Since the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) launched the IHI Open School in 2008, more than 1,500 universities and hospitals have integrated the IHI Open School online courses into curricula and training programs to bring essential skills in quality improvement and patient safety to students, trainees, and all levels of staff. Based on lessons and advice from hundreds of educators, the new IHI Open School Faculty Guide: Best Practices in Curriculum Integration offers a roadmap to building a quality and safety training program with help from the Open School courses.

The IHI Open School began as a handful of online courses designed to provide a basic education in quality and safety for all health professions students. Over time, the online course catalog has grown to include more than 30 online courses in quality, safety, leadership, the Triple Aim, and patient-centered care. Learners can earn a Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety by completing 13 introductory courses, and professionals can find upper-level courses, including courses to help teach quality improvement concepts to others.

Since 2008, more than 550,000 students and residents have participated in the Open School courses, contributing to more than four million course completions. But the Open School didn’t achieve these milestones on its own. The spread of the courses — which are free to students, residents, and faculty — is thanks in large part to university faculty and other educators around the world, whose efforts have been instrumental. 

In 2016, the Open School set out to learn from the collective experiences and expertise of its growing Faculty Network. Based on hundreds of survey and interview responses, the new IHI Open School Faculty Guide: Best Practices in Curriculum Integration compiles advice from faculty across 16 countries and a diverse set of disciplines. In the guide, you will learn: 

● Recommendations for designing a curriculum that incorporates the Open School courses in one of several ways

● Strategies for securing stakeholder approval for curricular changes  

● Tips for weaving Open School courses with other resources to design a custom training program

● Advice for sustaining changes over time, once an effective training program is in place

IHI’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Dr. Don Goldmann, a Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained why integrating learning from the Open School into clinical training is so important. “Students learn a great deal about the islet cell and what factors predispose people to develop diabetes,” he said. “And they learn what drugs are effective in lowering blood sugar. But they learn little about the science that will help them address disparities in diagnosis and care of diabetes and prevention of its consequences.” 

This is the gap the IHI Open School exists to fill. “Integrating quality improvement — and the science that underlies it — into the curriculum can teach students to become systems thinkers,” said Dr. Goldmann. “Even better, it can encourage them to translate their learning into action.” 

Every day, the Open School is privileged to witness this truth. We see students chartering IHI Open School Chapters on their campuses, leading improvement projects in their local health systems, and building partnerships to improve the health of their communities. To hear many examples and learn more about how educators are facilitating this work all over the world, check out the new Faculty Guide and other teaching resources at

 Feel free to contact them with any questions:


Wendy Madigosky, MD, MSPH, Associate Professor, Foundations of Doctoring Curriculum Director, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center

Wendy worked alongside the IHI Open School to develop the Faculty Guide. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado, Department of Family Medicine. She also directs the Foundations of Doctoring Curriculum program, which focuses on teaching fundamental clinical and professional skills to students within the first 3 years of medical school.  She is involved in the on-going development of patient safety/quality improvement curriculum within the School of Medicine and is Advisor to the University of Colorado's IHI Open School Chapter. In 2012, Wendy was selected as a Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Faculty Scholar and her project involves the development of interprofessional safety/quality improvement curriculum on the Anschutz Medical Campus

Gina Deitz, Open School Community Manager, Institute for Healthcare Improvement


As Community Manager for the IHI Open School, Gina manages and supports the Open School’s growing network of over 850 Chapters and more than 500,000 health professional students, as they develop skills to become change agents in health care. Recognizing that efforts of faculty members to spread quality and safety education at their local institutions are integral to students’ success, Gina led efforts to increase support and resources for the faculty network in 2016, and co-authored the Faculty Guide with Wendy.

Laura Fink, Senior Manager, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

As a Senior Managing Editor at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), where she loves writing and editing the IHI Open School online courses and other learning activities. She is a medical editor with more than 10 years’ experience crafting print and online media for health care professionals and patients. Before joining IHI in 2013, she worked for publishers including UpToDate, Krames StayWell, and QuanitaMD.




Created in 2008, the IHI Open School is an innovative learning community where you can take free online courses, earn certificates, network with peers and experts, and gain confidence and skills in quality improvement and patient safety to change health care.