Annual Quality Congress

Who Should Attend?

VON’s Annual Quality Congress is designed for the entire interdisciplinary team, and any individual involved with the care of newborns and families will benefit from the experience, including: clinicians, educators, senior leaders, data specialists, state health leaders, family-advisers, and quality improvement leaders.

At the conference, international leaders in clinical care, science, and quality improvement present leading-edge work and lead subject-specific breakout sessions. Family advisers are fully integrated as participants and faculty. Colleagues from around the world share knowledge and improvement stories in a interdisciplinary environment, which informs and inspires their work beyond the congress.

Additionally, special events at the congress include:

  • APN Forum events for Advanced Practice Providers
  • NICQ & iNICQ Symposium for VON quality improvement collaborative teams
  • Jump Starting Quality 4.0 (with foundational and intermediate tracks) for fellows, early career neonatologists and doctoral students in training
  • Genomics Summit for centers/health systems interested in precision medicine for newborns with often unrecognized rare diseases

Learning tracks include:

Clinical Improvement

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• Neonatologists/Fellows
• Pediatricians/Pediatric Hospitalists
• Bedside Nurses
• Respiratory Therapists
• Pharmacists
• Dietitians/Lactation Consultants
• Physical/Occupational Therapists
• Parents

Advanced Practice

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• Neonatal Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants
• Clinical Nurse Specialists
• APN Program Training Faculty


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• Clinical Educators
• Outreach Educators


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• Physician Medical Directors
• Nursing Directors
• Senior Leaders
• Quality and Safety Officers
• State Quality Improvement Leaders


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• Quality Improvement Specialists
• Health Information Technologists
• Data Managers/Contacts

Plenary Themes

Using the NICU Wisely: New data suggests the number of NICU admissions and length of stay are increasing. We will examine critical transitions and key drivers of NICU admissions and length of stay, discuss how to avoid the overuse/misuse of resources, and learn from pragmatic examples of telemedicine to improve care now and in the future.

Follow-Through: Care Beyond the NICU WallsAs we explore innovative ways to shift the existing paradigm of “follow-up” to “follow-through” across the lifespan, we will learn about the profound impact of social determinants of health on NICU outcomes and address the challenge to invest in the complex care needs of infants beyond the hospital walls.

Artificial Intelligence and YouArtificial intelligence is rapidly changing healthcare. We will examine real-world applications of AI and discuss the promises, perils, and importance of enhancing our humanity in the rapidly approaching future.

The Developing Brain: We will learn how functional MRI provides a window into brain development, discuss the impact of procedural pain on the developing brain, and learn how it is possible to grow cerebral organoids in vitro from stem cells to repair or enhance the developing brain.

Neonatal Care around the WorldDr. Danielle Ehret, VON’s director of global health, will introduce us to three NICUs to learn about challenges and opportunities in very different corners of the world.

Breakout Sessions: A series of focused breakout sessions will include compelling clinical and quality topics, including four distinct learning tracks for clinicians, educators, data collectors, and health system leaders.

QI Science Poster Session

Experience more than 300 evidence-based improvement stories from interdisciplinary teams at this session. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with leading teams from around the world and return to their units with a deeper understanding of the evidence and real-world examples of optimized outcomes.

If you or your team have an improvement story to tell, submit your abstract by June 11, 2018.

Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and abstracts that link to a conference theme may be considered for a podium brief.


Hear from Past Faculty and Attendees


Featured Faculty

Using the NICU Wisely

David Goodman MD, MS
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

DeWayne Pursley MD, MPH
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Follow-Through: Care Beyond the NICU Walls

Andrew Beck MD, MPH
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Yolanda Ogbolu
University of Maryland

Artificial Intelligence and You

Max Tegmark PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Peter Kim MD, CM, PhD
Children’s National Medical Center

James Gray MD, MS
Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth

The Developing Brain

Ruth Grunau PhD, RPsych
University of British Columbia

Abed A. Mansour PhD
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies