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Second-year medical students earn Lean Six Sigma White Belt certifications

Sixty-four second-year medical students at Penn State College of Medicine earned White Belt certification in Lean Six Sigma as part of the Science of Health Systems course. This year, in partnership with Penn State Health’s Operational Excellence Program, students who committed to meeting specific requirements of the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Module of the course qualified to earn White Belt certification.

Since, February, approximately 144 current fourth year students earned Lean Six Sigma white belt certification as part of the Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting (THS743) course.

“As our medical students begin their journey as phsyicians in the dynamic and fast-changing world of health care, it will be essential that they have the ability to understand and participate in operational excellence methods. The white belt certification offers them the foundational skills that they can utilize for the rest of their careers,” said Ami DeWaters, MD, MSc, Assistant Director, Undergraduate Health Systems Education.

Lisa Olenski, MBA, Vice President of Operational Excellence, shared her enthusiasm for this partnership. “We are very excited about the Operational Excellence and Health Systems Science partnership and the impact it will have on the future of health care. The health systems science curriculum provides medical students the opportunity to start building their knowledge, skills and more importantly, their mindsets for systems thinking, high reliability and operational excellence. When our future physicians are armed with these methods, they will better understand and respond to how their critical role impacts the quality, delivery, cost and experience of care for our patients and fellow caregivers.”

Lean Six Sigma, a combination of two process improvement methods (Lean and Six Sigma), is a method that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation. White Belt certification provides an introductory level of knowledge in history of methodology, the five lean principles and the Six Sigma “DMAIC” (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) phases, and introduces front-line staff problem-solving.

“Operational excellence and improvement skills are a critical component of the Health Systems Science competencies, not only for our medical students, but also our residents and faculty. These skills and the mindset are helping to facilitate our learners’ ability to improve patients’ lives and the system itself,” said Jed Gonzalo, MD, MSc, Associate Dean for Health Systems Education.

Students were required to participate in 12 hours of QI and patient safety curriculum and pass a White Belt certification exam.

The students who earned white belt certification are Rick Artrip, Hamna Atif, David Basile, Emma Batchelder, Sayeh Bozorghadad, John Bufalini, Molly Carney, Paige Chardavoyne, Marvin Chau, Kevin Chiang, Hannah Cohan, Megan Crenshaw, Mary Dinh, Bathai Edwards, Marcus Erdman, Caleb Frank, Mason Gentner, Taylor Gladys, Madison Goss, Rahul Gupta, David Hallan, Dallas Hamlin, April Henry, Alexis Hyczko, Rahima Khatun, Arshjot Khokhar, Vladimir Khristov, Jesse King, Jacquelyn Kohler, Courtney Kramer, Abena Kwegyir-Aggrey, Samantha Leonard. Jennifer Liao, Crystal Lovelace, Natella Maglakelidze, Sarah McNutt, Connor Medbery, Anuj Mehta, Marina Mizell, Prashanth Moku, Eric Moyer, Andrew Nesdill, KieuHanh Nguyen, Jason Ni, Himadri Patel, Melanie Patterson, Jacob Peterson, Maryknoll Palisoc, Nicole Rodis, Mary Katherine Rohrbaugh, Rachel Rothstein, Shyama Sathianathan, Anna Scipioni, Tony Shi, Haley Sinatro, Olubukola Toyobo, Maegan Tupinio, Gregory Vece, David Velez, Vanessa Vides, John Walsh, Janelle Welkie and Anna Yumen.

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