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The VCU Langston Center for Innovation in Quality and Safety recently held a virtual induction ceremony to welcome four new Affiliate Scholars. The Affiliate Scholars form a network of interprofessional experts from across universities and health systems nationwide that advises the center on its programs and collaborates to address challenges in health care.

“The Affiliate Scholar network over the past year, despite COVID-19, has taken hold and is showing its ability to influence change.  The addition of these new inductees will strengthen our influence as our priority programs reflect on the theme of health equity in the coming year,” said Michael Bleich, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, senior professor and director of the Langston Center.   

Scholars are selected based on their ability to influence innovation in quality and safety, promote the uptake of changes that affect patient and family care in practice or policy, and demonstrate collaborative leadership abilities.  Individuals may self-nominate or be nominated from within the network.

The 2021 Affiliate Scholar inductees include AkkeNeel Talsma, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a Kellner Entrepreneurship Fellow and associate professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; Joseph J. Napolitano, Ph.D., M.P.H., RN, CRNP, vice president for patient care services at Lehigh Valley Health Network – Muhlenberg (LVHN-M); Joseph T. DeRanieri, D.M., M.S.N., RN, BCECR, an adjunct faculty member at the VCU School of Nursing and Delaware State University School of Nursing; and Robyn Diehl McDougle, Ph.D., an associate professor and director of the Center for Public Policy in the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

With the addition of the newest members, the Langston Center now has 21 Affiliate Scholars. To view the full list, visit

Founded in 2015, the Langston Center for Innovation in Quality and Safety promotes patient-centered, population-focused and cost-effective initiatives designed to improve health care. Housed in the VCU School of Nursing, the center offers a unique arena of opportunities to advance leadership, quality and safety science, decision- and implementation science, and innovation.

The new Affiliate Scholars are pictured below.

AkkeNeel Talsma
Joseph Napolitano
Joseph DeRanieri
Robyn Diehl McDougle
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