Scholars and Future Leaders Across Medicine Chosen to Advance Equity and Diagnostic Excellence For Older Adults

ALPHARETTA, Ga., July 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM), the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) are proud to announce the selection of the SIDM Age-Friendly Fellow and the NAM Scholar in Diagnostic Excellence who will both focus on advancing equity and improvements in diagnosis for older adults.

The NAM has selected 11 professionals for the 2022 class of its Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program. Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, this collaborative program in partnership with the Council of Medical Specialty Societies offers a one-year, part-time experience for exceptional individuals to advance their diagnostic skills, make significant contributions to improve clinical diagnosis at the national level, and accelerate their career development as national leaders in the field. With additional support from JAHF, the program now includes a scholar with a focus on the older adult population.

SIDM has selected nine new Fellows in Diagnostic Excellence for the 2022-2023 cohort, also with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The one-year fellowship program matches qualified candidates with mentors who are recognized leaders in diagnostic error education, research, or practice improvement to develop and implement a project to improve diagnostic quality and safety. Through support from JAHF, the program also now includes an Age-Friendly Care fellow who will develop and implement a project to improve diagnostic quality and safety for older adults.

Diagnostic errors affect millions of Americans and result in thousands of deaths each year and originate from a wide variety of causes, including inadequate communication between providers, patients, and their families; limited feedback to clinicians about diagnostic performance; a lack of information for patients on navigating the diagnostic process; and a culture that discourages transparency and disclosure of diagnostic errors, which impedes attempts to learn from these events and improve diagnosis. Diagnostic error with older adults is common and frequently arise from contributing factors that are unique to this population, including polypharmacy, cognitive issues such as dementia, mobility limitations, and chronic illnesses. This is a problem our health care system can address and one our SIDM Age-Friendly Fellow and NAM Scholar will work tirelessly to improve.

"Launching a SIDM Age-Friendly Fellowship will contribute to advancing the field of diagnostic excellence among older adults. This partnership with The John A. Hartford Foundation and The National Academy of Medicine addressing diagnostic excellence among older adults underscores SIDM’s commitment to advancing solutions to improve diagnosis in medicine among these populations. It also signals our strong commitment to fostering the broad competencies required to attain patient-responsive solutions while improving diagnosis among the aging community. SIDM is pleased to partner with these extraordinary leaders and welcome those committed to diagnostic excellence," said Jennie Ward-Robinson, PhD, SIDM’s Chief Executive Officer.

The unique partnership between, SIDM, NAM and JAHF will provide our SIDM Age-Friendly Fellow and NAM Scholar with the time and space to pursue exciting new work at the frontiers of knowledge and practice in geriatric care. With access to all three partners, unparalleled resources, our SIDM Age-Friendly Fellow and NAM Scholar will develop new tools and methods, challenge medical and scholarly conventions, and shed light on the past, present, and future. Throughout the academic year, they will convene regularly to share their work in progress with the community, and also opt to share some of their work in progress with the public.

The 2022 SIDM Age-Friendly Fellow and NAM Scholar in Diagnostic Excellence and their program proposal titles are:

Julie Ngoc Thai, MD, MPH 
SIDM Age-Friendly Fellow
Fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine
Geriatric Medicine, Division of Primary Care and Population Health  

Dr. Thai has developed a case-based curriculum for medical learners that focuses on improving diagnosis and reducing medical errors in the older adult patient population. Dr. Thai’s goal is to explore and incorporate various forms of digital tools in curriculum building to make the learning as interactive and engaging as possible. 

Michael Pulia, MD, MS
NAM Scholar in Diagnostic Excellence for Older Adults
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Pulia’s proposed program will focus on improving diagnostic accuracy for older adult patients who present to the emergency department with suspected pneumonia. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to misdiagnosis of acute respiratory conditions and resultant harm related to unnecessary or inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Dr. Pulia’s selection as a NAM Scholar reflects the significance of his research into mitigating harmful diagnostic errors, especially as it pertains to antimicrobial stewardship.

"We are proud to support these two outstanding individuals, whose focus on the special complexities of diagnosis in the older adult population will contribute greatly to the field. By connecting these awardees with others from such a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, SIDM and NAM will serve as an incubator—a place where fellows and scholars can nurture new ideas and create uncharted paths to improve diagnostic quality and safety for older adults in our health care system," said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of JAHF.

About The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) catalyzes and leads change to improve diagnosis and eliminate harm from diagnostic error. We work in partnership with patients, their families, the healthcare community, and every interested stakeholder. SIDM is the only organization focused solely on the problem of diagnostic error and improving the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis. For more information visit

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SOURCE The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM)