Through a collaboration between UAB Medicine and the School of Health Professions, UAB launched the blended format Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality & Safety program in 2013. In 2015, the online format of the Graduate Certificate and the Master of Science programs were launched to broaden the reach and the educational opportunities for leaders in the improvement science field.

We are committed to a competency-based education in 13 domains:

  • Safety and Error Science
  • Improvement Science and Quality Principles
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Measurement and Process Evaluation
  • Communication
  • Health Informatics
  • Human Factors
  • Professionalism
  • Leadership
  • Systems Thinking
  • Legal and Regulatory Issues
  • Interprofessional Collaborative Work
  • Patient and Family-Centered Engagement

The HQS Graduate Program faculty, staff, and advisory board are guided by the following vision and mission statements.


To develop health care professionals into leaders who will improve and sustain the quality, safety, equity, and effectiveness of health services.


Be recognized as the preeminent program for graduate education in healthcare quality and safety in the United States

The Healthcare Quality and Safety programs have an alumni base of over 300 strong and are a part of an even larger network of Department of Health Services Administration (HSA) alumni that connect and network across the globe.

Our Students

Our student’s professional experience varies greatly; however, they all share the following common characteristics:

  • Operational Leadership: Exceptional communication skills with the capacity to lead and motivate their peers and employees to promote organizational excellence.
  • Analytic Capacity & Desire: Utilize real-time data to advance understanding and appreciation for data analytics and data’s relationship to improve quality.
  • Innovative Thinking: Capacity for critical analysis of their current environment and willingness to apply evidence-based processes to move the organization forward.

Program Outcomes

  2018 - 2019 2019 - 2020 2020 - 2021
Enrolled 22 14 18
Avg. Years of Healthcare Experience 14 11 10
Completion Rate 86%    
Certificate to Masters Conversions      
Enrolled 29 37 12
Avg. Years of Healthcare Experience 14 16 9
Completion Rate 93%    

Advisory Board

The HQS advisory board gives strategic advice to the program’s leadership team which guides the program’s curriculum. The Advisory board membership is comprised of leaders from a number of segments of the health care industry. Currently, the advisory board includes:

  • Mike Cates, Vice President of Performance Excellence & Quality Operations, St. Vincent’s
  • Devika Das, Section Chief of Oncology and Hematology, Birmingham VA and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology Oncology, UAB
  • Nicole Grev, Improvement Advisor, Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health
  • Deborah Grimes, Chief Diversity Officer, Ochsner Health
  • Christopher Jackson, Divisional Dementia Care Manager, Brookdale Senior Living
  • Gemini Majkowski, IMA to Commander, 711 Human Performance Wing, US Air Force
  • Christi Pierce, Vice President, Quality & Patient Safety, Our Landy of the Lake Regional Medical Center
  • Terri Poe, Chief Nursing Officer, UAB Medicine
  • Michael Shabot, Founding Partner, Relia Healthcare Advisors
  • Jon Snider, Curriculum Manager, HCA Healthcare Physicians Services Group
  • Chuck Stokes, Founding Partner, Relia Healthcare Advisors
  • Cristie Upshaw Travis, Chief Executive Officer, Memphis Business Group on Health
  • Rick van Pelt, Vice President, Clinical Practice Transformation, UAB Medicine
  • James Henry Willig, Associate Professor, UAB School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases


We are committed to excellence, which is reflected UAB has formed a partnership with the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) to make graduate education more accessible to the healthcare profession. UAB is one of four certified Quality and Safety graduate programs by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). CAHME is the leading accreditor for graduate healthcare management education.

CAHME Logo Certified Quality Safety

CAHME Logo Certified Quality Safety