CMSS has partnered with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to launch the NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This new program will support up to 10 scholars in a one-year, part-time remote experience to enhance the scholars’ knowledge and skills in diagnostic quality and safety, and accelerate their career development toward becoming national leaders in the field.  Scholars will build upon the work of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care (2015) and propose the implementation of projects that will improve diagnosis and reduce diagnostic errors at the national level. Read the full Press Release (October 15, 2020)

“We are very pleased to partner with the National Academy of Medicine on the new Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program,” said Helen Burstin, CMSS chief executive officer. “Given the depth and breadth of CMSS’s membership, this new scholars program presents an important opportunity to offer strategies to address diagnostic excellence across the full house of medicine.”

The Call for Applications opened on January 4, 2021, with the first cohort of scholars to begin their program participation in July 2021. An NAM-appointed advisory committee will select scholars 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. Beginning in July 2021, scholars participate in a structured online curriculum, cohort learning activities, and professional networking opportunities through the NAM and CMSS. In addition, each scholar will be matched with a personal mentor who can provide subject matter/technical expertise for the work of the scholar and/or professional guidance to the scholar.

Each scholar will receive a stipend of $35,000 that can be used towards salary offset, support for specific research efforts related to diagnostic excellence, and various program-related activities. Each scholar will also receive an additional $5,000 to cover domestic travel expenses for program-related activities.

Congratulations to the NAM Scholars Class of 2021!

“This first cohort of scholars represents a remarkable cadre of future leaders in diagnostic excellence,” said Helen Burstin, CMSS 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.”

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”

Read the full Press Release here.

Information for Applicants

The 2021-22 Call for Applications is now closed. The 2022-23 Call for Applications will open in January 2022.

Application Timeline and Deadlines:

  • January 4, 2021 | CFA opens
  • January 21 (11am ET) & February 2 (3pm ET), 2021 | Applicant webinars are held
  • March 3, 2021 (3pm ET) | CFA closes (Application Deadline)
  • April 2, 2021 | Selection of finalists is made
  • May 3, 2021 | Announcement of the scholars is made
  • July 1, 2021 | Scholars begin the program participation


The program seeks exceptional individuals who:

  • Have earned a doctoral degree* in a relevant discipline and completed all post-graduate training
  • Have confirmation from academic department, health system, or equivalent that they have— and can dedicate— sufficient time to participate in the NAM Scholars’ program activities and complete their proposed program in the allotted time

*M.D., D.O., Ph.D., D.N.P., Dr.P.H., etc.

Additional Details:

Key program details are outlined in the NAM Scholars in Dx Ex 2021 Overview.

For full details visit the Program Website: