50 experts leading the field of patient safety | 2017

Becker's Hospital Review is pleased to release the 2017 edition of its list of "50 experts leading the field of patient safety."

The professionals included on this list are prominent advocates for patient safety. They include clinicians, advocacy group leaders, professors, researchers, administrators and healthcare providers who have received awards, published articles and led initiatives to facilitate the reduction of patient harm in the healthcare setting.

The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team selected patient safety leaders for inclusion on this list based on nominations, current leadership positions, and an examination of pertinent awards, publications and various achievements in the field of patient safety. Nominations were also considered during the selection process.

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 Director of Patient Safety Research at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (New York City). Prior to his current role, Dr. Adelman served as the patient safety officer for Bronx, N.Y.-based Montefiore Health System from 2003 to 2015. [READ MORE] 

David W. Baker, MD. Executive Vice President, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.)In addition to his role as editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, Dr. Baker serves as the executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission. [READ MORE] 

David J. Ballard, MD, PhD. Chief Quality Officer of Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas) and President of the STEEEP Global Institute. Dr. Ballard formerly served as the chief quality officer of Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System from 1999 to 2013, until Baylor merged with Scott & White in 2013 and he took on his current role. [READ MORE] 

Carol Barsky, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of Hackensack (N.J.) Meridian Health. Prior to joining Hackensack Meridian Health in July 2015, Dr. Barsky served as the medical director for clinical performance and associate chief of patient safety and quality for Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital. [READ MORE] 

David Westfall Bates, MD. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Patient Safety. Dr. Bates is a practicing general internist who also serves as the senior vice president and chief innovation officer of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. [READ MORE] 

Don Berwick, MD. President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Dr. Berwick founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in 1991 and served as its president and CEO for nearly 20 years. [READ MORE] 

Leah Binder. President and CEO of Leapfrog Group (Washington, D.C.). Under Ms. Binder's leadership, The Leapfrog Group launched the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade to assess patient safety at hospitals across the country. [READ MORE] 

Pascale Carayon, PhD. Proctor & Gamble Bascom Professor in Total Quality, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her professorship role at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,Dr. Carayon heads the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement within the university's College of Engineering and serves as co-editor-in-chief of the journal Applied Ergonomics. [READ MORE] 

Mark R. Chassin, MD. President and CEO of The Joint Commission (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.). Dr. Chassin is the president and CEO of The Joint Commission as well as president of The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, which collaborates with hospitals and health systems across the country to address critical safety and quality issues like healthcare-associated infections, hand-off communications and wrong-site surgeries. [READ MORE] 

Michael R. Cohen, RPh. President of The Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Along with his role at ISMP, Dr. Cohen serves as co-editor of the ISMP Medication Safety Alert! newsletter, which reaches more than 2 million health professionals and consumers in the U.S. [READ MORE] 

Jan Compton, BSN, RN. Chief Patient Safety Officer of Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas). In her role at Baylor Scott & White Health, Ms. Compton oversees the development and implementation of evidence-based safety practices aimed at reducing inpatient mortality rates. [READ MORE] 

Patrick Conway, MD. Deputy Administrator for Innovation & Quality and CMO of CMS. In his role at CMS, Dr. Conway manages the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, which develops quality measures for all of CMS' programs and clinical standards, and heads the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. [READ MORE] 

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

Jack Cox, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of Providence St. Joseph Health (Renton, Wash.) and Senior Vice President and CMO of St. Joseph Health (Irvine, Calif.). Prior to joining St. Joseph Health in 2015, Dr. Cox served as the senior vice president and chief quality officer for Newport Beach, Calif.-based Hoag Hospital. [READ MORE] 

Cathy E. Duquette, PhD, RN. Executive Vice President of Nursing Affairs of Lifespan (Providence, R.I.). Before stepping into her current role at Lifespan, Dr. Duquette served as the vice president of nursing and patient care services and CNO of Newport (R.I.) Hospital for five years and chief quality officer and senior vice president of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence for three years. [READ MORE] 

