This summer Joel Boggan, MD, MPH, became the Durham VA Medical Center’s second chief resident of quality improvement and patient safety.
Dr. Boggan is one of 32 such chief residents across the country who will be leading QI projects, receiving expert training from mentors and participating in a national curriculum meant to help usher in a new generation of QI leaders who will help residents implement QI initiatives.
For Boggan, chief resident training began last January with a series of seminars on quality improvement theory led by Dave Simel, MD, vice chair for Veterans Affairs in the Department of Medicine. Boggan will continue the work of Ryan Schulteis, MD, who served in the chief resident role last year.
“The projects I’m beginning are focusing on decision support around the ordering of diagnostic imaging, hand hygiene monitoring and infection control on the wards, hand-off standardization between emergency room providers and the inpatient team, and generating feedback for individual residents on the care they provide,” Boggan said.
As a graduate of Duke’s School of Medicine and resident in Duke’s Medicine-Pediatrics program, Boggan brings a deep knowledge of Duke and Durham to his new position. He says that that knowledge plus his relationships within the Internal Medicine Residency Program will be an advantage during his chief year.
Knowing past systems of care will help inform QI projects and decisions, and his relationship with the residents is key to his success because residents do a lot of the work on a day-to-day basis, Boggan said.
“Joel brings an interesting perspective as someone who has been trained in Medicine and Pediatrics, so he’s seen more systems of care than our conventional trainees,” Simel said.
Boggan led the hand-offs task force on a hospital-wide, resident-led patient safety and quality committee as a junior and senior assistant resident. He said that working in the hospital made him increasingly aware of the importance of improving processes to make them more safe. He hopes his training and experience will benefit the residents
“Having the chief resident role elevates quality improvement as part of the training program for the other residents, and it shows the commitment to quality improvement and patient safety from the department,” Boggan said.
And because Boggan’s position is part of a network of VA chief residents, Duke’s residency program can learn and benefit from what is going on across the country.
Boggan, who grew up in Newport, Tenn., said he became interested in medicine when he was a junior at Emory University working with a community health project in an Atlanta housing project.
That project was looking at how things that happen every day have direct health correlates, like the physical environment and not being able to walk easily and safely through the neighborhood to get kids to and from school. “You could see at the neighborhood level how all those influences played into the residents’ health and daily lives. I like thinking about ways that making small changes could have big impacts, but I also like the one-on-one relationship you can have in medicine,” Boggan said.
From that experience, Boggan decided to pursue medicine instead of a PhD in ecology. Boggan earned a master of public health degree at the University of North Carolina in 2007 and completed his MD at Duke in 2009.
When Boggan is not working at the Durham VA, he likes to camp, backpack, and bike or try out local restaurants with his wife, Ann Marie Navar-Boggan, MD, PhD, a first-year fellow in Cardiology. Boggan said he has enjoyed his years in Durham and would like to continue to work as a hospitalist with some protected time for quality improvement projects and resident teaching and education after his chief resident year.