National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and Georgetown University Commit to Reducing Health Care Quality Competency Variability

A colorful circle divided into sections illustrates the eight dimensions of the competency framework
NAHQ’s industry-standard, twice-validated Healthcare Quality Competency Framework. (

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Karen Teber

CHICAGO & WASHINGTON (August 28, 2020) — As the need for waste reduction and improved patient outcomes increases, the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and Georgetown University Medical Center recognize a coordinated, competent workforce begins in the classroom. The two entities have collaborated to hardwire content aligned with NAHQ’s industry-standard Healthcare Quality Competency Framework into Georgetown’s Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership.

Until NAHQ developed the Framework, the industry offered neither a single training pathway nor an established competency standard for health care quality. The disparate skillsets, tools and vocabulary used to address similar problems became even more obvious at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when quality was thrust into the spotlight. These massive inconsistencies can lead to medical error and waste, negatively impacting patient outcomes and increasing operational costs for healthcare organizations. Aligning university curriculum with validated, real-world industry standards can help close that variability gap, according to Stephanie Mercado, NAHQ CEO and executive director.

“When it comes to health care quality competencies, a standardized education and training curriculum is a critical component of ensuring health care and quality professionals are ready to deliver on value, especially in a post-COVID-19 environment,” Mercado said. “By working closely with academic institutions such as Georgetown University, NAHQ helps health care professionals enter or advance within the workforce more prepared to confront today’s health care challenges. Georgetown’s commitment to excellence has been proven by the program’s Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)’s certification, and NAHQ is honored to partner with an academic leader in this field.”

The collaboration was a natural fit. Both Georgetown and NAHQ believe the key to reducing variability in health care delivery is the reduction of variability in health care quality competencies, and both organizations arm individuals with the tools needed to deliver value and better patient outcomes. Furthermore, as part of Georgetown University Medical Center’s commitment to equipping its graduates to be better contributors in health care and stronger candidates in the job market, Georgetown is working with NAHQ to prepare students so they may sit for the only accredited certification in the industry, NAHQ’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ).

“The Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership program was developed to be an online, asynchronous, adult learning approach geared to meet the needs of the working professional,” said David Mayer, MD, Medstar Institute for Quality and Safety at MedStar Health’s executive director and Georgetown University’s associate professor in medicine.

According to Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, professor of surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center and executive vice president, medical affairs and chief medical officer of MedStar Health: “MedStar Health is dedicated to delivering the highest levels of quality and safe care. The Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership marries that priority with our commitment to advancing health. As proud partners of Georgetown University, we are honored to offer a program that reflects these invaluable qualities, invests in leaders of the future and supports our dedication to enhance quality and safety for all patients. We look forward to the continued growth and evolution of this important program.”

Mayer added, “Over the course of the last three years, the program has continued to grow and is now working towards becoming the top Quality and Safety Master’s program, offering higher level education, skills and competencies in critical quality and safety topics and other skills necessary for healthcare leadership. Our certification with CAHME and collaborative partnership with NAHQ continues to drive this program toward excellence.”

About NAHQ

NAHQ is the leader in health care quality workforce competencies and creator of the twice-validated, industry-standard Healthcare Quality Competency Framework. NAHQ provides a strategic advantage to healthcare professionals and the organizations they serve by developing and evolving workforce competencies in healthcare quality that result in better patient and financial outcomes to support the goals of healthcare value.

NAHQ offers the only accredited certification in health care quality, the CPHQ®, now held by more than 12,000 individuals worldwide, extensive educational programming, networking opportunities and career resources to more than 8,000 members. Learn more about NAHQ at

About Georgetown University Medical Center

As a top academic health and science center, Georgetown University Medical Center provides, in a synergistic fashion, excellence in education — training physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, as well as biomedical scientists — and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research collaboration, enhancing our basic science and translational biomedical research capacity in order to improve human health. Patient care and clinical research is conducted with our clinical partner, MedStar Health. GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on social justice and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” GUMC comprises the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing & Health Studies, Biomedical Graduate Education, and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a “very high research activity university,” Georgetown is home to a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health, and a Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Connect with GUMC on Facebook ( and on Twitter (@gumedcenter).

The Biomedical Graduate Education Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership (EMCQSL) seeks to provide students with the educational learning experiences and environment that promote advanced discipline competence, the capacity to obtain career success in their healthcare related professional field, and the personal and societal responsibility for the delivery of safe, quality patient care.