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Michael Pignone, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Division Chief of General Medicine and Epidemiology, has been named director of the UNC Institute for Health Care Quality Improvement, which aims to establish UNC as the leading academic medical center in the area of clinical quality improvement. The new institute is a product of the UNC School of Medicine’s Strategic Plan.

There are many successful ongoing quality initiatives throughout UNC Hospitals, UNC Faculty Physicians, and the UNC School of Medicine. The mission of the new Institute for Health Care Quality Improvement is to articulate common incentives for integrating quality management and accountability throughout the system. “Under Dr. Pignone’s leadership, this new institute can bring a big picture perspective to our quality initiatives,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, CEO of UNC Health Care, and chair of the board of directors of the National Quality Forum, “Through the institute, we will develop best practices in the area of the quality improvement that can serve as models to the state and nation.”

The Institute will have the following roles:


The Institute will work with existing infrastructure at UNC Hospitals, UNC Faculty Physicians, and the UNC School of Medicine to train all faculty and staff in improvement methods over the next five years. In addition, it will develop training for medical students, residents and fellows. Partners will include UNC Faculty Physicians’ Practice Quality and Innovation group, led by Robb Malone, PharmD; UNC Hospitals’ Performance Improvement and Patient Safety department, led by Larry Mandelkehr, MBA; and UNC Hospitals’ Operational Efficiency department, led by Glen Spivak, MBA.

Pilot grant program

In addition to formal quality improvement methods training, the Institute will support several pilot projects each year within UNC Hospitals, UNC Faculty Physicians, and the UNC School of Medicine. The Institute will solicit applications annually and will provide core resources and hands-on training and support.


The Institute will develop a robust program of external grant-funded research in improvement methodology.

Integration with UNC Health Care quality activities and goals

Dr. Pignone, as Director of the Institute, will work closely with Drs. Brian Goldstein, Executive VP and COO, UNC Hospitals, and Tony Lindsey, Chief Medical Officer, UNC Hospitals, to help the Institute coordinate its activities with existing initiatives (e.g. Meaningful Use, Performance Improvement and Patient Safety, Operational Efficiency, Commitment to Caring, Practice Quality and Innovation, Ambulatory Care Operations).

Dr. Pignone received his medical degree and residency training in primary care internal medicine from the University of California-San Francisco. He completed fellowship training in clinical epidemiology and health services research at UNC through the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and his Master’s degree in Epidemiology from the UNC School of Public Health. He’s been with UNC for fifteen years.

Dr. Pignone serves on national advisory boards for the American Cancer Society, National Committee on Quality Assurance in Health Care and the Institute for Health Care Improvement. He is a Medical Editor for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making and a member of the Editorial Board for Archives of Internal Medicine. He was recently appointed to a 4-year term as a member of the US Preventive Services Task Force.