Congratulations to the NAM Scholars Class of 2024!

2024 Dx Ex Scholars - Group Image

“We are excited to work with another remarkable cohort of scholars in diagnostic excellence across a wide 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 2024 NAM Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence and their program proposals are:

  • Carl Berdahl, M.D., M.S., assistant professor, departments of medicine and emergency medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
    “Partnering with Patients and Clinicians to Improve Diagnosis in the Emergency Department”
  • Jessica Gold, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, department of pediatrics, Northwell Health/Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, New Hyde Park, N.Y.
    “Mainstreaming Genomic Testing to Increase Diagnostic Accessibility for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities"
  • Andrew A. Gonzalez, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, department of surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
    “An Equity-Grounded Approach to Developing Computational Phenotypes for Peripheral Arterial Disease”
  • Bat-Zion Hose, Ph.D., research scientist, National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health, Washington, D.C.
    “A Work System Design for Effective Teamwork in the Diagnostic Process”
  • Natalia Khalaf, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, section of gastroenterology and hepatology, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt), Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
    “Implementing Digital Quality Measures Into Learning Health Systems for Diagnostic Excellence in Cancer Care”
  • Sanjiv Mehta, M.D., M.B.E., assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, department of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
    “Transforming Our Approach to Pediatric Clinical Deterioration with Diagnostic Reasoning Interventions”
  • Matthew Nielson, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S., Rhodes Distinguished Professor and chair of urology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
    “Advancing Diagnostic Excellence and Health Equity in Prostate Cancer Through Enhanced Quality in MRI and MRI Fusion Biopsy”
  • Gezzer Ortega, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, department of surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston
    “Improving Technology-Based Interpreter Services and Resources for Patients with Limited English Proficiency”
  • Verity Schaye, M.D., M.H.P.E., assistant dean for education in the clinical sciences, and associate professor, department of medicine, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York City
    “Diagnosis AId: Development of an Artificial Intelligence-Based Diagnostic Performance Feedback System”
  • Shazia M. Siddique, M.D., M.S.H.P., assistant professor of medicine, division of gastroenterology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    “Narrowing Health Disparities in the Diagnostic Evaluation of Iron Deficiency Anemia”
  • Gary Weissman, M.D., M.S.H.P.,* assistant professor of medicine and informatics, departments of medicine and biostatistics, epidemiology and informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
    “Assessing the Safety of an AI-Based Diagnostic Decision Support in Primary Care for Older Adults”

*supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation

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,


"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

Prior Scholar Cohorts

NAM Scholars Class of 2023

  • 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

NAM Scholars Class of 2022

  • 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”

Inaugural NAM Scholars Class of 2021

  • 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”