NAM Scholars 2024 Call for Applications

The 2024 Call for Applications is now closed. Applications were due on March 1, 2024.


"I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet in small-group with world leaders in the field and get to deepen my connections with a community of scholars who are all engaged in exciting and innovative scholarship."

- Lekshmi Santhosh, MD, MAEd

"The NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence has expanded my knowledge, mentorship, and community of colleagues. The opportunity to learn from colleagues and experts in the field has been invaluable.”

- Jorge Rodriguez, MD

Program Overview:

The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) is pleased to continue its partnership with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) supporting for the third year the NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence Program - Advancing Equity and Implementing National Strategies to Improve Diagnosis.

Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, this collaborative program is designed to advance equity and develop a cadre of leaders who can drive implementation of effective strategies to raise awareness of diagnosis in medicine, support diagnostic excellence, and reduce diagnostic errors at the national level.  Up to 10* scholars participate in this one-year, part-time remote experience to enhance their knowledge and skills in diagnostic quality and safety, and to accelerate their career development in becoming national leaders in the field.  The program includes a structured online curriculum; cohort learning activities; professional networking opportunities through the NAM and CMSS; mentorship; a $35,000 grant; and an additional $5,000 domestic travel funds.  To learn more, visit the program website at:

The program seeks exceptional individuals who are interested in focusing on diagnosis-related work from a broad range of disciplines and professions — including physicians, advanced practice clinicians, quality experts, informaticians, and researchers.  The program specifically encourages applications from underrepresented groups in medicine.

Strong preference will be given to candidates whose proposed program objectives advance equity as well as specific recommendations of the 2015 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, when applicable.

* With additional support from the John A. Hartford Foundation, an 11th scholar with a focus on advancing equity and diagnostic excellence for older adults may be selected.

Visit the Program Website
Read the Improving Diagnosis in Health Care Report (2015)
Learn About Other Fellowships and Leadership Programs at the NAM
Read the Press Release Announcing the 2023 Scholars

Program Administration:

Inquiries about the NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program should be directed to:

Yumi Phillips, Program Officer
Health Policy Fellowships and Leadership Programs
National Academy of Medicine
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 334-1506
Email: /

CMSS Program Contact:

Julia Peterson, CMSS COO,

Congratulations to the NAM Scholars Class of 2023!


“The NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program continues to attract and grow a community of promising talent to advance the field,” said Karen Cosby, program director for patient care at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “The joint efforts of the National Academy of Medicine and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies provide a rich source of mentors and valuable networking for the scholars.”

“We are excited to have another remarkable cohort of scholars in diagnostic excellence across an even wider range of specialties,” said Helen Burstin, CMSS chief executive officer. “Through our partnership with NAM, we look forward to supporting the scholars’ impact on diagnostic safety, quality, and equity across medicine.”

The 2023 NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence and their program proposal titles are:

  • Akshar Abbott, MD, ophthalmologist, VISN 23 Clinical Resource Hub, Veterans Health Administration, Minneapolis
    “Promoting Health Equity and Diagnostic Excellence for Eye Care in Rural Communities Using Collaborative Models of Ocular Telehealth”
  • Raja-Elie E. Abdulnour, MD, director of educational innovation and lead editor of NEJM Healer, NEJM Group; assistant professor of medicine, part-time, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
    “Classification of Diagnostic Reasoning Skills with Machine Learning for Precision Education”
  • Cecilia Canales, MD, MPH,* assistant professor, department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
    “Advancing Language Equity in Diagnosing Perioperative Neurocognitive Disorders”
  • Christina L. Cifra, MD, MS, pediatric intensivist and member of the faculty Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
    “I-PASS-to-PICU: Effective Communication to Bridge the Diagnostic Process Across Inter- Facility Transitions to a Higher Level of Care”
  • Bhavika Kaul, MD, MAS, investigator, Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety; staff physician, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center; assistant professor of medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
    “Lung Texture Analysis: A Novel Machine Learning Tool to Reduce Diagnostics Delays Among Veterans with Pulmonary Fibrosis”
  • Bharti Khurana, MD, founder and director, Trauma Imaging Research and Innovation Center (TIRIC), department of radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; associate professor of radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
    “Uncovering the Imaging, Clinical, and Social Diagnostic Determinants of Intimate Partner Violence”
  • Brandon Maughan, MD, MHS, MSHP, assistant professor of emergency medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
    “Identifying Gender and Racial Implicit Bias to Improve Diagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism”
  • Anand Narayan, MD, PhD, associate professor and vice chair of equity, department of radiology, and associate director, diversity, equity, and inclusion, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison
    “Leveraging Electronic Medical Records to Reduce Disparities in the Breast Cancer Diagnostic Process”
  • Vinita Parkash, MBBS, MPH, associate professor of pathology, obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    “Understanding Patient Perspectives for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Test-Related Diagnostic Errors to Design Processes for Improved Diagnostic Outcomes”
  • Susan Peterson, MD, associate professor/associate medical director, department of emergency medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
    “Maximizing Individual Diagnostic Feedback in the Emergency Department”
  • Valerie M. Vaughn, MD, MSc, assistant professor and director of hospital medicine research, department of internal medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City
    “Addressing and Reducing Diagnostic Momentum in Hospitalized Adults with Suspected Infection”

*Supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation

Congratulations to the NAM Scholars Class of 2022!

“Congratulations to this new class of extraordinary scholars, whose work will undoubtedly be vital to minimizing diagnostic errors in the U.S.,” said Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine. “When we improve diagnostic quality and safety, we have the opportunity to vastly improve the way our health care system operates and, most importantly, have profound impacts on the lives of patients.”

The 2022 NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence and their program proposal titles are:

  • Reuben Arasaratnam, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center; infectious diseases staff physician and assistant to the medical services chief for education, VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas
    “Advancing the Equity of Penicillin Allergy Diagnosis at a Veterans Affairs Facility”
  • Miriam Bredella, M.D., professor of radiology, Harvard Medical School; vice chair for faculty affairs and clinical operations, department of radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
    “Using Opportunistic CT and Machine Learning to Diagnose Osteoporosis and Determine Fracture Risk in Underserved Populations”
  • Kimberly C. Claeys, Pharm.D., associate professor, department of pharmacy and practice, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore
    “Engaging Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacists in Diagnostic Excellence for Urinary Tract Infections”
  • Cristina M. Gonzalez, M.D., M.Ed., professor of medicine, department of medicine, division of hospital medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.
    “Identifying Specific Behaviors within the Diagnostic Process Influenced by Racial Implicit Bias”
  • Alaina J. James, M.D., Ph.D., medical dermatologist, assistant professor, and skin health equity director, department of dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh
    “Do you see me? Visual Learning Equity: Achieving Diagnostic Excellence in Skin Health and Disease”
  • Nadja Kadom, M.D., professor of radiology, Emory University School of Medicine; neuroradiologist, department of radiology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta
    “Developing a Patient Decision Aid (PDA) For Use in Children with Headaches”
  • Dimitri Papanagnou, M.D., M.P.H., professor and vice chair for education, department of emergency medicine, and associate dean for faculty development, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
    “‘Unfortunately, I Do Not Have a Diagnosis for You’: Interprofessional Training for the Equitable Communication of Diagnostic Uncertainty in the Emergency Department”
  • Michael Pulia, M.D., M.S., assistant professor, department of emergency medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    “Improving Diagnostic Accuracy for Older Adults with Suspected Pneumonia”
  • Naykky Singh Ospina, M.D., M.S., associate professor, division of endocrinology, department of medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville
    “Developing a Framework for Understanding the Process of Diagnostic Reconciliation and Supporting Diagnostic Conversations”
  • Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., M.B.A., associate professor of medicine and pediatrics and obesity medicine physician-scientist, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
    “Beyond Body Mass Index (BMI): Improving Diagnosis of Obesity to Better Inform Treatment Strategies”
  • Sungmin Woo, M.D., Ph.D., director of genitourinary radiology and assistant attending radiologist, department of radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; assistant professor of radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City
    “Reducing Diagnostic Errors by Improving Communication through Structured Reporting of Ovarian Cancer Imaging Examinations”


Ten Inaugural Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence for Class of 2021

The current year’s exceptional scholars who are driving implementation of effective strategies to raise awareness of diagnosis in medicine, support diagnostic excellence, and reduce diagnostic errors at the national level were the inaugural cohort of the program.

“We are pleased to support this effort to attract and develop talent committed to diagnostic excellence,” said Dr. Karen Cosby, Program Officer for Patient Care at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “We are looking forward to seeing our partners at NAM and CMSS continue to build upon the body of work needed to improve diagnosis.”

The 2021 NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence and their proposal titles are:

  • Jonathan Baghdadi, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, department of epidemiology and public health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
    “Diagnostic Stewardship of Multiplex Molecular Panels to Reduce Diagnostic Error”
  • Komal Bajaj, M.D., M.S.-HPEd, chief quality officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
    “Not a moment to lose! Using simulation to identify and mitigate diagnostic errors that contribute to delays during maternal hemorrhage care”
  • Efrén J. Flores, M.D., assistant professor of radiology, Harvard Medical School; officer, radiology community health and equity; radiologist, Thoracic and Emergency Divisions; faculty, The Mongan Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
    “A community-based participatory approach to understand current and emerging barriers and promoters to lung cancer screening (LCS) one-year post-COVID-19 pandemic start and guide culturally tailored LCS outreach among Latino communities”
  • Linda Geng, M.D., Ph.D., clinical assistant professor, department of medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California
    “Improving the diagnosis of underrecognized diseases in racial and ethnic minorities through patient engagement and empowerment”
  • Traber D. Giardina, Ph.D., M.S.W., assistant professor, department of medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; investigator, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E DeBakey Houston Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Houston
    “Overcoming Barriers to Diagnostic Safety for Underrepresented Populations: Implementing Structured Tools to Engage Patients in Diagnosis (The ISTEP Dx Project)”
  • Cornelius A. James, M.D., general internist and general pediatrician; medical educator, departments of internal medicine and pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
    “Data Augmented, Technology Assisted Medical Decision Making and Diagnosis (DATA-MD): A Novel Curriculum”
  • Jessica Keim-Malpass, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor, department of acute and specialty care, School of Nursing; department of pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
    “Developing an economic framework to achieve diagnostic excellence in sepsis: Achieving balance between early diagnostic action and medical overuse”
  • Mei-Sing Ong, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of population medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston
    “A data-driven approach towards understanding the patterns of diagnostic delay”
  • Jorge Rodriguez, M.D., clinician-investigator, Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
    "Towards Diagnostic Equity: Evaluating Diagnostic Error in Telemedicine Among Limited English Proficient Patients Presenting with Abdominal Pain”
  • Lekshmi Santhosh, M.D., M.A.Ed., assistant professor of pulmonary/critical care medicine and hospital medicine, department of medicine, University of California, San Francisco
    “PAUSE for Uncertainty: Development & Implementation of a Novel Framework for Diagnostic Uncertainty During Transitions of Care”

“This first cohort of scholars represents a remarkable cadre of future leaders in diagnostic excellence,” said Dr. Helen Burstin, CMSS Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. “Through our partnership with NAM, we are excited to support these scholars across a wide range of specialties and disciplines to make a lasting impact on diagnostic safety, quality, and equity.”