Fellowship in Diagnostic Excellence

Develop Additional Expertise in Diagnostic Safety and Quality

The 2023-2024 Fellows in Diagnostic Excellence

Anna Headshot 2021
Anna Costello, MD

Pediatric Rheumatology Fellow, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Project Summary: Anna will attempt to better understand the factors that result in diagnostic delay in patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. She hopes this research will guide quality improvement efforts to enable access to rheumatology services for appropriate patients and educational efforts to improve the timely recognition of JIA by non-rheumatologic clinicians.


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Stephen Smith, MD

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology Staff Head, Neck & Endocrine and Dermatopathologist

Project Summary: Inattention blindness is a known and described phenomenon when humans fail to perceive an unexpected observation - in plain sight without visual deficits or obscurations, as a result of lack of attention. Surgical pathologists rely on visual evaluation of tissues for diagnosis: the focus of this project is to discern whether surgical pathologists may experience inattentional blindness when either (1) prompted by clinical history contrary to obvious histologic findings; or (2) required to assert a diagnosis in a time-sensitive period (limited timing to review). We will utilize digital imaging to manipulate digital histologic slides, variably prompting pathologists with both accurate and inaccurate contexts, as well as adjusting the time period allowed for histologic evaluation before opinion, in order to "induce" this phenomenon.


Jessica Dreicer, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine

Project Summary: Jessica's project will focus on Deepening our understanding about the relationship between diagnostic and prognostic reasoning and use this knowledge to improve prognostic decision making.

Justine Staal (1)
Justine Staal, MSC, PhDC

PhD-student and Teacher in Academic Skills at Erasmus MC

Project Summary: Popular media like to report that artificial intelligence (AI) might soon replace human clinicians, though reality is that we are far from ready to broadly implement such algorithms in clinical practice. Important barriers remain that prevent successful human-AI collaboration, such our limited understanding of how clinical reasoning can best be supported by AI and a lack of trust in artificial intelligence. With this project, we will set out to identify minimal necessary characteristics to 1) support and improve clinicians’ diagnostic process and 2) establish trust in AI, which will lead to the development of recommendations for optimal conditions for human-AI collaboration.

Vadim Vaadeem Dukhanin
Vadim "Vaadeem" Dukhanin, MD, MHS

Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

Project Summary: Identify and document strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to implementing solutions to diagnostic disparities in routine healthcare delivery. Moving from documenting diagnostic disparities to widescale sustainable implementation of solutions requires closing critical gaps in our understanding of barriers and facilitators to such implementation. Findings of SWOT to implementing diagnostic disparities solutions would inform interested parties on potential recommendations and action steps and areas for alliances and collaborations.

Alberta "Allie" Tran, PhD, RN

Senior Research Scientist, MedStar Health Research Institute and MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety

The John A. Hartford Foundation “Age-Friendly” Fellow 

Project Summary: Dr. Tran seeks to understand and leverage opportunities to better engage nurses, who make up the largest component of the healthcare workforce, in diagnostic improvement efforts for the older adult population. Her project aims to 1) identify examples of nurses' contributions to diagnostic safety in older adults and 2) co-design a nurse-led diagnostic safety checklist to improve diagnostic communication between older adults, their families/caregivers, and healthcare team members in hospital settings.


Neha Bansal Etherington, MD, FACP

Board Certified Internists, Clinical Assistant Professor at UPMC

Project Summary: Dr. Etherington project focuses on curriculum development and assessment, particularly in the areas of clinical reasoning and clinical uncertainty. She aims to develop and evaluate a curriculum on communication of diagnostic uncertainty with the goals of improved communication of diagnostic uncertainty to patients and inclusion of patients as a part of the diagnostic team.

Daisy Zhu-17-Edit-3
Yuxin "Daisy" Zhu, PhD

Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Department Neurology, Department of Biostatistics

Project Summary: Develop prediction algorithm to quantify misdiagnosis-related harm using hospital-level data without data sharing. The algorithm will be developed using state or national EHR or claim data, and will address the issue of return visits “crossing-over” to different hospitals.

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Jenny Sloane, PhD, MS

Cognitive Psychologist, Health Services Research Fellow, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety, Baylor College of Medicine

Project Summary: Dr. Sloane seeks to gain a better understanding of the diagnostic journey of patients with “diagnostically challenging conditions”, such as celiac disease. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop, test, and validate electronic trigger(s) to proactively identify patients who have a high likelihood of having certain diagnostically challenging conditions.


Program Overview

Looking to develop additional expertise in diagnostic safety and quality?

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) Fellowship in Diagnostic Excellence will enhance your knowledge and skills in diagnostic quality and safety, match you with experienced mentors and recognized leaders in the field of diagnostic error, connect you with the diagnostic error community, and help you develop and implement your own project.

The one-year SIDM fellowship is designed to provide professional career development through:

  • A personal mentor in your area of focus within diagnosis (e.g., education, research, practice improvement, advocacy, informatics, etc.)
  • Networking within the diagnostic medicine field
  • A structured curriculum of webinars
  • Opportunities for disseminating scholarship at our annual meeting (Diagnostic Error in Medicine conference) and through peer-reviewed publications, such as the SIDM-sponsored journal Diagnosis

Funding for the fellowship program is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

All fellows benefit from the curriculum, project mentorship, integration with the SIDM community, and financial support to attend the annual Diagnostic Error in Medicine conference.

Special award area:

With the additional support of The John A. Hartford Foundation, SIDM will award an “Age-Friendly Care” Fellow. The Age-Friendly Care Fellow will develop and implement a project to improve diagnostic quality and safety for older adults.

Who Should Apply?

  • 1

    Individuals who are looking to supplement their current position in the health professions with training in diagnostic quality and safety.

  • 2

    Individuals in an advanced fellowship and/or degree-bearing program who are developing a scholarly focus on diagnostic quality and safety and are seeking a salary stipend for their scholarly work (akin to grant funding in fellowships). Details on the application process for these salary-supported positions are found below.

Vision and Goals of the Fellowship

The vision of the SIDM Fellowship in Diagnostic Excellence is to catalyze careers in the field of diagnostic medicine and to cultivate leaders in the diagnostic safety movement.

The overarching goals of the fellowship align with the eight core goals for reducing diagnostic error that are outlined in the 2015 National Academies of Science and Medicine report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care.


Successful candidates will have advanced training (MD, DO, advanced practice degree), doctoral/terminal degree in relevant discipline, or other significant qualifying experience) and possess a commitment to a career in improving diagnosis and addressing diagnostic error. Selection will be based on the candidate's qualifications and the quality of their proposed project.

All SIDM Fellows will become part of the SIDM community and will attend the annual Diagnostic Error in Medicine Conference at no cost (i.e. free registration with stipends for travel and lodging).

Funding for Fellows

  • 4 Fellows $30,000
  • 1 Age-Friendly Care Diagnostic Fellow $30,000 (supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation)
  • 4 Fellows $5,000

We give first priority for the $30K stipend to fellows who are matriculating into or currently completing an advanced degree-bearing program germane to diagnostic excellence. Examples include, but are not limited to, master's degrees or doctoral work in epidemiology, public health, informatics, and health professions education.

The $30,000 stipend will then be prioritized for candidates who propose the following types of projects:

  • Projects involving multiple centers or health systems
  • Projects directly involving work with patients and patient advocates or including patients in the project design
  • Projects fostering the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusivity as pertaining to diagnostic excellence

In addition to the stipend, all Fellows receive coverage for SIDM membership, annual conference registration fees, travel for two SIDM conferences, and limited support for other research-related expenses such as publication fees, etc. (upon request).

Past Fellows