THINQ Collaborative

The Healthcare Improvement and Innovation in Quality (THINQ) Collaborative Program for UCLA Students and Post-graduates


The Healthcare Improvement and Innovation in Quality (THINQ) Collaborative was formed in May 2014 by the UCLA Department of Medicine (DoM) Quality Program.  THINQ consists of current UCLA students and recent graduates passionate about improving healthcare from an interdisciplinary perspective. Through mentorship and professional development, the program emphasizes collaboration, research, and innovation in order to foster the next generation of healthcare leaders. THINQ involves research, physician shadowing experience, speaker events from individuals in various healthcare fields, and discussions about diverse topics in the healthcare industry that affect patients and physicians. THINQ fellows work directly with inter-professional teams to solve real-world clinical problems. THINQ is currently the only undergraduate organization on the UCLA campus dedicated to quality improvement—a topic in healthcare usually introduced at the graduate-student level.

THINQ hosts 30-40 volunteers annually from diverse backgrounds, majors, and expertise, credentialed through the UCLA Health Volunteer Office.  After graduating from UCLA, most students pursue graduate or professional schools, employment in healthcare, or research positions. After completing the THINQ program, many volunteers remain strongly interested in working in the field as part of their career trajectory, with several continuing in quality improvement initiatives. When asked to describe their THINQ experience in 5 words, the most common words are fun, collaborative, educational, inspiring, and unique.

Current Programs

  • Research Initiatives
    • Intersectionality Integrative Review: Exploring nurse-physician relations through the lens of intersectionality (i.e., sex/gender, age, race/ethnicity, culture, specialty, years of experience). 
    • Discharge Planning and Care Transitions: Generate best practice recommendations to improve discharge planning that can lead to improved patient satisfaction, a better understanding of the post-discharge plan of care, and a reduction in post-discharge complications and readmission rates. 
    • Clinical Topics: Vizient Lab projects to (1) Prevent Hypoglycemic events in hospitalized patients receiving insulin; (2) Optimize INRs so it doesn't exceed 5.0 when prescribing Warfarin in the hospital; (3) Decrease inappropriate transfusion of blood to patients that have hemoglobin >9 if not bleeding; (4) Draw lactic acid within 12 hours of any patient presenting with Severe Sepsis. 
  • THINQ Committee Presentations and Fellowship Training
    • Social Justice: Presentations on an important healthcare issue from an intersectional lens. 
    • Journal Club and THINQ Tank: Discuss literature on specific areas of concern (i.e., team communication, interdisciplinary rounds, clinician burnout, etc.) within the healthcare system to brainstorm potential solutions in groups. 
    • Leadership Development: Courses and training on professional development, such as guest speaker events, resume building, and personality quizzes. 
    • Research Boot Camp: Workshops to develop research skills pertaining to PubMed Searching, integrative reviews, and research presentations.
  • Outreach Programming
    • Blog Posts: Publications by the volunteers discussing healthcare and social justice issues. 
    • Pre-Health Guidebook: Accessible collection of all UCLA pre-health organizations and their missions to allow individuals to find activities that best fit their interests.
    • Case Competition: Hosts an annual case competition for UCLA undergraduates to create and present solutions to real-world healthcare issues.
  • Shadowing: Rotations in inpatient medicine, geriatric units, and outpatient internal medicine resident clinic. 

Selected Presentations and Publications


  • Exploring Physician-Nurse Relations Through the Lens of Intersectionality. Team Members: Bianca Nguyen, Dylan Mai, Manny Venegas, Pearl Omo-Sowho, Lauren Han, Aishwarya Natarajan, Anna Dermenchyan; 2022 DOM Research Day and 2023 UCLA Nursing Science and Innovation Conference. 
  • Behaviors Associated with Increased Physician and Nurse Communication During Bedside Interdisciplinary Rounds. Team members: Kelly X. Huang, Caitlin K. Chen, Antonio M. Pessegueiro, Anna Dermenchyan, Aishwarya Natarajan, Sitaram S. Vangala, Erin Dowling, Wendy M. Simon; 2022 DOM Research Day.
  • Establishment of a Sepsis Patient and Family Advisory Council at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Team members: Abhinav Kareddy, Aishwarya Atmakuri, Brent Arakaki, Summer Gupta, Anna Dermenchyan, Russell Kerbel; 2022 DOM Research Day. 


  • Huang KX, Chen CK, Pessegueiro AM, et al. Physician behaviors associated with increased physician and nurse communication during bedside interdisciplinary rounds. J Hosp Med. 2023;10.1002/jhm.13189. doi:10.1002/jhm.13189 
  • Namavar AA, Vangala S, Pietras C, Dowling EP. Prognostication Accuracy, Confidence, and Decisional Conflict Across Training Levels of Internal Medicine Providers. J Palliat Care. 2020;35(4):226-231. doi:10.1177/0825859719867672
  • Namavar AA, Eshraghi N, Dermenchyan A, Afsar-Manesh N. Inspiring the Future of Medicine: The Healthcare Improvement & iNnovation in Quality (THINQ) Collaborative at UCLA Health. Am J Med Qual. 2018;33(3):326-328. doi:10.1177/1062860617725577
  • Dowling EP, Namavar AA, Vangala S, Busuttil A, Afsar-Manesh N. Using Decisional Conflict to Evaluate Patient Engagement During Hospital Discharge. Am J Med Qual. 2018;33(3):330. doi:10.1177/1062860617734307
  • Afsar-Manesh N, Lonowski S, Namavar AA. Leveraging lean principles in creating a comprehensive quality program: The UCLA health readmission reduction initiative. Healthc (Amst). 2017;5(4):194-198. doi:10.1016/j.hjdsi.2016.12.002
  • Namavar AA, Huey L, Busuttil A, Afsar-Manesh N, Dowling EP. Impact of an Enhanced Transition Process on Patient Readiness for Discharge. Am J Med Qual. 2016;31(6):604-605. doi:10.1177/1062860616649437