Paul Batalden Award

The VA Quality Scholars (VAQS) Alumni Award, now known as the Paul Batalden Award, recognizes a VAQS graduate’s outstanding accomplishments in the field of healthcare improvement and patient safety. The winner of the award is invited to speak at the annual program conference: VAQS Summer Institute.


2023 Award Recipient: Dr. Brant Oliver

Brant Oliver, PhD, MS, MPH, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
White River Junction Graduate, 2012


2023 Award Recipient: Dr. Brant Oliver

Brant Oliver is a nurse practitioner, healthcare improvement scientist with sub-specialization in improvement measurement and methodology, and healthcare improvement consultant and educator. Dr. Oliver is Assistant Professor at the Dartmouth Institute and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, Adjunct Associate Professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing in Massachusetts, and Faculty Senior Scholar for the VA National Quality Scholars (VAQS) fellowship program at the VA Medical Center VAQS site in Vermont. He co-directs the VAQS program at the WRJ VA site, supervised the VAQS nursing fellows there, and also leads the improvement measurement curriculum for VAQS and the VAQS measurement special interest group. His interests include integrated improvement and implementation sciences research, healthcare improvement education, and improvement of health professions educational services quality.

2022 Award Recipient: Dr. Christianne Roumie

Christianne Roumie, M.D., MPH graduated Alpha Omega Alpha from Rutgers University, N.J Medical School in 1998. She completedtraining in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics andan M.P.H. from Vanderbilt in 2005. Dr. Roumie was recruited as a physician scientist incardiovascular prevention and improvement.Her research area is in the design andexecution of interventions to improvecardiovascular risk and morbidity. She utilizespopulation based approaches to improve patient care. She is a clinical leader in the complex interactions between cardiovascular risk factor control, and medication utilization. She has dedicated her research and clinical career to improving population health; including evidence-based care for medication prescribing. Dr. Roumie has developed successful and important research designed to improve health outcomes by developing evidence-based information for patients, clinicians, and decision-makers about effective interventions. Dr. Roumie has developed a national and international reputation for her work in medications, cardiovascular epidemiology and improvement. She is often invited to present her research as a national/ international speaker on pharmacoepidemiology and cardiovascular risk factor management. These include platform presentations at American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Society of General Internal Medicine, and at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland and in Montreal Canada. She has participated in multiple expert committees, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Diabetes Research Consortium Executive Committee and the Veterans Health Administration Geriatrics taskforce. She is a standing member (voting) and Chair of the Food and Drug Administration’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC). Dr. Roumie has been an outstanding teacher and mentor. She is the Deputy Director of the Nashville VA Quality Scholars Program. She serves as primary mentor to junior faculty in medicine, surgery, and pediatrics. She is the PI of a T32 program and the Learning Health System K12 Program. In 2019 she received the Grant Liddle Research Mentorship Award.

2021 Award Recipient: Dr. Kierstin Kennedy

Kierstin Cates Kennedy, MD, MSHA is a med-peds trained academic hospitalist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she holds a rank of clinical associate professor of medicine and serves as Chief of Hospital Medicine. She is fellowship trained in quality improvement in healthcare via the VA Quality Scholars Program and focuses her QI efforts on improving bedside procedure outcomes, identifying and improving meaningful hospital based quality metrics and educational and professional development of hospitalists.

2020 Award Recipient: Dr. Mamta Singh

Dr. Mamta (Mimi) Singh is Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean of Health Systems Science at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine where she holds the Jerome Kowal, MD Designated Professorship in Geriatric Health Education. She is a general internist and Assistant Director of the VAQS program at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System in Cleveland. As an educator, she has spearheaded multiple innovative curricular projects to train future health care professionals at all levels to improve health systems in which they provide care. Dr. Singh received her MD degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed her residency and chief residency in internal medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center and has a masters in Health Services Research. Specific interest in education research includes designing assessment instruments for quality improvement competencies and systems thinking. She spearheaded a project team to revise the Quality Improvement Knowledge Application Tool, which is used by medical educators widely to assess understanding of quality improvement. She previously led one of VA’s seven interprofessional residency programs where learners provide care in a Patient Centered Medical Home model. Subsequently she served as the National Physician consultant to the same project. Her academic interest in primary care redesign has led her work on systems thinking and context of care. In addition to VA funding, she has successfully secured funding from Macy/Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI), RWJ foundation, HRSA and the AMA’s

2019 Award Recipient: Dr. Suzie Miltner

Rebecca S. (Suzie) Miltner, PhD, RN, CNL, NEA-BC is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing and a Nurse Scientist at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. She is also an Associate Editor for the Journal for Healthcare Quality. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the VA National Quality Scholars Program as well as an Executive Fellowship in Patient Safety at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has extensive clinical and leadership experience in military, private, and VA acute care settings as well as experience in nursing education in both academic and organizational settings. She has been a leader in driving quality improvement efforts in several healthcare organizations. She currently teaches in the Executive Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate program at the UAB School of Nursing. Her current improvement work focuses on interprofessional QI education and creating mechanisms to increase the capacity and capability for improvement work within healthcare organizations.

2018 Award Recipient: Dr. Susan Kirsch

Susan R. Kirsh, MD, MPH is currently serving as the Deputy Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks (DEAN).
Dr. Kirsh served in numerous roles during her 24-year career with the Veterans Health Administration. She practiced as an internist for many years at the Cleveland VAMC and has led initiatives in VA Central Office in the Primary Care Program Office with Patient Centered Medical Home and Shared Medical Appointments and in Specialty Care nationally implementing eConsults, SCAN-ECHO, Specialty Care Neighborhoods, and MiniResidencies. Since March 2015, Dr. Kirsh led access to care efforts such as implementation of the practice management program for outpatient care across VA, same day services, and direct scheduling for specialty care. In 2018, Dr. Kirsh became the Acting Executive Director for Access and led enterprise-wide efforts to improve access to care through telehealth and Clinical Contact Centers Modernization.
Dr. Kirsh received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, Ohio. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio and Northwestern Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Kirsh is certified with the American Board of Internal Medicine and received a Master of Public Health from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Society of General Internal Medicine, Medical Group Management Association, and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Kirsh was a Faculty Scholar in the VA Quality Scholar Program in 2008 and holds a Professor of Medicine appointment at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and an Assistant Professor position at the Georgetown University School of Nursing.

Rising Star Award

3The Rising Star Award, our newest Alumni Award, recognizes a recent graduate’s outstanding accomplishments in the field of healthcare improvement and patient safety. The winner of the award will also be invited to speak at the annual program conference: VAQS Summer Institute.

2023 Award Recipient: Dr. Leanne Boehm

Leanne Boehm, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FCCM
Nashville Graduate, 2017

2022 Award Recipient: Dr. Shanina Knighton

2021 Award Recipient: Dr. Deonni Stolldorf