NCQC Team

Karen Southard, RN, MHA
Karen Southard, RN, MHA
Vice President, Quality & Clinical Performance Improvement
919-677-4121
ksouthard@ncha.org

Karen is the Vice President of Quality & Clinical Performance Improvement, with over 3 decades of health care experience. She is an RN with diverse clinical experience in both acute and ambulatory care. Most of her career was spent in NC triangle hospitals. She earned a BS in Business, Organization Development from the University of Mt. Olive and a Masters in Health Administration from Pfeiffer University. Her progressive leadership included nurse manager, Director of Nursing Operations, Director of Performance Improvement and Associate Chief Nursing Officer. She has diverse background in acute care service line operations which include achieving a Bariatric Center of Excellence at Duke Regional, expansion of the Woman’s Pavilion and Birthplace at WakeMed Cary Hospital and was part of the core leadership team to achieve Magnet Designation at Duke University Health System.
Karen has spent the last 7 years of her career at The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence working under the CMS Quality Improvement (QIO) contract . Karen worked with a core team of staff to implement CMS National Quality Strategy. The QIO Scope of Work spans across the continuum of care which supports health care organizations and providers to focus their quality strategy on the goals of the Triple Aim, providing better care, lower cost and improved health. During Karen’s tenure with the QIO she developed an expertise in value based quality initiatives and assisted NC in achieving national recognition by CMS in 2014 as a top performing state in Care Transitions. Karen has served as an advisor to the National Quality Form, which published the Readmissions Action Pathway in July 2014. Karen holds an adjunct position at the University of Mt. Olive in the Health Care Management Department.
Karen lives in Cary with her husband, Rich. They have 3 adult children and enjoy hiking, cooking and spending time in the NC Mountains.

Debbie Hunter, MBA
Debbie Hunter, MBA
Program Director, Quality & Clinical Performance Improvement
919-677-4103
dhunter@ncha.org

Debbie has extensive experience in process management and process improvement methodologies focusing primarily on clinical quality improvement strategies. As a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, she has led and consulted on many transformational performance improvement initiatives and projects that have accelerated the achievement of quality and operational outcomes. Debbie’s skills in organizational development, coaching and facilitation have contributed to her success in building high performance teams and engaging associates to achieve established goals.

Debbie previously worked as Assistant Vice President of Quality and Performance Improvement at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where she was responsible for planning and coordinating the development, management and implementation of the Medical Center’s performance excellence and quality improvement strategies in partnership with the leadership team. Debbie also worked at Wachovia Corporation and AON Consulting with the most recent role of Senior Vice President, Leadership and Organizational Development.

Debbie has a Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University Babcock Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Economics from Meredith College. She lives in Winston-Salem, NC where she is actively involved as an advocate for the homeless and underserved.

Laini Jarrett, BS
Laini Jarrett, BS
Project Manager/ Health Equity and Inclusion Coordinator
919-677-4123
ljarrett-echols@ncha.org

Laini Jarrett has served the North Carolina Quality Center since 2012. She is an experienced Project Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. She is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Program Evaluation, Strategic Planning, Event Management, and Team Building. Laini is a strong program and project management professional with a Community Health Center Administration Masters Certificate focused in Public Health from East Carolina University and a Bachelors degree from Howard University in health education. Her current body of work with the NC Hospital Association’s Quality Center includes the promotion of diversity and inclusion that supports health equity across all health care programming and the management of projects within The Quality Centers Patient Safety Organization which serves 113 hospital and health care members.

Claudia Paren, MSN, RN, CPHQ, CPPS
Claudia Paren, MSN, RN, CPHQ, CPPS
Patient Safety & Culture Specialist
919-677-4134
cparen@ncha.org

Claudia Paren is a passionate nurse professional with a background in quality, regulatory and patient safety. Prior to joining TQC PSO she served as Patient Safety Manager for Duke Raleigh Hospital and clinics where she led activities to enhance the culture of safety, including organization-wide resilience training, TeamSTEPPS tool integration, daily safety briefings, leader walk-rounds, second-victim debrief support, and Good Catch award recognitions. Her nursing background includes medical-surgical, medical ICU, bone marrow transplant, and hospice care. She completed her Master’s of Nursing at Duke University School of Nursing and obtained her BSN and BS in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS), Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and an experienced Master TeamSTEPPS Trainer.

Sarah Roberts, PMP
Sarah Roberts, PMP
Project Manager, Quality & Clinical Performance Improvement
919-677-4139
sroberts@ncha.org

Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Relations from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She has 3 years of experience in Logistics Management and administrative assistance for a presentation company in RTP. The company assisted Pharmaceutical companies in preparation and execution of FDA Advisory Committee Meetings. Sarah joined the North Carolina Quality Center in February 2012 as a Project Coordinator. She has worked for the Center the past 6 years on Safety Culture, Healthcare Acquired Infections, and Patient-Family Engagement Initiatives, as well as Education Programs, and on the NC Alliance for Effective Care Transitions. In November 2016, Sarah earned her Project Management Professionals (PMP) certification.

Nancy Schanz, RN, MA, MHA, MBA
Nancy Schanz, RN, MA, MHA, MBA
Performance Improvement Specialist, North Carolina Quality Center PSO
919-677-4105
nschanz@ncha.org

Nancy is the Performance Improvement Specialist for the North Carolina Quality Center Patient Safety Organization (NCQC PSO). The NCQC PSO conducts activities that minimize harm to patients by fostering a culture of quality and safety through learning and sharing among healthcare organizations. Nancy joined the Quality Center in July 2008 and was previously the Administrator for Mid-Carolina Home Care Specialists, a joint venture of UNC Hospitals and WakeMed Health & Hospitals and Director of Operations at UNC Hospitals. She has experience in working with quality improvement and risk management initiatives in major teaching hospitals and with Ernest and Young as a nursing consultant in multiple states. Nancy has her Bachelors Degree in Nursing from the University of Illinois, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, a Master in Business Administration and a Master in Healthcare Administration. She recently earned a graduate certificate in Patient Safety, Error Science and Full Disclosure.

Trish Vandersea
Trish Vandersea
Program Director, Quality & Clinical Performance Improvement
919-677-4115
tvandersea@ncha.org

Trish is the Program Manager for the North Carolina Alliance for Effective Care Transitions (NC ACT), a statewide coalition bringing together organizations across North Carolina in partnership and collaboration, committed to improving the transition of care from one healthcare or home setting to another. Prior to joining the NCQC, Trish worked at Community Care of North Carolina as Project Manager for the Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration working with CMS, BCBSNC, and the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees. She has extensive experience empowering high performing teams, strengthening collaborations with stakeholders and community agencies, and implementing evidenced based programming in communities across NC. Trish has a Master of Public Administration degree from Appalachian State University with a focus on Project Management and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University. She lives in Cary with her husband, two children, and two dogs.