interests: aviation, marathons, dogs

Billy Sullivan

Vice President, Peabody College of Education & Human Development
Hometown: Massapequa, NY
Graduate: MD/MEd ’13, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine/Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education & Human Development
Undergraduate: BS, Psychology & Pre-Professional Studies ’08, University of Notre Dame
Interests: internal medicine & pediatrics, medical education, Notre Dame football

Kate Gurba

Vice President, School of Medicine
Hometown: Leawood, KS
Graduate: PhD ’11, MD ’13, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BA, Biochemistry and English ’04, Rice University
Interests: music, painting, neuroscience, politics

Michele Luhm Vigor

Vice President, School of Medicine
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Graduate: MD ’14, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BS, Biology ’10, University of Minnesota
Interests: how people learn, sustainability, cooking

Katherine Liljedahl

Vice President, Owen Graduate School of Management
Hometown: Hendersonville, NC
Graduate: MBA ’12, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management; MD ’13, UNC-Chapel Hill
Undergraduate: BA, Biology ’07, Carleton College
Interests: process improvement, modern art, theater

Mike Miles

Vice President, Owen Graduate School of Management
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Graduate: MBA ’12, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
Undergraduate: BS, Mechanical Engineering ’06, Carnegie Mellon University
Interests: cars, auto racing, process improvement, lean manufacturing

Richard Clews

Vice President, School of Nursing
Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa
Graduate: MSN Adult Nurse Practitioner, Cardiovascular Disease Management and Prevention, Vanderbilt Fellowship in Interprofessional Learning ’12, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Undergraduate: BS, Exercise Physiology ’07, California Polytechnic State University
Interests: skiing, hiking, biking, running, cooking

Emily Cote

Vice President, School of Nursing
Hometown: Mandeville, LA
Graduate: MSN ’12, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Undergraduate: BS Biological Sciences ’08, Louisiana State University
Interests: holistic and interdisciplinary healthcare

Natalie Ausborn

Director of Communications
Hometown: Gadsden, AL
Graduate: MD ’13, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BS, Chemistry ’09,
Birmingham-Southern College
Interests: reading, boating, ballet

Yash Choksi

Director of Education
Hometown: Franklin, TN
Graduate: MD ’12, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BA, Philosophy ’07, Duke University
Interests: basketball, tennis, communication

Jake McClure

Director of Research & Projects
Hometown: Hixson, TN
Graduate: MD ’13, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BS, Biology, Chemistry, and Finance ’09, UAB
Interests: Local Taco

Thomas Davis

Chair, Fundamentals of Quality Improvement in Health Care Elective Committee
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Graduate: MD ’14, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BE, Biomedical Engineering ’10, Vanderbilt University
Interests: social enterprise, global health, soccer, eating at hole-in-the-walls

Barry Kang

Chair, Fundamentals of Quality Improvement in Health Care Elective Committee
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Graduate: MD ’14, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: BS, Biochemistry ’10, Occidental College
Interests: basketball, working out, reading, cooking

Christine Frauenhoffer

Chair, Fundamentals of Quality Improvement in Health Care Elective Committee
Hometown: Boston, MA
Graduate: MBA ’12, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
Undergraduate: BA Health and Societies ’04, University of Pennsylvania
Interests: powerlifting, yoga, cooking

Courtney Necessary

Chair, Fundamentals of Quality Improvement in Health Care Elective Committee
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Graduate: MBA ’12, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
Undergraduate: BS, Business Management, Certificate in Finance ’08, Georgia Institute of Technology
Interests: clinical process improvement, operations, music, wine

Faculty Leadership

Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
Dean Advisor: Jon Lehman, MBA (Associate Dean for Health Care Management and Associate Dean of Students, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management)
Faculty Advisor: Rangaraj Ramanujam, PGDM, PhD (Associate Professor of Management, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management)

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dean Advisor: Bonnie Miller, MD (Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine)
Faculty Advisor: Jacob Hathaway, MD, MPH (Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine and Public Health, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine)

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Dean Advisor: Linda Norman, DSN (Senior Associate Dean for Academics, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing)
Faculty Advisors:
Tom Christenbery, MSN, PhD (Assistant Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing)
Terri Crutcher, MSN (Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing)
Richard Watters, MEd, PhD (Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing)

Past Student Leadership

Co-Founders

Piotr Pilarski

Piotr Pilarski

Co-Founder and President (2008-2011)
Hometown: Northbrook, IL and Poznan, Poland
Graduate: MD ’11, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Undergraduate: AB, Biochemical Sciences ’05, Harvard University
Interests: health policy, medical education, politics, running, writing
Current/expected plans: residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt
University Medical Center

Irving Ye

Co-Founder and President (2008-2011)
Hometown: Hoover, AL
Graduate: MD/MBA ’12, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine/
Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
Undergraduate: BA, Economics ’07, Yale University
Interests: health care management, running, soccer, wine
Current/expected plans: residency in anesthesiology, critical care

Vice President, Owen Graduate School of Management


Janice Babbs 

Vice President, Owen Graduate School of Management (2009-2011)
Hometown: West Lafayette, IN
Graduate: MBA ’11, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School
of Management
Undergraduate: BS, Human & Organizational Development ’07,
Vanderbilt University
Interests: quality improvement, running
Current/expected plans: TBD


Julie McNeil

Julie McNeil

Vice President, Owen Graduate School of Management (2009-2011)
Hometown: Fincastle, VA
Graduate: MBA ’11, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School
of Management
Undergraduate: BA, Social Psychology & Biomedical Ethics ’05,
University of Virginia
Interests: quality improvement, running
Current/expected plans: C3 Consulting: Healthcare Practice
in Brentwood, TN

Vice President, School of Medicine

Nicole Hames, MD ’12, Vice President, School of Medicine (2009-2010)
Jacob VanHouten, PhD ’14, MD ’16, Vice President, School of Medicine (2009-2010)

Vice President, School of Nursing
Amanda Brantley, MSN ’11, Vice President, School of Nursing (2010-2011)
Ben Ferrell, MSN ’11, Vice President, School of Nursing (2010-2011)
Emily Holcombe, MSN ’10, Vice President, School of Nursing (2009-2010)
Melinda McCusker, MSN ’10, Vice President, School of Nursing (2009-2010)

Director of Education
Matt Kynes, MD ’11, Director of Education (2008-2011)

Additional Advisors

Manuel Benegas, Jr., JD (Program Administrator, Quality System Strategy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

Robert S. Dittus, MD, MPH (Albert & Bernard Werthan Professor of Medicine; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Health; Associate Dean for Population Health Sciences; Director, Institute for Medicine and Public Health; Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine)

G. Waldon Garriss, III, MD, MS (Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine & Pediatrics; Associate Chair, Ambulatory Education, Department of Medicine; Associate Director, Medicine & Pediatrics Residency Program; Associate Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program)

Julie Morath, MS (Chief Quality Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

Theodore Speroff, PhD, PhD, MS (Director of Clinical Improvement Research, Center for Clinical Improvement; Senior Quality Scholar, Department of Veterans Affairs; Associate Director, Nashville VA/Vanderbilt Quality Scholars Program)