50 experts leading the field of patient safety | 2016

Becker's Healthcare is pleased to release the 2016 edition of its list of "50 Experts Leading the Field of Patient Safety."

This year's list features clinicians, advocates and legislators who have contributed to improving patient safety in different ways — some lead influential government agencies or organizations focused on the issue, some edit prominent journals or write extensively on the topic, and others champion successful safety initiatives at their hospitals or health systems.

Becker's Healthcare selected experts based on editorial research and discretion. Nominations were also considered when making selections for this list.

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


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David W. Baker, MD. Inaugural Editor-in-Chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. In addition to his editor-in-chief role, Dr. Baker is the executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at the Joint Commission, where he monitors the development of healthcare quality evaluation tools. [READ MORE] 

David J. Ballard, MD, PhD. Chief Quality Officer for Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas) and President of the STEEEP Global Institute. After completing degrees in chemistry, economics, epidemiology and medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Dr. Ballard trained at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.[READ MORE]

Carol Barsky, MD. Vice President, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer of Hackensack (N.J.) University Health Network. Dr. Barsky took on her current role in July 2015, joining HackensackUHN from Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital, where she was medical director for clinical performance and associate chief of patient safety and quality. [READ MORE]

David Westfall Bates, MD. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Patient Safety. Dr. Bates is not only the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Patient Safety, he is also the chief innovation officer of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. [READ MORE] 

Don Berwick, MD. President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Dr. Berwick is a former administrator of CMS and chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. [READ MORE] 

Leah Binder. CEO of Leapfrog Group. Ms. Binder has been the CEO of the Leapfrog Group since 2008. Leapfrog is a national nonprofit dedicated to the improvement of healthcare quality, affordability and patient safety in hospitals. [READ MORE] 

Pascale Carayon, PhD. Proctor & Gamble Bascon Professor in Total Quality, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her role as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Carayon directs the university's Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement. [READ MORE] 

Mark R. Chassin, MD. President and CEO of the Joint Commission. In his role at the Joint Commission, Dr. Chassin monitors the activities of the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting organization in healthcare. Dr. Chassin practiced emergency medicine for 12 years. [READ MORE] 

Michael R. Cohen, RPh. President of The Institute for Safe Medication Practices. In addition to his role as president of the ISMP, an organization dedicated to the investigation of medication error causation and the creation of error-reduction strategies, Dr. Cohen serves as the co-editor of the ISMP Medication Safety Alert! [READ MORE] 

Patrick Conway, MD. Deputy Administrator for Innovation & Quality, CMS Chief Medical Officer. The offices led by Dr. Conway are responsible for all quality measures for CMS. [READ MORE]

Sara Cosgrove, MD. President-Elect of Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. In addition to her position at SHEA, Dr. Cosgrove serves as the director of the antimicrobial stewardship program and the associate hospital epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. [READ MORE] 

Helen Darling. Interim President and CEO of the National Quality Forum. Ms. Darling's career has been centered on finding pragmatic solutions to the problems created by rapidly increasing healthcare costs. [READ MORE] 

Susan A. Dolan, RN. President of Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. In addition to her role as APIC president, Ms. Dolan is the hospital epidemiologist at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora. [READ MORE] 

Tom Frieden, MD. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Frieden was named director of the CDC in 2009 by President Barack Obama. [READ MORE] 

Karen Frush, MD. Vice President of Quality of LifePoint Health (Brentwood, Tenn.). Dr. Frush graduated summa cum laude from University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in 1981, and from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., in 1986. [READ MORE] 

Tejal K. Gandhi, MD. President and CEO of the National Patient Safety Foundation. Before leading the NPSF, Dr. Gandhi was the executive director of quality and safety at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston for 10 years. [READ MORE] 

Atul Gawande, MD.Dr. Gawande is a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston. [READ MORE]

Mark Graber, MD. Senior Fellow in the Healthcare Quality and Outcomes Program for RTI International. Dr. Graber is a national leader in patient safety and the originator ofPatient Safety Awareness Week, which began in 2003 and is now recognized internationally. [READ MORE]

Katherine Grichnik, MD. Vice President of Quality and Safety at MEDNAX. MEDNAX is one of the largest medical groups in the country, and Dr. Grichnik plays a critical role in directing the group's programs for quality and safety for all of the physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers in MEDNAX practices across the nation. [READ MORE]

Linda Groah, MSN, RN. Executive Director and CEO of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. Ms. Groah has dedicated her career to perioperative nursing practice, education and executive management. [READ MORE]

Hitinder Gurm, MD. Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Dr. Gurm was recently awarded the Michigan Health & Hospital Association Keystone Center Patient Safety & Quality Leadership Award for his role directing the Blue Cross Blue Shield Cardiovascular Consortium–Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Collaborative Quality Initiative. [READ MORE] 

Helen Haskell, MA. President of Mothers Against Medical Error. Ms. Haskell founded Mothers Against Medical Error in 2000 after a medical error contributed to the death of her son. [READ MORE]

Ann Hendrich, PhD, RN. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality/Safety and Nursing Officer of Ascension Health (St. Louis). In her role at Ascension, Dr. Hendrich guides the implementation of clinical excellence initiatives for one of the largest nursing operations in the country. [READ MORE]

Mark Jarrett, MD. Senior Vice President of Clinical Excellence and Chief Quality Officer of Northwell Health (Great Neck, N.Y.). Dr. Jarrett is responsible for systemwide initiatives in quality and safety at Northwell Health, one of the largest hospital systems in the New York metropolitan area. [READ MORE]

