26 patient safety experts to know | 2022

Becker's Healthcare is thrilled to reveal the 2022 edition of its list, "26 patients safety experts to know."

The professionals included on this list are prominent advocates for patient safety. They are clinicians, researchers and experts who focus on improving healthcare for large populations. Many honorees have received industry awards, published articles and led initiatives to facilitate the reduction of patient harm in the healthcare setting.

We accepted nominations for this list. Click here to view the 2023 nominations. For questions or comments, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com

Note: Leaders are presented in alphabetical order and could not pay for inclusion.

Jason Adelman, MD. Chief Patient Safety Officer, Associate Chief Quality Officer, and Executive Director of Patient Safety Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian (New York City). Dr. Adelman has a large number of responsibilities that range from leading a team of quality and patient safety specialists in inpatient safety initiatives to leading the NIH and AHRQ-funded Center for Patient Safety Research At Columbia University. Furthermore, as vice chair for quality and patient safety for the department of medicine at Columbia University, Dr. Adelman oversees the patient safety operations, research and education for the department. He is a national leader and innovator in the field of medical errors and has been at the forefront of developing novel methods to measure and prevent errors in health information technology systems.

Rebecca Armbruster, DO. Chief Medical Officer of Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus; Associate Chief Medical Officer, Patient Safety, Temple University Health System; Patient Safety Officer, Temple University Hospital at Temple University Health System (Philadelphia). Dr. Armbruster oversees the medical operations at the Jeanes Campus, supports the safe movement on to, off of, and through the campus facilities, ensures high-quality care delivery to patients and works to ensure a satisfactory experience of care for all patients. Under her guidance, the Temple University Health System has implemented a systemwide series of hand-washing initiatives, hospital-associated infection reduction processes, and monitoring tools for identifying risks to our patients in real time. She has played a key role in fulfilling the system’s commitment to patient safety.

Kevin M. Bush Jr., EdD. Enterprise Director of Shared Surgical Services for Emory Healthcare (Atlanta). Dr. Bush oversees the development of philosophy, goals and objectives for perioperative support processing services across the Emory Healthcare system. He is board certified in human resources, patient safety, healthcare risk management, and healthcare quality. In his past year at Emory, he has improved recruitment and retention, successfully led five TJC accreditation surveys, and developed a training and certification program for sterile processing technicians.

Diana Breyer, MD. Chief Quality Analytics Officer for UCHealth; Chief Medical Officer for UCHealth Northern Colorado (Aurora, Colo.). Dr. Breyer works closely with data analysts and care teams to identify opportunities to improve care, reduce clinical variations, create processes to address those opportunities and monitor those processes to ensure care and outcomes are improved. Data collection and analysis are the keys to providing higher quality, more efficient, more effective and safer healthcare, Dr. Breyer stresses. Getting that data in front of the providers and care teams is what helps move the conversation toward better care. She was instrumental in UCHealth’s adjustment to the pandemic and had a meaningful impact on the safety of patients, providers and staff.

Jan Compton, BSN, RN. Vice President of Patient Safety and Chief Patient Safety Officer of Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas). Ms. Compton has more than three decades of nursing experience at Baylor Scott & White and has held increasingly higher patient safety leadership roles at the system since 2008. She was named chief patient safety officer in 2014 and currently oversees all safety initiatives for the system's 50 hospitals and more than 800 care sites. Ms. Compton is also a member of the North Texas Association for Healthcare Quality and a member and past chair of the patient safety and quality committee for the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

Rollin J. "Terry" Fairbanks, MD. Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer at MedStar Health (Columbia, Md.). Dr. Fairbanks is vice president and chief quality and safety officer for MedStar Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the Washington DC and Baltimore region with 10 hospitals, 300 outpatient sites, 31,000 employees, and $6.5 billion annual revenue. As a member of MedStar Health's leadership team, Dr. Fairbanks is responsible for the quality, safety and infection prevention of the health system. He not only challenges the healthcare industry to think differently about its approach to safety, but he developed substantial tools that allow his organization to operationalize these concepts.

Tejal Gandhi. Chief Safety and Transformation Officer at Press Ganey (Sound Bend, Ind.). Dr. Gandhi develops innovative health transformation strategies that improve patient and workforce safety for client healthcare organizations. She serves as executive sponsor of Safety 2025: Accelerate to Zero, a program that challenges health organizations to commit to safety improvement goals and safety as a core value and to cultivate a culture of transparency. Dr. Gandhi is an international leader in patient safety with over 100 peer-review publications as well as local and national leadership roles in the field.

Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR. Executive Director and CEO of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (Denver). Ms. Groah has helmed the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses since 2007. She is a veteran perioperative nursing executive, previously serving as COO of Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco and nurse executive for Kaiser Foundation Hospital-San Francisco. Ms. Groah also was director of nursing OR-PACU-Surgery Center at the University of California San Francisco Hospitals and Clinics and operating room director at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon.

Bruce Hall, MD, PhD. Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of BJC HealthCare (St. Louis). Dr. Hall leads the Clinical Advisory Group for the BJC Center for Clinical Excellence in addition to his other roles at BJC HealthCare. His responsibilities include physician engagement strategies as well as health system efforts to successfully participate in alternative payment and episode reimbursement. Dr. Hall is also a professor of surgery in the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and serves as a guest lecturer for Washington University's Olin Business School in St. Louis.

Theresa Harris, JD. Vice President of Patient Safety and High Reliability at Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.). Ms. Harris leverages decades of experience in health care and law to oversee and manage the network's resources related to Patient Safety and High-Reliability training. She promotes a culture of safety and ensures the systematic impregnation of an effective Patient Safety Plan. She is an essential leader in improving the patient safety standards at Hackensack Meridian Health.

Mark Jarrett, MD. Senior Vice President, Chief Quality Officer and Deputy CMO at Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.). As chief quality officer and deputy CMO of Northwell Health, Dr. Jarrett oversees care quality and patient safety initiatives across 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient facilities. Under his leadership, Northwell piloted the use of black-box technology in its operating rooms to collect more information during surgeries — an industry first. In addition to his administrative roles at Northwell, he is a professor of medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead, N.Y.

Leslie Jurecko, MD. Chief Safety, Quality, and Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland). Dr. Jurecko is responsible for the development and execution of Cleveland Clinic's enterprise safety, quality and experience strategy. Her focus is mainly centered on aligning and focusing the various areas of the Cleveland Clinic enterprise to achieve the safest, highest quality, most compassionate care. Dr. Jurecko and her team have helped guide decisions around visitation and infection prevention throughout the pandemic. She also led the execution of "Stand Up for Safety," an event where all operating rooms across Cleveland Clinic paused operations to recommit to reliable processes and a culture of safety.

Mona Krouss. Senior Director and System Patient Safety Officer at NYC Health+Hospitals (New York City). Dr. Krouss, leads systemwide patient safety strategy including the patient safety council composed of facility-based patient safety officers and patient safety associates, three to five prioritized patient safety projects per year, and supporting the facilities in an additional three to five patient safety projects. She has revamped the patient safety infrastructure across NYC Health+Hospitals, bringing patient safety back to the forefront of our 42,000-plus staff. Through the patient safety infrastructure, multiple patient safety-oriented projects have been completed including patient ID, debriefing, telemetry guidelines, CLABSI reduction and anticoagulation safety.

Josh Lumbley MD. Chief Quality Officer at NorthStar Anesthesia (Irving, Texas/ Washington D.C.). As national chief quality officer, Dr. Lumbley is responsible for ensuring that NorthStar Anesthesia delivers best-in-class quality outcomes for its patients, nationwide. Under Dr. Lumbley’s leadership, in 2020 96 percent of NorthStar’s clinical sites received an "Exceptional Performance Payment Adjustment" score under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He combines a passion for lifelong learning, data-driven decision making and strategic leadership to improve clinical performance and elevate physician wellness at NorthStar.

Missam Merchant. Hospital Supervisor at University Health (San Antonio). Ms. Merchant looks at systems issues and trends at a high level and is able to put committees in place and connect people to improve processes to prevent safety issues from occurring. She served as a partner with the administration to safely assign patients rooms during COVID-19 surges. She is also a proactive force in catching communication breakdowns between units before they become safety hazards.

James Merlino, MD. Chief Clinical Transformation Officer of Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Merlino became the first chief transformation officer of Cleveland Clinic in December 2019. In his role at Cleveland Clinic, he oversees the offices of patient experience, enterprise quality and safety and continuous improvement. Before joining the organization, he was chief transformation officer at Press Ganey, where he spearheaded a new organizational strategy to widen the definition of patient experience to include safe, high-quality and patient-centered care built on an engaged and aligned healthcare culture.

