Annual Quality Improvement Education Courses


Apply to the 2024 QES today!

Wolff Learning Academy offers two quality improvement education courses for both beginning and advanced students that have a project idea to tackle and an interest in improving their knowledge of healthcare quality and patient safety. These courses equip participants with the knowledge, tools and resources to drive change and enhance the healthcare environment and processes that contribute to excellence. 

The Quality Education Series (QES) and Advanced Quality Education Series (AQES) are annual, certificate-of-completion courses that offer focused coursework, monthly interactive sessions and a QI coach to support project development throughout the series. Both programs are offered free to UPMC employees and are by application. 

See the description of each course below for dates, details, application links, and projects accepted. For questions, please contact Stephanie Knoch at the Wolff Center or email Wolff Learning Academy

If you would like to be added to the email list when applications are released complete the QI Education Interest Form. All Quality Improvement projects will need to be submitted to the Quality Review Committee for approval. Review QRC instructions and process here

If you are part of the My Nursing Career Inpatient/Procedural and OR areas ladders, QES is one of the five Wolff Learning Academy Center for Nursing Excellence certificates of completion to meet one of their requirements for promotion. If you are a part of the My Nursing Career Program you will need to have your certificate available to upload to the tracking form upon completion, which is available upon graduation.

Francis X. Solano., MD, FACP Quality Education Series (QES)

Apply here to the 2024 QES

The Francis X. Solano, Jr., MD, FACP Quality Education Series at UPMC is named in honor of Francis X. Solano, Jr., MD, FACP.  Dr. Solano has a long-standing commitment and passion regarding quality improvement and education. 
 The QES is an annual quality improvement education course designed for UPMC clinical, operational, and front-line leaders with little or no prior quality improvement experience with a quality improvement project they would like to tackle in their everyday practice. We encourage anyone in the system interested in QI with a project to work on to apply! It is free to all UPMC staff.
This structured QI education course combines virtual didactic sessions, Wolff Learning Academy coursework, and monthly coaching calls with a Wolff Center coach to assist in applying these ideas and advancing your project.  The goal of the course is to teach students how to execute a Quality Improvement (QI) project from start to finish.  Participants will learn how to identify critical issues, analyze the current state, identify a clear aim for improvement, develop a measurement plan, and implement small tests of change. 
Please see our guidelines for the types of projects and participants best suited for QES. This course runs from September to February, see course details below.  

View the 2024 QES Course Overview

Past participants share their experience:

“I have found these sessions to be extremely helpful in building a framework to implement a new program/process.  The presentations, resources, and coaching are so well organized and relevant.  I am so happy we have this resource!” – Melissa Jones, MSN, RN, CDP, DS, Geriatric Nurse Educator, UPMC Senior Services

“The experience that I have had with QES Class for Quality Projects was extremely valuable to learn in depth about how to do a good quality project from the beginning.   One of my bad habits was to try and put the cart before the horse and problem solve without really diving into the WHY of the problem.   Even though my project may seem minimal knowing how to really drill down and find out more about the WHY really makes a difference.  I had the data only on some of what I needed to support my mission. With this class it allowed me the opportunity to learn more substantial methods to support my project with solid data…” – Vicki Jacobs, MSN, RN, Unit Director, UPMC St. Margaret, Harmar Outpatient Center and GI Special Procedures

2024 Quality Education Series Course
(All sessions are held virtually via Teams. Sessions are from 9:00a – 11:30a, except Session 1 and 2 which are 9:00a – 12:00p. CEU’s are available for the QES course) 
September 18, 2024 – An Introduction to Quality Improvement, Project Management Tools & Assessing the Current State
October 16, 2024 – Aim Statements, Driver Diagrams, & Flow Mapping
November 20, 2024 – PDSA and Human Factors Design
December 11, 2024  – Gathering and Understanding Data & Excel Basics                                           
January 15, 2025 – Change Management, Telling your Story & How to Publish Your QI Project            February 12, 2025 – Tentative Graduation and Project Presentation

2022 QES Project C. diff Diagnostic Stewardship Poster Winner at the CHP Quality Fair
Congratulations to Christina Jockel, MSN, RN, CCRN, Lindsay Montoya MPH, CIC, FAPIC; Hannah Creager PhD, D (ABMM) and Michael Green MD, MPH for winning 3rd place for their  “C the Difference” with Appropriate C. difficile Testinginitiative. Following a rise in hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in 2021, Christina turned her attention towards reducing HAI rates in the PICU and participated in the Wolff Learning Academy’s Francis X. Solano, Jr., MD, FACP, Quality Education Series (QES). Christina’s experience was recently highlighted on Infonet,  ‘It’s My Duty to These Patients’ (

