What is the VAQS Fellowship?

The VA Quality Scholars program is a two-year fellowship that develops the next generation of health professionals to improve healthcare through innovations, quality improvement, and patient safety. The VA Quality Scholars program consists of 10 sites across the United States, as well as an affiliate site in Toronto, Canada. Each site in the US consists of a partnership between a VA hospital and an academic institution. The Coordinating Center at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas administers a 2-year, national curriculum along with a range of experiential training opportunities to the interprofessional, pre and postdoctoral fellows at each of the sites. Upon completing this program, fellows will demonstrate competence in:

  • Interprofessional Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Improvement Methods and Skills
  • Organization and System Leadership for Quality and Safety
  • Research
  • Teaching and Learning

You will attend weekly didactic sessions, experiential learning sessions.  You will learn how to analyze problems in systems and clinical care, and how to address them through improvement science methods.  You will learn to analyze data through statistical process control charts, to assess improvement interventions, and to measure processes and outcomes. 

Will I have a mentor?
Mentorship is a critical component of this fellowship.  Fellows typically have several mentors both inside and outside of the VA, depending upon the fellow’s interests and professional goals.   Your VAQS faculty can help you to identify appropriate mentors.
What is the scholarly expectation of me from the program?

Scholarship is foundational to the VAQS fellowship. Fellows are expected to develop and implement a portfolio of quality improvement efforts with at least one significant activity or project that will result in a documented impact on VHA clinical care or operations.

Am I expected to start my own project or am I placed on an existing team?

This is site dependent.  Please reach out to your site of interest for more information. You will have the opportunity to present your work nationally at the Summer Institute. 

What is the classroom commitment?

We have national didactic classes every Friday at 1:00 PM CST. Each site may have additional classroom commitment requirements.

Is there funding for travel to national meetings?

he annual VAQS Summer Institute, typically held in August every year, is mandatory and is funded by the VA.  However, there is no guaranteed funding for other professional meetings. This will be site dependent – please contact your site of interest for more information.

Are there funds or tuition support to pursue other degrees during the fellowship?
This is site dependent.  Please reach out to your site of interest for more information.
What resources will I have to support my research? Do I have a dedicated on campus work space?

This is site dependent.  Please reach out to your site of interest for more information.

Can I get a job in the VA afterwards?

We encourage you to stay in the VA! This fellowship positions you well for a competitive resume.  Many graduates of this program are hired by the VA for high level quality improvement and other positions.

Do I have a commitment to work at the VA afterwards?
There is no commitment to work in the VA after graduation from the VAQS Fellowship, although many graduates choose to remain with the VA.
Will I be able to maintain clinical skills and activities?

This is site dependent.  Please reach out to your site of interest for more information.

Will I be eligible to receive health insurance benefits?

Yes, as a Federal employee, you may be able to enroll in health, dental, vision and life insurance. See the following web site:


Do I receive vacation and sick time

You accrue annual and sick leave each year

How do I apply to the fellowship?

Please contact the senior faculty at the site of interest for further information!