PVM Fellow Turns Problems into Projects

Quality improvement (QI) has made an optimist of Ulfat Shaikh, MD, MPH, MS.

“It makes you a problem solver,” she says, “instead of someone who gets disheartened by every little problem that comes your way.”

Dr. Shaikh meets with a young patient in the clinic. Photo courtesy of UC RegentsDr. Shaikh is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California (UC) Davis School of Medicine, and Medical Director for Quality at UC Davis Health. She was awarded the ABP 2020 Paul V. Miles (PVM) Fellowship in recognition of her contributions to improving the quality of health care for children. The focus of her work is designing, implementing, and evaluating health system improvement methods across a range of health care settings to improve health care delivery and, subsequently, outcomes.

In October, Dr. Shaikh met virtually with the ABP staff and discussed how to apply lean principles to improve daily work. She also held grand rounds — virtually — at the Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill medical schools.

Lean principles are at the heart of her QI efforts, she says.

“The underlying principle is the elimination of all nonvalue-adding activities or waste from the point of view of the patients and families we serve,” she says. “The focus is not about cost reduction, although the results often do reduce costs. It is about finding better ways to do things so that they require less effort, less time, and fewer resources.”

Dr. Shaikh is passionate about teaching QI principles and coaching medical professionals through QI projects.

She encourages physicians to turn their problems into QI projects that will make the processes better for the next person — or better for themselves when they see their next patient.

The ABP established the PVM Fellowship in 2013 to honor Paul V. Miles, MD, for his years of service as Senior Vice President for Maintenance of Certification and Quality Improvement. The fellowship is awarded annually to a board-certified pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist who has demonstrated excellence in improving the quality of care for children.

For a list of previous PVM Fellows, visit www.abp.org/foundation/honors.

Photo: Dr. Shaikh meets with a young patient in the clinic. Photo courtesy of UC Regents