Jordan Messler. Chief Medical Officer at Glytec (Waltham, Mass.). Dr. Messler is responsible for spearheading continuous improvement initiatives for Glytec’s clinical strategy and product development while supporting the delivery, customer, quality and regulatory teams to ensure ethical and safe glycemic management best practices. He has given more than 30 national and regional talks on the history of hospitals, teamwork in the hospital, engaging hospitalists in quality improvement and more.

Chantel Moffett. Director of Quality, Patient Safety, and Accreditation at LCMC Health (New Orleans). Ms. Moffett is responsible for NOEH’s Quality and Performance Improvement program by ensuring compliance with existing regulations, standards, policies and procedures. Despite assuming her role under an unexpected transition in leadership, she led the organization’s quality efforts with confidence and poise, which ultimately resulted in successful CMS and The Joint Commission surveys.

David Nash, MD. Founding Dean Emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health (Philadelphia). Dr. Nash is internationally recognized for his efforts in physician leadership development, care quality improvement and public accountability for outcomes. An internist by training, he is a principal faculty member for quality-of-care programming with the American Association for Physician Leadership. Dr. Nash has also authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles, edited 25 books and is currently the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Medical Quality, Population Health Management and American Health and Drug Benefits.

Arun Patel. Director of Patient Safety and Clinical Risk Management at Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (Los Angeles). Dr. Patel is responsible for patient safety and risk management for the second-largest public health system in the United States. He has made a large impact on the safety and quality of care for vulnerable populations. He has established multiple systems to ensure better patient safety including executive peer review and a systemwide patient safety program.

Peter Pronovost. Chief Quality and Clinical Transformation Officer at University Hospitals (Cleveland). Dr. Pronovost fosters the ideation and implementation of new protocols to eliminate defects and enhance the quality of care. He is a well-published and experienced physician who has led UH to reduce the annual cost per medicare beneficiary by 21 percent while improving quality from 73 percent to 100 percent at the end of 2020. He also lends his expertise to developing framework for population health management and managing the UH ACO network, which has 581,000 members. Dr. Pronovost is a leader for UH's Healthy at Home initiative. Dr. Pronovost has previous experience as senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and spent time as vice president of clinical strategy and chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare. Time Magazine has named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

George Ralls, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Orlando (Fla.) Health. Dr. Ralls spent time as vice president and system chief quality officer of Orlando Health before being named to his current role. He was also chief quality officer for the system's Orlando Regional Medical Center. He previously worked as deputy county administrator and director of health and public safety for Orange County, Fla. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and in 2007, he collaborated with Orlando Health's graduate medical education team to create Florida's first emergency medical services physician fellowship.

Jennifer Schwehm. Assistant Vice President for Quality at Safety for LCMC Health (New Orleans). Ms. Schwehm is responsible for all aspects of quality and safety at the University Medical Center New Orleans, including regulatory compliance and infection prevention. In less than 3 years, she has transformed care delivery at UMCNO, including dramatic reductions in reportable hospital-acquired infections, patient harm events and quality of care. She has restructured the department to better meet modern quality and safety departments as well as implementing processes that ensure patients receive the highest quality, safest and most equitable care possible.

Charleen Tachibana. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality, Safety and Patient Experience Officer at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (Tacoma, Wash.). Dr. Tachibana's responsibilities include strategic and operational accountability for clinical quality, safety and the patient experience for the Pacific Northwest Division of CommonSpirit Health. Dr. Tachibana leads VMFH’s efforts to achieve the health system's quality and safety goals, which are closely aligned with its financial goals. Under her leadership, VMFH hospitals have been ranked among the top in the nation.

Eric Wei. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at New York City Health+Hospitals (New York City). Dr. Wei serves as the senior vice president and chief quality officer in which he oversees the largest municipal healthcare system in the U.S. with over 42,000 staff. He has created a multiprong strategy for transforming quality and safety through fostering a culture of safety, building internal quality improvement capacity, aligning improvement activities with system strategic pillars, and becoming a data-informed organization through a novel data and analytics strategy.

Jennifer L. Wiler, MD. Chief Quality Officer, Metro Region at UCHealth (Aurora, Colo.). Dr. Wiler leads and improves quality and patient safety for the five hospitals that make up UCHealth's metro Denver region. She ensures adherence to the most effective, evidence-based, safe and efficient clinical practices and drives clinical standardization as a means to reduce variability and patient harm. With over 60 peer-reviewed papers, Dr. Wiler is a nationally recognized expert in quality, safety, healthcare operations and payment policy.










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