Our History

The Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, founded in 2003, has over two decades of research that has laid the foundation for our ongoing programs of education, research, service recovery and PARS® risk management services.

1979-1992: Dr. Hickson and colleagues publish landmark studies and book chapters on why patients/families sue their doctors and why some doctors within every discipline are sued more often than others. Dr. Pichert and colleagues do research on doctor-patient communications.

1993-1994: A Vanderbilt Risk Manager challenges Drs. Hickson and Pichert do practical research and develop case-based coursework to promote risk management-related concepts to Vanderbilt medical students, residents, faculty, and CME audiences nationally. These continue to be taught.

1995-2000: Drs. Hickson, Pichert, Federspiel and Ms. Cindy Miller receive Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding to test their Early identification and response model for doctors at high risk of risk management activity at Vanderbilt and four community medical centers in Alabama. Several peer-reviewed publications result, and the PARS program evolves from this work.

2000-2002: Several other medical centers around the nation partner with CPPA to evaluate the PARS program in their institutions. Early results appear positive. The PARS team author Patient complaints and malpractice risk published in JAMA.

2003: The Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy is established, realizing rapid growth and experience [read more].