Brian Kaminski, DO. Vice President of Patient Safety and Quality and Patient Safety Officer at ProMedica (Toledo, Ohio). Dr. Kaminski is in his third year of leading an initiative at ProMedica dedicated to implementing high reliability organizational standards across the system's 12 acute care facilities. [READ MORE]

Joe Kiani. Founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation. As the founder of Masimo Corporation, a global medical technology innovator credited with revolutionizing noninvasive patient monitoring, Mr. Kiani has been at the forefront of patient safety and innovation for more than 20 years. [READ MORE]

Clifford Y. Ko, MD. Director of American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. In his role at the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Ko oversees all the quality improvement programs, including the Bariatric Surgery Accreditation Program, the Cancer Accreditation program and the Trauma Verification program among others. [READ MORE] 

Richard Kronick, PhD. Former Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Kronick originally joined the HHS in January 2010 as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, overseeing the Office of Health Policy. [READ MORE]

Stephen Lawless, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Nemours Children's Health System (Jacksonville, Fla.). Dr. Lawless is a pediatric physician and a professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in addition to his role at Nemours, a system with locations in Florida, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. [READ MORE]

Lucian Leape, MD. Physician and Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The first portion of Dr. Leape's career was centered on pediatric surgery — he was instrumental in the founding of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. [READ MORE]

Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD. President and CEO of ECRI Institute. Dr. Lerner has been the CEO of ECRI — the largest independent nonprofit healthcare technology assessment institute that is focused on improving patient care — since 2001. [READ MORE] 

Rachel Levine, MD. Chair of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. As the physician general of Pennsylvania, Dr. Levine heads up the safety authority and advises the governor on public health matters and policy. [READ MORE]

Helen Macfie, PharmD. Chief Transformation Officer of MemorialCare Health System (Fountain Valley, Calif.). In her role at MemorialCare, a six-hospital health system serving Southern California, Dr. Macfie is responsible for leading systemwide transformation and improvement in the system's clinical quality, patient safety and risk management areas. [READ MORE] 

Julie Marhalik-Helms, BSN, RN. Senior Director of Quality Improvement of North American Partners in Anesthesia (Melville, N.Y.). Ms. Marhalik-Helms is a registered nurse with 18 years of hospital experience. [READ MORE]

Ken Maxik. Director of Patient Safety and Pharmacy Compliance of CompleteRx (Houston). Mr. Maxik has worked with hospitals for more than 20 years on patient safety and compliance. [READ MORE] 

Lisa McGiffert. Director of Consumers Union's Safe Patient Project. Ms. McGiffert has been a resolute advocate for patient safety. [READ MORE]

James Merlino, MD. President and CMO of Chief Strategic Consulting for Press Ganey. As a surgeon with more than two decades of healthcare experience, Dr. Merlino served as chief experience officer and associate chief of staff at the Cleveland Clinic prior to joining Press Ganey. [READ MORE]

Elizabeth A. Mort, MD. Senior Vice President for Quality andSafety at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston). After completing her residency in primary care internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Mort participated in a two-year fellowship at Boston-based Harvard Medical School's department of healthcare policy. [READ MORE]

Brigitta Mueller, MD. Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief PatientSafetyOfficerat All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Prior to joining All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2013, Dr. Mueller was a faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and division director for clinical, operations, quality and safety for the Texas Children's Hospital cancer and hematology centers. [READ MORE]

Patty Murray. Senator from Washington State. Sen. Murray is the first female senator from Washington and has placed a major focus on healthcare-related initiatives. [READ MORE]

Margaret E. O'Kane. President of National Committee for Quality Assurance. Ms. O'Kane received the distinguished alumnus award from Johns Hopkins University, where she received her master's degree in health administration and planning. [READ MORE]

Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD. Director of the Armstrong Institute forPatientSafety and Quality. In addition to his role at the Armstrong Institute, Dr. Pronovost is the senior vice president for patient safety and quality for Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine. [READ MORE]

Gina Pugliese RN. Vice President of PremierSafetyInstitute. In addition to her role as vice president of Premier Safety Institute, Ms. Pugliese is an associate faculty member of the Rush University College of Nursing and an adjunct faculty member of the University of Illinois School of Public Health, both in Chicago. [READ MORE]

Selwyn Rogers, MD. Vice President and CMO of University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston). Prior to joining the University of Texas Medical Branch, Dr. Rogers was professor and chairman of surgery at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and division chief for trauma, burns and surgical care at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. [READ MORE]

Kaveh G. Shojania, MD. Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Quality &Safety. Dr. Shojania has been editor-in-chief of BMJ Quality & Safety since January 2011. [READ MORE]

Andy Slavitt. Acting Administrator of CMS. Prior to being named acting administrator of CMS, Mr. Slavitt was the principal deputy administrator of the agency. [READ MORE]

Robert K. Stoelting, MD. President of the AnesthesiaPatientSafety Foundation. In 2003, Dr. Stoelting became the first full-time president of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation. [READ MORE]

Robert M. Wachter, MD. Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine University of California San Francisco. In addition to his faculty appointments with the University of California San Francisco's department of medicine, Dr. Wachter is chief of the division of hospitalist medicine. [READ MORE]

Stephen Weber, MD. Vice President of Clinical Effectiveness and CMO of University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Weber holds a faculty appointment with the University of Chicago Medicine's infectious diseases and global health department, in addition to his administrative roles. [READ MORE]

Ronald Wyatt, MD. PatientSafetyOfficerof the Joint Commission. In his current role, Dr. Wyatt works to promote quality improvement and patient safety in health systems and expand the role of the commission in public policy. [READ MORE]

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