Tina Schade Willis, MD – Director

Dr. Willis completed medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, trained in pediatrics at Creighton-Nebraska Universities Foundation, and completed a pediatric critical care fellowship at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She joined the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill in 2004. Her academic focus includes system designs that reduce variation and cycle times leading to improved patient care, efficiency, and satisfaction. She is an expert in high performance team training, performance improvement study design, analysis, and clinical improvement training programs.

Laura Graves Brown, MPH – Executive Director

Laura Brown earned a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. She applies quality improvement, behavioral intervention design and evaluation, and adult learning to improve clinical care and public health. Laura has led many complex projects and programs at UNC Chapel Hill, the American Board of Pediatrics and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.


Jennifer Elston Lafata, PhD, MHSA – Associate Director

Jennifer Elston Lafata is a BSPH graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and received her doctorate in Health Services Management and Policy from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Lafata returned to UNC Chapel Hill in 2016. Prior to returning to UNC, she served in a number of leadership positions at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI, and most recently was on faculty in the School of Medicine and the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her academic focus is on how the engagement of patients can facilitate the delivery and receipt of evidence-based cancer care. She has extensive experience working with delivery organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate care innovations.

Shana Ratner, MD, FACP – Associate Director

Dr. Ratner completed Medical School at UNC Chapel Hill, residency in Internal Medicine, and a Chief Residency year at University of Chicago. She joined UNC’s faculty in 2011 in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Epidemiology. She is Medical Director of the UNC Internal Medicine Clinic. She has interests in clinical care, systems redesign, resident education, quality improvement education, preventive health, and population health.


Amy Shaheen, MD, MSc – Associate Director

Dr. Shaheen completed medical school at the University of Chicago, trained in Internal medicine at the University of North Carolina, and completed a master’s degree in Healthcare Quality and Safety at Northwestern University. She joined UNC’s faculty in 2006. Dr. Shaheen works to improve care in the ambulatory environment with a specific emphasis on low back pain and chronic diseases. As a course director in the medical school, Dr. Shaheen has developed curriculum in quality improvement for the ambulatory environment and teaches population health techniques to third and fourth year medical students. She has also developed faculty development opportunities for community physicians interested in quality improvement.

Jake Reardon, MS Ed – Program Coordinator

Jake Reardon returned to UNC after serving with the National College Advising Corp in Surry County, NC, working in Residence Life at Guilford College, and earning a master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs from Indiana University – Bloomington. Jake has primary responsibility for smooth implementation and execution of IHQI’s varied program activities.



Candice Hardin Hunt, MHA – Project Manager

Candice Hardin Hunt earned her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. In previous positions, Candice worked with state and local leaders to advocate for public health laws and improve the quality of care provided to pediatric patients in southeastern North Carolina. Candice manages IHQI Improvement Scholars projects.

Matt Huemmer, MBA, MHA, CLSSGB, CLSSBB – Project Manager

Matt earned his BA in Journalism at UNC Chapel Hill. He then attended the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA. Later, Matt returned to UNC and earned his MHA from the Gillings School of Public Health. He is a certified lean six sigma green belt and black belt via the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Previously he worked in the pharmaceutical industry in various roles within operations and consulting at Quintiles, PPD, and UCB. Matt supports the UNC Health Care Sepsis Initiative.

Monecia R. Thomas, MHA – Project Manager

Monecia Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Science Education-Biology from NC State University and a Master of Healthcare Administration from UNC. She served as Health Director for Yadkin and Davidson Counties with responsibility for policy development, program planning, and continuous quality improvement. She also served as the NC Institute for Public Health’s Senior State Accreditation Coordinator, consultant for Population Health Improvement Partners and as Director for Continuing Education/Professional Development to aid public health leadership in the development of innovative health programs. Monecia manages the NC Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program.

Sabrina Vereen, DHA, FACHE, CHTS-TR – Project Manager

Sabrina’s primary expertise is facilitation of health system care transformation and population health improvement in medicosocially complex and other vulnerable groups. She is passionate about using quality frameworks; leveraging improvement methodologies, implementation science, and evidence-based interventions; and collaborating with innovative, interdisciplinary teams and learners to maximize health for all populations in the Carolinas and beyond. Sabrina is a 2001 UNC MHA graduate from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and has a doctorate in healthcare administration and leadership with a concentration in quality measurement from Medical University of South Carolina. She also holds multiple credentials in Lean Six Sigma and Fellow designation from American College of Healthcare Executives.

May-Britt Sten, MSN, RN-BC, CPHO – Project Manager

May-Britt Sten earned a Master’s Degree in Nursing from Columbia University School of Nursing in 1990. May-Britt has worked as a bedside nurse, pediatric clinical nurse specialist and performance improvement leader and applies this experience to her work in performance improvement, change management, and adult education. May-Britt has worked on a variety of successful local and organization wide improvement initiatives as a team member, team leader or improvement coach, improving clinical outcomes and the care experience.


Karen Davis, BBA – Program Coordinator

Karen Davis earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Campbell University. She is currently enrolled in the University of Phoenix’s dual degree program pursing the Master of Health Administration/Master of Business Administration (MHA/MBA) degrees in addition to a Graduate Health Care Informatics Certificate and is scheduled to graduate June 2019. Karen previously held operational positions at UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, and McCleod Regional Medical Center. Karen is also a United States Marine Corps Veteran. She supports IHQI’s many quality improvement program activities.