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Utah Quality Advancement Laboratory (UQuAL) Scholars

Hospital Medicine Academic Mentorship Program


Utah Quality Advancement Laboratory (UQuAL) Scholars is a 1-year mentorship and education program designed to assist hospital medicine clinicians (APCs are eligible) in carrying out a successful scholarly research/ QI project, presenting and publishing their work, and to help more experienced faculty develop their mentorship skills. 


At its most basic level, UQuAL Scholars is a program that links people together to create productive partnerships and build a community that supports academic growth.

Program Structure

UQuAL Scholars’ program structure includes the following:

  • A primary mentor: This person works closely with the mentee to provide ongoing support and advice during the program
  • A senior mentor: This individual supports both the mentee and mentor, providing tactical and strategic advice and periodic assistance with projects as needed
  • Educational curriculum: UQuAL Scholars is supported by Division of General Internal Medicine faculty and staff, who provide an educational structure to sessions:
    • Valerie Vaughn, MD, MSc, UQuAL Director and Hospitalist Investigator with experience in health services research; provides leadership and support to mentees, and oversees curriculum
    • Stacy Johnson, MD, UQuAL Co-Director and Hospital Investigator with clinical outcomes and survey research experience; contributes to the research curriculum and provides support to mentees on research design and methods
    • Molly Conroy, MD, MPH, FACSM, FAHA, Professor and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine; provides program support and mentorship 
    • Andrea White, PhD, provides support to mentees on regulatory processes and assists with UQuAL Scholars sessions
    • Chaorong Wu, provides data analysis support to UQuAL Scholars


Topics Covered

  • Defining a good research/ QI study
  • Developing a research question
  • Identifying your study population and sampling
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Survey Research Methods and Tools
  • Solidifying your Project – design, scope, barriers
  • Refining Project Details – statistics, publications, authorship
  • IRB and Protocols
  • Drafting your Methods
  • Presenting your Work – Tables and Figures
  • Composing your Introduction
  • Charting your course for the next 6 months

Selection Process

UQuAL Scholars program selection is a competitive process open to hospitalists interested in quality improvement or hospital medicine research. Typically, faculty should be in at least their 2nd year on faculty and have at least a rough idea of a potential research project and research mentor.

UQuAL provides a lot of resources to help you learn and successfully complete a research project! We expect at least 80% attendance, monthly “homework”, and for the project to be submitted as an abstract and a manuscript. In addition, we will call upon you in the future to “pay it forward” as a future mentor!

How Do I Apply?

For questions, please contact Andrea White at

Completed applications must be submitted to by July 15, 2023. Finalists will undergo an interview in July to discuss potential projects and mentors. Scholars will be announced August 11, 2023, and the program will begin on September 7, 2023.

Meet the New UQuAL Class of 2022-23

    uqual scholars

    Dr. Balch

    • Implementation of standardized discharge medication reconciliation

    Dr. Hayes

    • Comparative effectiveness of furosemide vs. bumetanide in patients with cirrhosis 

    Dr. Huber

    • Impact of Hospital at Home on Caregiver Burnout 

    Dr. Watson 

    • Ambulatory QI Director
    • Implementing Standardized Depression Screening in Primary Care

    Previous UQuAL Scholars

      group of 2 men and 4 women

      Congratulations to the UQuAL Scholars inaugural class of 2021-22!

      Stacy Johnson (mentor), Danielle Babbel, Ryan Murphy, Claire Ciarkowski, Valerie Vaughn (mentor) and Sara Wikstrom (via Zoom)

      2021-22 Mentees and their projects:

      • Claire Ciarkowski, MD, FACP: “Implementing an Oxygen Weaning Protocol in Acute Care Patients”
      • Danielle Babbel, MD: “A Mixed-Methods Study of Barriers to Initiating Suboxone Treatment in Hospitalized Patients”
      • Sara Wikstrom, MD, MS, Med, FACP:” Why do women leave careers in academic medicine? A qualitative study of women who have left medicine”
      • Ryan Murphy, MD: “Implementation of an Inpatient Diabetes Management Orderset”