• History





    The PARS® tool codes and analyzes surveillance data (e.g. patient/family complaints) to identify healthcare professionals that may be at risk of malpractice claims, or demonstrate a pattern of unnecessary variation in behavior/performance.

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  • Research





    Anonymously aggregating and analyzing data from over 70 healthcare systems, medical groups and hospitals allows CPPA researchers to improve the PARS system, modify intervention procedures, and test new applications.

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  • Education





    Each year CPPA Faculty present more than 200 education and training programs to help professionals develop skills in AE/medical error disclosure, patient-provider communications, and professional accountability.

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  • Intervention Services




    In 1978 Dr. Gerald Hickson began research on why patients/families sue their doctors. Across campus, Dr. Pichert was researching provider-patient communication. They and their collaborators continue to regularly publish new information and findings.




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The CPPA Toolkit

We are pleased to make available The CPPA Toolkit. In this collection, you will find some of the most frequently used teaching aids and decision aids created by the CPPA. Let us know if you have questions about how these tools might be employed at your organization. We would also like to hear hear how you are using these tools at your institution.


Participants from CPPA Professionalism Programs report:

"Great relevant course!" "Extremely valuable." "Learned a new skill set."

"Now able to intervene more effectively when there is a safety/liability issue."

"I was pleased with the approach - positive, structural, evidence-based."

"I will take more responsibility in my leadership role. I will definitely have cup of coffee conversations."

Register now for the upcoming Professionalism program to be held June 20-21, 2014 at Vanderbilt Student Life Center. Open to all healthcare professionals.

In the news....

Joint Commission Journal article honored with ABIM Foundation Professionalism Article Prize

An Intervention Model that Promotes Accountability: Peer Messengers and Patient/Family Complaints
by James W. Pichert, Ilene N. Moore, Jan Karrass, Jeffrey S. Jay, Margaret W. Westlake, Thomas F. Catron and Gerald B. Hickson

  • First in prize's history to receive a Perfect Score
  • Committee members felt that this cutting-edge intervention model could successfully identify and remediate at-risk physicians, thereby improving patient safety and addressing burnout, a clear boon to the field of medical professionalism

William Cooper, MD, MPH, director of the CPPA, testified February 25th at the U. S. Senate HELP Committee Hearing

William Cooper, MD, MPH, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy testified February 25th at the HELP Committee Hearing. Dr. Cooper's testimony addressed potential overmedication of children and adolescents, with a focus on balancing pharmacological and behavioral interventions for patients with ADHD. Dr. Cooper is a distinguished scholar with international recognition for his research in child health policy.


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Upcoming Events

Registration is Open: October 24-25, 2014 - Gerald Hickson, MD and James Pichert, PhD along with other Vanderbilt Faculty, present the CPPA program: Promoting Professionalism: Addressing Behaviors/Performance that Undermine a Culture of Safety, Reliability, and Accountability.

Have you read....


Martinez W, Hickson GB. Tough call: addressing errors from previous providers [Spotlight]. AHRQ WebM&M [serial online]. March 2014. Drs. Martinez and Hickson address a process for communicating with colleagues about medical errors, and for promoting professionalism in support of patient safety.

Dmochowski R. Patient complaints and physician practice: The urological experience. Trends in Urology & Men's Health. 2013 Nov/Dec;4(6)27-29. Dr. Dmochowski investigates the relationship between patient complaints and the risk of malpractice by linking complaints to urological practice types.

Talbot TR, Johnson JG, Fergus C, Domenico JH, Schaffner W, Daniels TL, Wilson G, Slayton J, Feistritzer N, Hickson GB. Sustained improvement in hand hygiene adherence: Utilizing shared accountability and financial incentives. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2013 Nov;34(11):1129-1136. Vanderbilt's HH program included a focus on active performance awareness and accountability based on the PARS process model.

Levy PF. October 31, 2013. Advocating through inquiry. Paul Levy comments on Awareness Interventions as part of a hospital quality and safety agenda. Dr. Gerald Hickson comments: "The success of professionals’ efforts to self- and group regulate is supported by an infrastructure founded on understandable policies, reliable data collection systems, and a process for sharing to promote accountability."

Pichert JW, Moore IN, Karrass J, Jay JS, Westlake MW, Catron TF, Hickson GB. An intervention model that promotes accountability: Peer messengers and patient/family complaints. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2013 Oct;39(10):435-446. Study concludes that the physician peer messenger process reduces patient complaints and is adaptable to addressing unnecessary variation in other quality/safety metrics.

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