Annual Quality Improvement Education Courses

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. 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)

Applications are currently closed – complete the interest form above to be added to the application release in June.
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 that have a quality improvement project in their everyday practice they would like to tackle. The course combines a series of five, virtual didactic sessions, coursework, and monthly coaching calls with real-world work on a local improvement project that is centered around system-wide goals. The goal of the course is to teach students how to execute a Quality Improvement (QI) project from start to finish.  
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 2023 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

2023 Quality Education Series Course
(Sessions will be held virtually 9:00a – 11:30a, except Session 1 – 9:00a – 12:00p) 
September 13, 2023 – An Intro, Project Management Tools & Assessing the Current State
October 18, 2023 – Aim Statements, Driver Diagrams, & Flow Mapping
November 15, 2023 – PDSA and Human Factors Design
December 13, 2023  – Gathering and Understanding Data & Excel Basics                                                 
January 10, 2024 – Sustaining Change, Telling Your Story & How to Publish                                              February 7, 2024 – Graduation and Project Presentation

Advanced Quality Education Series (AQES)


Apply to the AQES and be a part of the next generation of quality leaders!












View the 2023 Projects and Teams

  • Tailored 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 February 2025 Graduation
  • The programThe  blends quality improvement methodology with hands-on training to work on real-world projects that drive quality improvement and are of strategic significance.
  • Comprised of five didactic virtual sessions presented by outside experts and UPMC leaders, as well as collaboration with the project coach and coursework through the Wolff Learning Academy.
  • 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.
  • Projects appropriate for the AQES series will address system goals and priorities such as: 
    • 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 business unit presidential support.
  • Please see the AQES guidelines for projects and participants best suited for this program
View the 2024 AQES Speaker Series
Session Dates and Topics
February 6, 2024 – Michael Leonard, MD: Organizational Readiness and 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 Presentationn
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)

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 Environmental Health News.  This publication demonstrates the impact of successfully initiated new sustainability programs or policies at UPMC. Dr. Angelelli is currently part of the Wolff Learning Academy’s Advanced Quality Education Series and is leading a quality improvement initiative to reduce the use of disposable (single-use) pulse oximetry probes and blood pressure cuffs.

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.