Terry Fairbanks, MD. Associate Director of MedStar Health Institute for Innovation (Columbia, Md.). In his current role as associate director, Dr. Fairbanks oversees the MedStar Health Institute for Innovation's National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and the Simulation Training & Education Laboratory, which aim to improve the quality and safety of healthcare through research and innovation. [READ MORE] 

Derek Feeley. CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Mr. Feeley served as the executive vice president of IHI from 2013 to 2015 before stepping into his current role as CEO. [READ MORE] 

Karen Frush, MD. Chief Patient Safety Officer of Duke University Health System (Durham, N.C.) and Vice President, Quality of LifePoint Health (Brentwood, Tenn.). Dr. Frush serves as LifePoint Health's vice president of quality and chief patient safety officer of Duke University Health System, a position she took over in 2004 after completing the National Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship program. [READ MORE] 

Tejal K. Gandhi, MD. President and CEO of the National Patient Safety Foundation. Dr. Gandhi is currently the president and CEO of the National Patient Safety Foundation, which is merging with the Institute for Healthcare effective May 1. [READ MORE] 

Atul Gawande, MD. Author and Endocrinologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston). Dr. Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and teaches at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. [READ MORE] 

Mark Graber, MD. Senior Fellow in the Healthcare Quality and Outcomes Program for RTI International. Dr. Graber is the senior fellow in the Healthcare Quality and Outcomes Program for RTI International and serves as president of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, which he founded in 2011. [READ MORE] 

Linda Groah, MSN, RN. Executive Director and CEO of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. Prior to joining AORN in 2007, Ms. Groah served as the COO of Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco, where she implemented numerous patient safety initiatives, including the "Just Culture" concept, which became a national healthcare standard. [READ MORE] 

Hitinder Gurm, MD. Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center (Ann Arbor). Dr. Gurm serves as the associate chief of cardiovascular medicine for VA Ann Arbor Health System and the associate chief for the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan Health System. [READ MORE] 

Helen Haskell. President of Mothers Against Medical Error. Ms. Haskell has sought to improve patient safety and quality after her son, Lewis, died from a medical error in 2000. [READ MORE]

Ann Hendrich, PhD, RN. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality/Safety and Nursing Officer of Ascension Health (St. Louis). In addition to her executive roles at Ascension Health, Dr. Hendrich serves as the executive director of the health system's Patient Safety Organization, where she oversees the implementation of clinical excellence and patient safety initiatives at all of Ascension's healthcare facilities across 24 states. [READ MORE] 

Mark Jarrett, MD. Senior Vice President of Clinical Excellence and Chief Quality Officer of Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.). In his position at Northwell Health, Dr. Jarrett is charged with the responsibility of conducting systemwide initiatives in quality and safety at one of the largest hospital systems in the New York metro area. [READ MORE]

Brian Kaminski, DO. Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety and Patient Safety Officer at ProMedica (Toledo, Ohio). Dr. Kaminski was appointed to his role at ProMedica in 2013. [READ MORE]

Joe Kiani. Founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation.  Mr. Kiani founded PSMF in 2013 for the purpose of eliminating preventable patient deaths by 2020. [READ MORE]

Clifford Y. Ko, MD. Director of American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. As the director of American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, Dr. Ko oversees all the organization's quality improvement programs, including the cancer accreditation program and the trauma verification program. [READ MORE]

Stephen Lawless, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Nemours Children's Health System (Jacksonville, Fla.). In addition to overseeing quality and safety across the Nemours Children's Health System, Dr. Lawless is a board-certified pediatric physician and a professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. [READ MORE]

Lucian Leape, MD. Physician and Adjunct Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston). Dr. Leape became an innovator in health policy after spending more than two decades working in pediatric surgery. [READ MORE]

Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD. President and CEO of ECRI Institute. Prior to assuming the role of CEO at the ECRI Institute, Dr. Lerner held the position of vice president for strategic planning for 17 years. [READ MORE]

Helen Macfie, PharmD. Chief Transformation Officer of MemorialCare Health System (Fountain Valley, Calif.). In her role as chief transformation officer of MemorialCare, Dr. Macfie oversees systemwide clinical quality and patient safety improvement initiatives across a nonprofit health system with five hospitals and more than 200 care locations. [READ MORE]

Julie Marhalik-Helms, BSN, RN. Senior Director of Quality Improvement of North American Partners in Anesthesia (Melville, N.Y.). In her role at NAPA, which provides anesthesia services to more than 200 clinical sites, Ms. Marhalik-Helms is responsible for the patient safety and quality program. [READ MORE]

Ken Maxik. Director of Patient Safety of CompleteRx (Houston). Mr. Maxik has held his current position with CompleteRx — a hospital pharmacy management and patient care company — since 2006. [READ MORE]

David Mayer, MD. Vice President of Quality and Safety at MedStar Health (Columbia, Md.). Dr. Mayer is responsible for overseeing clinical quality and directing the patient safety and risk reduction programs at MedStar Health, a 10-hospital health system. [READ MORE]

Lisa McGiffert. Director of Consumers Union's Safe Patient Project. Ms. McGiffert joined Consumer Unions in 1991 where she began working on Texas health issues including care access, health system reform, physician and hospital regulation and measuring quality of care. [READ MORE]

James Merlino, MD. President and CMO of Chief Strategic Consulting for Press Ganey (South Bend, Ind.) Dr. Merlino brings more than 20 years of healthcare experience to his position at Press Ganey where he leads a consultancy team that works to aid providers in improving the delivery of safe care in a patient-centered environment. [READ MORE]

Rustin Morse, MD. Vice President of Quality at Children's Health (Dallas). In his current role, Dr. Morse works to improve patient safety and quality at Children's Health where he practices as an emergency medicine physician. [READ MORE]

Elizabeth A. Mort, MD. Senior Vice President for Quality and Safety and Chief Quality Officer of Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston). Prior to joining Massachusetts General, Dr. Mort served on the American Hospital Association's panel on healthcare-acquired conditions, was a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance's Women's Health Management Advisory Panel and the National Quality Foundation Steering Committee for Additional Priorities for Acute Hospital Quality Measures. [READ MORE]

Brigitta Mueller, MD. Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Patient Safety Officer of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Dr. Mueller assumed her role at All Children's Hospital in 2013 and became a member of the core faculty at the influential Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Baltimore in 2014. [READ MORE]

Patty Murray. Senior U.S. Senator from Washington. First elected in 1992, Ms. Murray, a Democrat, became the first female Senator from Washington. She has placed significant focus on healthcare-associated initiatives in her time as a legislator. [READ MORE]

Margaret E. O'Kane. President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Ms. O'Kane founded the National Committee for Quality Assurance in 1990 and currently serves as the organization's president.[READ MORE]

Barbara Pelletreau. Senior Vice President of Patient Safety at Dignity Health (San Francisco). Ms. Pelletreau has been with Dignity Health for more than 14 years and in her current role is responsible for implementing consistent, evidence-based practices in high-risk clinical areas across a 39-hospital health system. [READ MORE]

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

Anne Schuchat, MD. Acting Director of the CDC. Dr. Schuchat began her career in public health in 1988 as an epidemic intelligence service officer with the CDC. [READ MORE]

Joan Silver. Vice President of Organizational Quality and Performance Improvement at PinnacleHealth (Harrisburg, Pa.). Ms. Silver has been with PinnacleHealth since 1984. [READ MORE]

Robert M. Wachter, MD. Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Wachter has published more than 200 articles and six books on the topics of healthcare quality, safety and health policy. [READ MORE]

Stephen Weber, MD. Vice President of Clinical Effectiveness and CMO of University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Weber is the author of numerous studies on the prevention and management of healthcare-associated infections, primarily those caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens. [READ MORE]

Ronald Wyatt, MD. Patient Safety Officer of The Joint Commission. As the first-ever patient safety officer of The Joint Commission, Dr. Wyatt promotes quality improvement and patient safety initiatives in health systems and works to expand the influence of the organization in public policy. [READ MORE]

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