Advanced Quality Education Series (AQES)

View the 2024 Accepted Projects

View the 2024 AQES Speaker Series
Session Dates and Topics
February 6, 2024 – Michael Leonard, MD: Organizational Readiness & Making Change Stick
February 28, 2024  –
Denise Rousseau, Ph.D.: Leading Evidence-Based Organizational Change 
March 20, 2024 –
Roger Resar, MD: How to Design Reliable Processes in Healthcare                  April 17, 2024 – Raj Ratwani, PhD: Human Factors Design
May 15, 2024 –
Mark Roberts, MD: Interpreting Data to Advance Quality Improvement   
Shari Rogal, MD and Matthew Chinman, PhD: Managing and Driving Change Through Implementation Science
February 2025 –
Graduation and Project Presentation

What is the Advanced Quality Education Series?

  • Designed for multi-disciplinary teams of 3 to 5 participants, including physician, operational, clinical, and front-line leaders with prior QI experience who can marshal support to implement change
  • 12-month program comprised of five, didactic, virtual sessions from February 2024 to June 2024, followed by project implementation and a virtual February 2025 Graduation/Report Out
  • The program blends quality improvement methodology with hands-on training to work on real-world projects that drive quality improvement and are of strategic significance
  • The program is comprised of Wolff Learning Academy coursework, lectures from outside experts and UPMC leaders, as well as coaching from a Wolff Center Specialist to support project development and advancement
  • The goal of the series is that participants will learn how to implement successful QI projects and become the next generation of quality leaders at UPMC
  • It is designed for participants with quality improvement experience who desire a deeper understanding of the QI process
  • Series is highly selective, only 4-5 projects will be chosen
  • Projects must address system goals: 
    • improving the UPMC patient experience
    • achieving high-quality and patient-safety outcomes
    • driving effective and efficient clinical care
    • reducing complications/infections (Sepsis, VTE, C. diff, CLABSI, or CAUTI, etc.)
    • improving the UPMC employee experience
  • The scope of AQES projects will most likely be larger with the potential, if successful, to spread through the system. Therefore, AQES participants are accepted through an application process with documented executive level support
  • Please see the AQES guidelines for projects and participants best suited for this program. Applications will open Fall 2024 for the 2025 series.

    View the 2023 Projects and Teams

Improving Outpatient Access to Magnetic Resonance Imaging – PUH (AQES 2020)
Dr. Alessandro Furlan shares his experience in AQES to lower MRI wait times for patients:

Watch ‘Apply to the Advanced Quality Education Series’ | Microsoft Stream (Classic)


Health care generates a massive caron footprint. Here’s how UPMC is trying to shrink theirs.
Pittsburgh-area hospitals tackling climate emissions, pollution, and waste: 
Congratulations to Dr. Isabela-Cajiao Angelelli, one of the co-founders of Clinicians for Climate Action and a clinical director at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on her recent feature in NPR and Environmental Health News.  This publication demonstrates the impact of successfully initiated new sustainability programs or policies at UPMC.
Read how Dr. Angelelli’s  Advanced Quality Education Series Helps Create a More Sustainable UPMC (

Obtaining the UPMC Wolff Learning Academy QES and AQES Certificate of Completion for My Nursing Career

When all program requirements have been met (reviewing course material, completing course surveys, and attending any applicable live sessions), submit your program completion through this link. You will be asked to attest that you have completed all required coursework and provide your UPMC employee ID number.

Program completions are verified during the last business day of every month. Successful participants will see UPMC Wolff Learning Academy Quality Outcomes Essentials Certificate of Completion on their transcript in HR Direct Learning during the first week of the following month. A certificate of completion will be available through HR Direct Learning once the course is viewable on your HR Direct Learning transcript. For example, a program completion submitted on the 5th of March will be verified at the end of March, but the certificate will not be available in HR Direct Learning until the first week of April. If your submission is not approved for any reason, participants must resubmit again through the program completion link and be processed along the next monthly schedule in which they fall after completing all program requirements. 

Wolff Learning Academy Certificates of Completion are valid for 2 years.