VA Chief Resident in Quality & Safety (CRQS)
at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System

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We seek to train the next generation of  physician leaders who will strive for continuous quality improvement in clinical care using system science and High Reliability Organizational (HRO) principles


The VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System was recently awarded two positions in the VA Chief Resident in Quality and Safety (CRQS) program. The CRQS is a post-residency one-year position offered in select VA Medical Centers. The CRQS program’s objective is to develop emerging physician leaders in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety through a mix of didactic and experiential learning. The VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) in Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN offers two CRQS positions, one in Emergency Medicine and one in Hospital Medicine. This program is built in partnership with the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) along with the Quality Safety and Value Service at TVHS and its academic affiliate at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Drs. Michael Ward (Emergency Medicine) and Kelly Sopko (Hospital Medicine) are Co-Site Directors and are actively recruiting for the first CRQS positions to begin in the Summer of 2022.


Program Description

Our CRQS program achieves this goal by mentoring the CRQS to develop expertise in the use of quality improvement methods, implementation science, patient safety and High Reliability Organization (HRO) principles through formal didactic and experiential learning based on quality improvement projects.  After learning how to teach quality improvement, the CRQS will teach quality improvement design strategies to junior faculty, residents, and medical students.  During the year, the CRQS will participate in the national VA CRQS curriculum in addition to national Quality and Safety conferences. The culmination of the CRQS project being highlighted through scholarly work. 

Through this program, each CRQS time allocation is as follows: 

  • Didactic and Experiential Learning (50%); AND

  • QI Teaching (25%); AND 

  • Clinical Effort (25%) in respective clinical areas


The VA CRQS Program is a non-accredited post-residency one year position offered at VA TVHS.  The Chief Residents must have completed their primary residency training and be board eligible for their specialty.  They must qualify for credentialing and privileging as a licensed independent practitioner in their specialty. The CRQS will also be appointed as Instructor at the academic affiliate, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in their respective departments. 


Michael Ward MD, PhD, MBA: or

  • Site Co-Director, Emergency Medicine CRQS


Kelly Sopko MD, SFHM: or

  • Site Co-Director, Hospital Medicine CRQS


Useful Links

VA Office of Academic Affiliations, Chief Resident for Quality and Safety:


VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS):


Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Section of Hospital Medicine:


Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine: