90 patient safety experts to know | 2024

The individuals featured on this list are staunch advocates for patient harm reduction, disease management and disaster preparedness. These honorees include healthcare providers, researchers and executives who prioritize patient safety above all else.

For these experts, enhancing patient safety is of utmost importance. They are dedicated to continuously finding innovative ways to improve healthcare processes and transform safety standards, ensuring a safer experience for patients.

Note: Becker's Healthcare developed this list based on nominations and editorial research. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it an endorsement of included leaders or associated healthcare providers. Leaders cannot pay for inclusion on this list. Leaders are presented in alphabetical order. We extend a special thank you to Rhoda Weiss for her contributions to this list. 

Contact Anna Falvey at afalvey@beckershealthcare.com with questions or comments.

Jason Adelman, MD. Associate Dean for Quality and Patient Safety and Director of the Center for Patient Safety Science at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (New York City). Dr. Adelman holds several roles at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, including associate dean for quality and patient safety, director of the Center for Patient Safety Science, program director for the patient safety research fellowship, and vice chair for quality and patient safety in the department of medicine. He also leads the EQUIP Center for Learning Health System Science. Across his roles, he leverages health information technology and informatics to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. His groundbreaking work includes the development of the first health IT safety measure endorsed by the National Quality Forum, known as the "Wrong-Patient Retract-and-Reorder" measure. As the founder of the Columbia Center for Patient Safety Science, Dr. Adelman has led trials that have influenced national and international safety protocols, such as distinct newborn identification methods now adopted by major EHR vendors like Epic. His efforts extend to mentoring the next generation of patient safety researchers through the patient safety research fellowship and addressing critical issues like sepsis and medication errors. Dr. Adelman's contributions have earned him prestigious accolades, including the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Lifetime Achievement.

Nicole Alerding, MSN, RN. Director of Performance Improvement and Patient Safety Officer at Roxborough Memorial Hospital (Philadelphia). With 16 years of dedicated service to Roxborough Memorial Hospital, Ms. Alerding is responsible for overseeing patient safety and performance improvement for the entire 131-bed hospital and its outpatient services. Her leadership has been instrumental in achieving multiple grade "A" Leapfrog ratings, reflecting her commitment to high-quality patient care. Known for her dependability and loyalty, Ms. Alerding has dedicated her nursing career to ensuring patients receive the best care possible.

Emily Avery. National Director of Environment of Care and Safety at Medxcel (Indianapolis). In her role, Ms. Avery oversees safety programs across 1,900 healthcare facilities, including over 130 hospitals, ensuring compliance with safety standards and promoting patient wellbeing. Ms. Avery's career experience, spanning nearly three decades, has helped her cultivate expertise in emergency preparedness, risk assessment and regulatory compliance. She is renowned for developing and implementing safety strategies, including ligature risk reduction and fall prevention protocols. Ms. Avery also chairs the environment of care and emergency management hospital committee and has been instrumental in preparing facilities for crises such as Hurricane Irma and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Komal Bajaj, MD. Chief Quality Officer for NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and North Central Bronx (N.Y.). As chief quality officer, Dr. Bajaj leads quality and safety transformations at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and North Central Bronx, serving nearly a million Bronx residents. Overseeing two acute care facilities with more than 700 beds, she drives improvements in clinical performance across outpatient, inpatient, emergency and telehealth services. Dr. Bajaj is an expert in integrating equity with healthcare quality and safety, healthcare environmental sustainability and maternal health diagnostic safety. She merged the quality and safety programs at Jacobi and NCB into a single high-performing entity and introduced "Success Cause Analysis" to enhance psychological safety and staff engagement. Her work, featured in major media and healthcare publications, includes the widely adopted PEARLS Healthcare Debriefing Tool. Dr. Bajaj also mentors emerging leaders and has implemented a decarbonization strategy within the quality assurance plan, achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.

Lalit Bajaj. Chief Quality Officer at Children's Hospital Colorado (Aurora). Dr. Bajaj leads patient safety at Children's Hospital Colorado, while also overseeing the department of clinical effectiveness and diversity, equity and inclusion. He is also one of the primary medical leads on the hospital system’s work with value-based care and outcomes reporting. Dr. Bajaj partners closely with the chief medical officer and chief nursing executive to drive the safest, most effective and most equitable care for patients systemwide. He also works with teams across the enterprise to ensure the prioritization and support of coordinated initiatives to improve outcomes for all patients and families. He led the creation of Children’s Hospital Colorado Health Pavilion, bundling traditional healthcare services with wraparound services, including those that address food, housing and environmental issues. Dr. Bajaj has also dedicated his professional life to integrating research into his approach to medicine. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, he built a research team within the emergency department so that its providers could perform high-quality research and participate in multicenter research networks. He also helped with the initial creation of the Children’s Colorado Research Organization, and then turned his attention toward implementation of research into practice with the creation of the department of clinical effectiveness. 

Mahmoud Bakeer, MD. Assistant Vice President of Orlando (Fla.) Health and Chief Quality Officer for Orlando (Fla.) Health South Lake Hospital. Dr. Bakeer oversees the quality and safety of all hospital programs and services, ensuring high standards of patient care and compliance with regulatory requirements. Under his leadership, Orlando Health South Lake has received numerous accolades, including the U.S. News & World Report high performing hospital rating in maternity care for 2024 and 11 consecutive "A" hospital safety grades from The Leapfrog Group. He has played a pivotal role in developing critical care programs and structured quality departments across Orlando Health, significantly improving patient outcomes and hospital performance. Dr. Bakeer continues to practice as a critical care specialist, maintaining a direct connection to patient care.

Kristi Ball. Vice President of Quality and Patient Experience for Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, S.D.). Ms. Ball has significantly contributed to Sanford Health’s journey towards high reliability since joining the organization in 2021. Her extensive experience and leadership in healthcare operations, combined with her background as a bedside nurse, have contributed to Sanford Health’s recognition as a 5-star hospital by CMS, multiple American Heart Association awards and recognition as one of the World's Best Hospitals in 2024 by Newsweek and Statista. Under her guidance, Sanford Health’s major medical centers have seen improvements in quality ratings with an average increase of 1.5 stars each over the past three years. Ms. Ball's initiatives include expanding huddles for enhanced communication, establishing an enterprise role dedicated to safety and reliability, and launching a daily safety brief for system-level support services. Additionally, she actively fosters collaboration and teamwork both within Sanford Health and in the broader community. She also serves on the board of directors for the National Ski Patrol, showcasing her commitment to safety beyond healthcare.

Leah Binder. President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group (Washington, D.C.). As president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, Ms. Binder serves as a voice for those calling for increased hospital safety and quality. Under her guidance, The Leapfrog Group launched the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which assesses the safety of general hospitals nationwide and presents the information in an easily digestible format. She has also greatly improved the yearly Leapfrog Hospital Survey. 

Joshua A. Bloomstone, MD. Chief Medical Officer at Envision Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.). Dr. Bloomstone provides strategic leadership for Envision Healthcare’s clinical care, ensuring multispecialty teams deliver high-quality, patient-centered care. He oversees the clinician wellness program, removes barriers to mental healthcare and advises on clinical research, innovation and value-based care initiatives. Dr. Bloomstone designed a clinical occurrence database interface and an automated perioperative outcomes eTool, significantly enhancing real-time quality and patient outcomes management. He played a pivotal role in Envision’s Covid-19 perioperative response and standardized perioperative practices across Banner Health, reducing post-surgical complications. His contributions to perioperative medicine, including work on noise reduction tools and goal-directed fluid therapy, have earned him global recognition and several prestigious awards.

Jeffrey Boord, MD. Chief Quality and Safety Officer at Parkview Health (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Dr. Boord has served as Parkview's chief quality and safety officer since 2015. He collaborates closely with leadership teams for each hospital facility and service line on healthcare quality, accreditation, patient and co-worker safety and process improvement. His five major focuses include quality management, accreditation, medical staff services, infection prevention and workplace safety. Dr. Boord worked with the health system board of directors and senior executive leadership to launch a multi-year “Speak Up” initiative, which encourages more frequent and consistent reporting of safety concerns. Multiple improvements in the event reporting process, training, resources and education were implemented, and within the first year, Parkview saw a 62% increase in total safety events reported, far exceeding the initial goal. By 2022, more than 90% of events were being closed within seven days of report and the initial response time dropped as well. Dr. Boord also helped Parkview launch a “Great Catch” program in 2021, an award that recognizes co-workers who reported an incident that led to a change in procedures that make a marked improvement in patient or coworker safety. All in all, by the end of 2022, Parkview had increased its safety event reporting rate from about 1,100 events per month in 2018 to more than 2,400 per month.

Chandra Broadwater. Director of Quality, Patient Safety and Transformation at University of California Irvine Health (Orange, Calif.). Ms. Broadwater leads four synergistic teams dedicated to improving patient safety and quality at UCI Health. Since joining in August 2022, she has transformed the health system’s culture of safety, aiming to build a high-reliability organization and market leader in quality and clinical excellence. Her teams use data-driven insights and best practices to advance patient outcomes. In January 2024, she launched the safety and culture transformation initiative, applying high-reliability practices across new and existing hospitals, including a serious safety event rate metric, high-reliability training, health equity programs, and increased departmental diversity. Ms. Broadwater’s proactive patient safety strategy and innovative approach have earned UCI Health multiple national recognitions. 

Phillip Chang, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Quality Officer of Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston). Mr. Chang has served as the senior vice president and chief medical and quality officer for Memorial Hermann Health System since May 2022. He leads strategic direction and operational management for enterprisewide quality and safety programs. He also allocates resources to support clinical quality and measurable patient safety excellence. He aims to utilize his knowledge to improve patient outcomes and enhance the health of the community. 

Emily Chapman, MD. Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs for Children’s Minnesota (Minneapolis). Dr. Chapman oversees quality, safety, education and research at Children's Minnesota. She speaks locally and regionally about clinical care, cognitive error, leadership and program development. Prior to her current role, Dr. Chapman was a pediatric hospitalist in the Children's Hospital medicine program, which she guided for six years as it developed and expanded. 

Amy Cotton, DNP. Senior Vice President of Quality and Safety at Allegheny Health Network (Pittsburgh). Dr. Cotton is a nurse by trade, joining Allegheny from HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division in Charleston, S.C. She joined the system at the beginning of 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. She was tasked with promoting safe and effective care for AHN’s patients, while protecting the organization’s caregivers, amid an unprecedented public health emergency. She helped the system to implement protocol changes during the pandemic to maintain patient and employee safety alike. 

Cynthia Cuddy, RN. Senior Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety, Clinical and Academic Affairs at Westchester Medical Center Health Network (Valhalla, N.Y.). Ms. Cuddy provides senior executive vision, direction, leadership and administration for all programs related to quality and patient safety initiatives at Westchester. She leads the continuing development of quality infrastructure and ensures that resources are leveraged to maximize support of the network’s 1,700-bed healthcare system, which features nine hospitals on seven campuses. Ms. Cuddy engages clinical and operational stakeholders in a tertiary, quaternary care facility, where more than 50% of patients are transferred from outside hospitals. She also leads proactive patient safety initiatives to create high reliability hospitals, standardized practices, increase staff and physician engagement in safety culture, and reduce patient safety events, hospital acquired conditions and unsafe processes. Under her direction, frontline nursing and medical staff started directly engaging together in documenting and standardizing evidenced-based best practices to approach the complex care required for patients. 

Krista Curell, JD, RN. Executive Vice President and Chief Integration and Transformation Officer at UChicago Medicine. As executive vice president and chief integration officer, Ms. Curell is managing initiatives that will improve patient safety, such as an effort to reduce patient length of stay. She launched a comprehensive clinical documentation improvement program, which resulted in enhanced revenue and performance on quality rankings. She also developed a clinical performance tracking system, allowing physicians to measure compliance across numerous metrics. Ms. Curell’s leadership, especially during the pandemic, has shaped the structures, policies and procedures that will be applied to patient safety in crisis situations and beyond. 

Renee Demski. Executive Vice President of Quality, Patient Safety and Performance Excellence for Rochester (N.Y.) Regional Health. Ms. Demski oversees the Quality and Safety Institute, patient experience and performance excellence initiative across Rochester Regional’s nine hospitals and 557 care delivery sites. Since joining the organization in 2023, she has developed a leadership and governance model for patient safety and quality, and has created and deployed an operating management system to integrate and align patient safety and quality principles to achieve high-quality care. She leads the organization’s focus on eliminating preventable harm, improving patient outcomes and experience, and improving operational efficiency. Under her leadership, the hospital-acquired infection rate dropped by more than 50% systemwide from 2022-23. Ms. Demski is a skilled executive with over 35 years of experience at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Health System, where she held various leadership positions, including vice president of quality. She has been a national and international consultant in high-reliability safety and quality processes and performance.

Sonali Desai, MD. Vice President of Quality and Associate Chief Medical Officer for Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston). Dr. Desaia, a rheumatologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, leads the quality program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, ensuring high-quality, safe and compassionate care. With over a decade in the quality and safety department, she has implemented innovative safety programs that utilize AI and EHRs. Dr. Desai has driven quality initiatives in preventive care, chronic disease management, and health equity, and has developed an ambulatory patient safety infrastructure. Her research, focusing on improving care quality and patient safety, has been published in over 40 peer-reviewed journals. In 2019, she received the Donabedian Award from the American Public Health Association for her work on ambulatory safety nets and diagnostic error reduction.

Ihab Dorrota, MD. Chief of Quality and Patient Safety for Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health. Dr. Dorrota leads Loma Linda University Health's quality and safety programs, directing a 50-member team that follows protocols to minimize errors and improve outcomes. Appointed chief of quality and patient safety in 2017, his focus on root cause analysis and staff engagement has significantly reduced hospital-acquired infections. Dr. Dorrota's emphasis on infection reduction methods and risk monitoring has resulted in LLUH hospitals achieving and maintaining top safety grades from The Leapfrog Group and receiving multiple Leapfrog Top Children's Hospital awards. His use of staff education, process improvement, and high-tech tools has further reduced readmissions and patient complications. Dr. Dorrota is also LLUH’s chief of clinical operations and director of critical care services.

Lisa Esolen, MD. Executive Vice President, Chief Quality Officer at Guthrie (Sayre, Pa.). Dr. Esolen has helped develop Guthrie into a national leader in safety, quality and patient experience. To do so, she has defined next generation patient journeys, created transformational playbooks for quality and safety, improved clinical operations efficiency and developed a platform model for policies and procedures. In doing so, she has been able to create a unified, standardized process across the health system. Her efforts have led to consistent reductions in hospital-acquired infections, bringing them to historically low levels. 

Rollin J. "Terry" Fairbanks, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer at MedStar Health (Columbia, Md.). Dr. Fairbanks is senior 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, 33 outpatient clinics, 300 overall care sites, 33,000 employees, and $7.7 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.

Mohamad Fakih, MD. Chief Quality Officer at Ascension (St. Louis). Dr. Fakih works to improve quality of care at Ascension, with an overarching goal of creating a standardized process to optimize disease management and avert patient harm. Dr. Fakih’s work focuses on identifying and promoting best practices, creating provider implementation processes, and solidifying processes to achieve sustainable results. He has led projects to reduce hospital admissions for patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic renal insufficiency. He also helped to improve diabetes care and improve blood sugar control in African American patients. Dr. Fakih’s work on sepsis has also helped improve outcomes. He has contributed to the creation of a comprehensive toolkit used to promote the appropriate utilization of urinary catheters in the hospital setting, which has been adopted by the Michigan Hospital Association and Ascension, and led to significant reduction in unnecessary catheter use. Recommendations from his research on reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections were adopted in hospitals throughout Ascension and nationally. In addition, he has established a system antimicrobial stewardship structure for Ascension.

Baruch S. Fertel, MD. Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety at NewYork Presbyterian Health System (New York City). As enterprise leader of quality and safety at NewYork-Presbyterian, Dr. Fertel has overseen a restructuring of the system's approach to quality and safety with is a significant, proactive focus on harm prevention. Quality and safety professionals have been localized with central oversight, and bedside rounding and engagement with clinical staff has become the norm. Under his leadership, the quality team serves as trusted partners to the departments and units. Dr. Fertel has overseen numerous initiatives including “Leading with Safety Quality and Experience”, a Safety Culture Refresh, Lessons Learned and the inaugural tripartite NYP Quality in Care Symposium in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia Doctors. Thanks in large part to his leadership, NYP has achieved top tier quality and safety rankings, including 5-star ratings for quality from CMS and a place on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll, among others.

Alison Flynn Gaffney. Healthcare Division President at Jones Lang LaSalle (Chicago). Ms. Flynn Gaffney leads a team of over 2,300 professionals, delivering scalable real estate solutions that enhance patient, caregiver and visitor experiences. Under her leadership, JLL has significantly improved client outcomes through innovative facilities management and proactive safety measures, utilizing advanced technologies like JLL powered by ATG Technology. Ms. Flynn Gaffney's notable achievements include restructuring the healthcare division, securing key renewals, and promoting a culture of safety and transparency. Her work has resulted in a 155% increase in near miss/good catches and a reduction in incidents. Recognized as a Connect CRE Woman in Real Estate and GlobeSt. Influencer in Healthcare in 2023, her leadership continues to drive success and innovation at JLL.

Tejal Gandhi. Chief Safety and Transformation Officer at Press Ganey (South 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, propping up 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.

Jeff Giullian, MD. Chief Medical Officer at DaVita Kidney Care (Denver). Dr. Giullian has pioneered transformative advancements at DaVita Kidney Care through holistic, patient-centered approaches. Responsible for the care of over 250,000 patients, Dr. Giullian has been instrumental in achieving notable milestones, such as DaVita's first-ever 5-star CMS quality rating and the launch of innovative initiatives like Mozarc Medical, aimed at advancing at-home kidney care technologies. His leadership also saw the development of Center Without Walls, a groundbreaking cloud-based platform enhancing data accessibility and patient collaboration across care centers. Dr. Giullian's dedication extends beyond clinical innovation; he actively promotes kidney health awareness through initiatives like DaVita's Health Tour, impacting communities nationwide. His strategic vision and commitment to patient empowerment have cemented his reputation as a leader in nephrology and healthcare innovation.

Darlene Gondrella. Vice President of Quality and Service Excellence at West Jefferson Medical Center (Marrero, La.). Ms. Gondrella, the vice president of quality service excellence for West Jefferson Medical Center, provides clinical expertise in case management, patient safety, social services, performance improvement and accreditation. She integrates performance improvement and quality assurance with infection control activities and develops policies to guide service provision. Ms. Gondrella is actively involved in daily operations, enhancing employee and patient satisfaction through participation in staff meetings and rounds. She leads the hospital's E.X.T.R.A. initiative, aiming for a cultural change to position the hospital as a top 5-star choice in the region. This initiative includes a service excellence council and teams that implement best practices. She also encourages staff engagement through the "DO IT" projects, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and transparent communication of patient satisfaction survey results. 

Carmen Gonzalez, MD. Chief Patient Safety Officer for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston). Dr. Gonzalez leads MD Anderson's patient safety efforts through risk assessment, forging partnerships and creating processes to achieve zero preventable harm. She also serves as a professor in the department of emergency medicine. Her work as chief patient safety officer includes supporting providers and clinical departments, providing oversight of key safety data, engaging key stakeholders and developing processes for improvement. She developed an educational curriculum where there is ongoing training, continued growth and recruitment, and access to training and the tools necessary to support MD Anderson’s core value of safety. 

Linda Groah, MSN, RN. Executive Director and CEO of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (Denver). Ms. Groah has helmed the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses since 2007. The organization aims to uphold patient and staff safety in perioperative nursing care utilizing evidence-based guidelines, continuing education and clinical practice resources. Ms. Groah 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.

Donna Hahn, MSN, RN. Vice President of the Quality, Safety and Patient Experience Division at Geisinger (Danville, Pa.). Ms. Hahn sets the strategic vision for Geisinger’s quality, patient safety, risk, infection prevention and patient experience programs. She is accountable for the implementation and outcomes of these programs across the 10-hospital system and network of more than 130 outpatient clinics. Ms. Hahn leveraged an unconventional risk arrangement with a national vendor to optimize quality improvement, enhancing the typical hospital value-based purchasing program. Together, they created a mutually beneficial risk-share partnership that aligns incentives, reduces waste, ensures a cost-efficient relationship and improves patient outcomes. As part of the partnership development, Geisinger moved from a reactive model to continuous process improvement, leveraging vendor relationships through transparent communication aimed at improving patient outcomes. Unique partnerships, combined with a multidisciplinary approach to patient safety, have reduced hospital-acquired infections and central-line associated bloodstream infection rates, resulting in improvements in Leapfrog hospital safety grades and the system's overall culture of safety.

Bruce Hall, MD, PhD. Vice President and System Chief Medical Officer of BJC HealthCare (St. Louis). Dr. Hall, in addition to serving as vice president and system CMO for BJC HealthCare, leads the Clinical Advisory Group for the BJC Center for Clinical Excellence. 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.

Stephanie Hall, MD. Chief Medical Officer for Keck Hospital at USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital (Los Angeles). In her role as chief medical officer, Dr. Hall oversees clinical initiatives and ensures the delivery of safe, high-quality care. Her leadership has been instrumental in achieving notable recognitions, including Keck Hospital's first-ever 5-star CMS quality rating and multiple Vizient top performer Awards. Under her direction, USC Norris Cancer Hospital has consistently earned Leapfrog's Top Teaching Hospital designation. Dr. Hall's strategic oversight also led to significant financial achievements, securing $5.9 million through CMS programs and enhancing compliance with sepsis and quality improvement initiatives. Recognized as a Top Women Leader in Healthcare and Women of Influence by The Los Angeles Business Journal, Dr. Hall's career has included impactful roles in emergency medicine, faculty positions, and leadership at LAC +USC Medical Center.

Theresa Harris, BSN, RN. Vice President of Patient Safety and High Reliability at Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.). With extensive experience in healthcare and law, Ms. Harris oversees the implementation of patient safety programs across the network, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability. Ms. Harris has been instrumental in developing the patient safety program at the organization, contributing to high-reliability and significant performance improvements. She previously served as director of patient safety at MCIC Vermont, and has a robust background as a medical malpractice attorney and ICU nurse. She is also an assistant professor at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

John Heaton, MD. President and Chief Medical Officer at LCMC Health (New Orleans). A passionate advocate for patient safety and the quality of care delivery systems, Dr. Heaton manages a variety of clinical and operational areas at LCMC. He is a longstanding clinical faculty member at both LSU and Tulane medical schools and is also a staunch supporter of Children’s Hospital and the entire LCMC Health family. He works to uphold the hospital’s reputation as the top site for pediatric clinical education in Louisiana. Prior to assuming his system-level leadership role, he was senior vice president and chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital. He first joined the medical staff at Children’s Hospital in 2000 as the director of anesthesiology.

Kathy Helak, MSN. Assistant Vice President for Patient Safety at Inova (Falls Church, Va.). Ms. Helak brings over 25 years of expertise in quality and patient safety to her role at Inova. She has advanced high-reliability and created a robust culture of safety at Inova through initiatives like TeamSTEPPS training for high-performing teams and a human-centered event management system. She designed the CARE Peer-Peer Support Network to support caregiver resilience and emotional wellbeing. Ms. Helak's efforts in reducing workplace violence led to Inova's recognition by the American Hospital Association and national awards for the Safe@Inova campaign. Her dedication to patient safety has significantly improved outcomes and fostered a safer healthcare environment.

Nicole Hedderich, RN. Associate Vice President of Quality and Risk Management at Calvert Health System (Prince Frederick, Md.). Ms. Hedderich oversees comprehensive performance improvement programs, ensuring patient safety, infection prevention and compliance with regulatory standards. Under her leadership, Calvert Health System improved its Leapfrog rating from a "C" to a "B" and consistently achieved 4-star ratings with CMS. Ms. Hedderich was named Employee of the Year by the Healthcare Council for the National Capital Area in 2020 for her exceptional service. She also successfully implemented a daily leadership safety huddle, enhancing communication and safety protocols across the organization.

Debra Honey, RN. Senior Vice President and CNO at Covenant Health (Knoxville, Tenn.). Ms. Honey serves as the senior vice president and CNO for Covenant Health, where she focuses on overseeing the quality, safety and nursing operations. With a background that spans from direct patient care to administrative leadership, she has led initiatives that have significantly improved patient safety indicators, including reducing rates of hospital-acquired infections through the implementation of systemwide protocols. She has worked to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections by 42%, catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 70%, and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections by 38% across Covenant Health facilities. In addition to her work on patient safety, she has also focused on improving patient experience with bedside handoffs during shift changes and increasing focus on patient falls prevention. These efforts have resulted in Covenant Health hospitals consistently receiving high safety grades from organizations like The Leapfrog Group. Ms. Honey has also been instrumental in expanding telehealth options for patients, including the launch of Advanced Care at Home. She works to educate nursing leaders about the program, actively participates in the hiring process for program nurses, and has helped create a prep course for the Certified Executive in Nursing Practice certificate program. She also collaborated with the University of Tennessee to develop a clinical leadership development program for selected nurses, focusing on patient experience, nursing leadership topics, and personal and professional development.

Daniel Hyman, MD. Chief Safety and Quality Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. As chief safety and quality officer, Dr. Hyman leads teams in the Center for Healthcare Quality and Analytics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and partners with clinical and operational teams throughout the organization to continuously evaluate and improve care results. Under his leadership, CHOP has expanded and strengthened its Breakthrough to Zero safety program and has reduced the frequency of a range of common patient and staff harm events by 10% to greater than 40% over the past three years. The center is helping lead new work to measure and improve clinical outcomes for acute and chronic childhood conditions and has developed 180 clinical pathways that define best practices for pediatric conditions management. They are expanding work on diagnostic excellence and addressing the impacts of health disparities in partnership with CHOP’s Center for Health Equity, which Dr. Hyman also supports. Dr. Hyman also has roles supporting national efforts in pediatric quality and patient safety, including his role on the clinical steering team of Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety. 

William Isenberg, MD, PhD. Vice President and Chief Medical and Quality Officer for Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.). Dr. Isenberg is vice president and chief medical and quality officer for Sutter Health, where he works to prioritize the safety of patients and communities across the system’s network. He is a key leader and partners with physician, nursing and operational leaders across the network's 22 hospitals. Through his leadership, Sutter has applied the system's Safe Care Error Prevention Tools which helps all staff, whether clinical or supportive, reduce harm to patients and one another by encouraging a culture where they can speak up when they have concerns or perceive errors.

Jennifer Jacobson, RN, BSN. Vice President of Clinical Operations and Quality at Compass Surgical Partners (Raleigh, N.C.). Ms. Jacobson is an accomplished patient safety expert who brings a wealth of clinical knowledge to the Compass Surgical Partners team. She leads the development and implementation of patient safety initiatives at over 400 staffed ASCs, ensuring compliance with federal, state and accreditation guidelines. Her responsibilities include setting patient safety benchmarks based on national data and overseeing clinical quality and patient safety guidance for all stakeholders, including center administrators, physicians and health system leaders. She is a key member of the due diligence team for acquisitions, assessing ASCs and developing integration plans to uphold the organization's high standards for patient-centered care. She also works closely with vendors to ensure their products and services reduce risks within the ASCs. Her professional accomplishments and day-to-day tasks, coupled with her ability to analyze data, communicate best practices and engage stakeholders in patient safety goals make her a key contributor to patient safety at Compass Surgical Partners.

Mark Jarrett, MD. Senior Vice President and Senior Health Advisor for Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.). In his role as senior health advisor, Dr. Jarrett oversees the quality and safety at all Northwell sites of care. In his previous role as chief quality officer and deputy CMO of Northwell Health, he oversaw care quality and patient safety initiatives. Under his leadership, Northwell piloted the use of black-box technology in its operating rooms to collect more information during surgeries. Dr. Jarrett's research experience has led to the publishing of his findings on the immune response in systemic lupus erythematosus, quality and cybersecurity in healthcare.

Leslie Jurecko, MD. Chief Safety, Quality and Experience Officer for Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Jurecko leads initiatives to reduce preventable harm and enhance patient safety across 23 hospitals and over 275 outpatient facilities globally. Her leadership has driven significant improvements, including a 20% increase in safety-event reporting and the rollout of high-reliability training to 80,000 caregivers with over 90% compliance. Dr. Jurecko's efforts have garnered Cleveland Clinic multiple accolades, such as top rankings in U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek. Her focus on health equity and commitment to a just culture have positioned her as a transformative leader in healthcare.

Nicole Justice. Vice President of Patient Safety, Risk and Insurance at Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital. Ms. Justice oversees all aspects of patient safety and compliance at Tampa General, aligning strategic safety initiatives across the organization and integrating private practice and academic providers. She ensures patient care adheres to all applicable health and hospital laws and regulations, fostering a lasting culture of safety. Ms. Justice played a crucial role in Tampa General's qualification as a Collaborative Reliability Organization and increased safety event reporting by over 25% within two years. She collaborates with Tampa General’s USF academic partner, the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, to enhance resident physician engagement in safety programs. Her leadership style prioritizes curiosity and continuous improvement, driving success within the health system.

Samrina Kahlon, MD. Patient Safety Officer for NYC Health + Hospital/ Metropolitan (New York City). Dr. Kahlon leads the vision, strategy and implementation of patient safety activities across her hospital. She is key in mentoring and sponsoring patient safety projects, preparing an annual patient safety plan and reviewing national patient safety goals as well as incidents within the hospital. During her tenure, she developed a training program for staff physicians to improve patient safety and quality of care. She is also the editor-in-chief of Urban Medicine Journal of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.

Michael Kantrowitz, DO. Vice Chair for Quality and Safety in the Department of Medicine for Maimonides Health (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Dr. Kantrowitz is the vice chair for quality and safety in the department of medicine for Maimonides Health, where he has an essential role in ensuring the delivery of high-quality patient care. He plays an extensive role in educating the next generation through training and mentoring resident physicians and gastroenterology fellows. He was instrumental in building a satellite hospital during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic to help manage the local surge. The hospital was operational in just 10 days. It enabled the safe expansion of surge capacity and ensured high-quality, safe and accessible care for patients.

Eileen Kasda, DrPH. Vice President of Patient Safety at SafeTower (Baltimore, Md.). Dr. Kasda is a visionary leader in the field of patient safety, dedicated to transforming safety practices and culture using innovative technology. Her primary accomplishments include founding the Healthcare Event Reporting Collaborative and developing the "Hero" application at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Health System, which has improved safety reporting culture and transparency. Her role as vice president of patient safety for SafeTower allows her to set the strategic direction for safety services and guide product development. She specializes in applying AI to categorize and cluster safety risks, making it easier to prevent patient harm. After experiencing a medical error herself, she applied her perseverance, vision and dedication to advancing patient safety through collaboration, education, analytics and technology. With her expertise and passion for innovation, she is continuously generating ideas to help software meet the evolving needs of the healthcare environment, from the bedside to the boardroom.

Kelly Kelleher, MD. Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at Phoenix Children's. Dr. Kelleher leads the quality and safety team at Phoenix Children's, driving initiatives that consistently earn the health system national rankings on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals list. Dr. Kelleher has been pivotal in advancing a culture of "Safety II," focusing on positive outcomes and proactive safety measures. She spearheaded the implementation of innovative tools like the WATCHER digital surveillance program, which has prevented code events in acute care units, and a malnutrition app that significantly improves patient outcomes. Under her leadership, Phoenix Children’s achieved zero preventable code events outside the ICU and received special recognition for improvements in central line-associated bloodstream infection rates.

Kathryn "Kate" Kellogg, MD. Vice President of Patient Safety and Infection Prevention for MedStar Health (Columbia, Md.). Dr. Kellogg is vice president of patient safety and infection prevention at MedStar Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the Washington DC, Baltimore, Md., region with 10 hospitals, 300 outpatient sites, 34,000 employees and $7.7 billion annual revenue. Dr. Kellogg sets the strategic vision for the MedStar system's comprehensive patient safety risk reduction and infection prevention programs and is accountable for the implementation and outcomes of these programs across the system. She leads a team of clinicians, professionals and subject matter experts in both the safety and infection prevention arena. Last year, she was recognized with the Robert Wears Safety Award. 

Sandra Kemmerly, MD. System Medical Director for Quality and Patient Safety at Ochsner Health (New Orleans). In addition to her administrative role as system medical director for quality and patient safety at Ochsner Health, Dr. Kemmerly actively serves as an infectious disease physician at Ochsner Medical Center New Orleans and as physician chair of the system antimicrobial stewardship subcommittee. She is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She has been part of Ochsner Health since 1988 and has held leadership roles such as president of the medical staff executive committee at Ochsner Medical Center. Dr. Kemmerly played a crucial role in Ochsner Health's Covid-19 pandemic response and has led various multidisciplinary quality and safety initiatives. In 2022, she co-authored a book on optimizing hospital safety and quality grades. Thanks to her many contributions to the field, she was named a Master of the American College of Physicians in 2009 and received the Louisiana Chapter Laureate Award in 2011. 

Sunita Koshy-Nesbitt, MD. Chief Quality Officer–Hospital Channel at Texas Health Resources (Arlington, Texas). Dr. Koshy-Nesbitt oversees quality outcomes, infection prevention, regulatory operations and clinical learning across 29 hospitals. She led the successful CMS Joint Commission survey for 14 hospitals and drives key performance improvements for 19 hospitals within the system. Dr. Koshy-Nesbitt spearheads initiatives in mortality reduction, care coordination and antibiotic stewardship. She also manages infection prevention efforts, including the health system’s Covid-19 response. She achieved national top quartile central line-associated bloodstream infection reduction in 2023, and improved pneumonia and sepsis mortality rates to the top national decile. Her leadership extends to nursing clinical education, overseeing nurse residency programs and continued training. Dr. Koshy-Nesbitt's expertise in value-based care and operational excellence has enhanced patient care quality and outcomes at Texas Health Resources.

Christopher Landrigan, MD. Chief of the General Pediatrics Division at Boston Children’s Hospital. At Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Landrigan has driven major improvements in patient care through pioneering research and innovative programs. Dr. Landrigan is also co-founder and executive council member of I-PASS, a communication improvement program that has significantly reduced medical errors. He also co-founded the I-PASS Patient Safety Institute to scale its implementation nationwide. His groundbreaking studies on medical errors and resident-physician work hours have led to national changes in healthcare standards, reducing resident physician extended shifts by 95%. Dr. Landrigan has authored over 200 publications and received numerous awards for his contributions to patient safety, research and education. He is also a William Berenberg professor of pediatrics and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

Michael Lane, MD. Senior Vice President, Chief Quality and Safety Officer and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Parkland Health (Dallas). Since joining Parkland Health in 2021, Dr. Lane has spearheaded transformative initiatives to elevate Parkland's safety and quality standards, positioning the organization as a leader in patient care within the safety-net health system. His commitment to high reliability and patient safety culture has been instrumental in achieving a 49% year-over-year decrease in serious safety events and a significant increase in safety culture survey scores, reflecting improved reporting and error prevention efforts. Under Dr. Lane's leadership, Parkland has also seen a 30% reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections. Beyond Parkland, Dr. Lane also chairs the Texas Hospital Association's quality and safety committee, and contributes to national initiatives through roles such as the Partnership for Quality Measurement's pre-rulemaking measure review recommendations committee and Press Ganey's safety leadership council. His dedication to advancing health equity and safety has earned Parkland Health prestigious awards, including the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Local Level Innovation and recognition from America’s Essential Hospitals for advancing health equity.

Deborah Larkin-Carney. Senior Vice President of Quality, Patient Safety and Patient Experience at RWJBarnabas Health (Orange, N.J.). Ms. Larkin-Carney oversees quality and safety programs across 13 hospitals and leads the Safety Together initiative to ensure top-tier clinical outcomes and patient care. Notably, she spearheaded the systemwide adoption of the Epic EHR platform, emphasizing patient safety and quality. Ms. Larkin-Carney also directed initiatives like quality fairs and quality forums to promote transparency and shared learning within the organization. Her contributions were instrumental in the successful merger of Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System, and she is a 2018 Baldrige Award recipient.

Jodi Larson, MD. Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Boston Medical Center Health System. Dr. Larson oversees quality, safety, risk management, regulatory readiness and accreditation, patient experience, patient advocacy, the domestic violence program and the Simulation Center at Boston Medical Center. She focuses on rigorously improving quality, patient safety and patient experience, as well as strategically aligning these areas to improve care delivery. She first joined the system in 2021, creating a daily safety huddle that convenes hospital leaders from more than 40 areas across the hospital. This collaborative approach has streamlined operations, facilitated teamwork and resolved approximately 500 issues every month, ensuring prompt actions to enhance quality and safety. In 2023, more than 5,900 safety and operational issues were raised at the huddle and 86% were resolved within one day.

Amy Lu. Chief Quality Officer at University of California San Francisco Health. Dr. Lu oversees quality improvement, patient safety and health equity across the entire UCSF Health system. She has transformed UCSF Health’s safety culture through multidisciplinary collaboration and proactive data analytics. Dr. Lu initiated the first organizationwide culture of safety survey and redesigned the patient safety event reporting process. She has championed clinical pathway redesigns, improving outcomes and reducing costs while advancing health equity through social determinants of health screening and dashboards. Dr. Lu's leadership also led to significant improvements in hand hygiene, medication safety and regulatory standards compliance. Her efforts have elevated UCSF Health’s quality rankings and enhanced patient care.

Josh Lumbley, MD. Chief Quality Officer at NorthStar Anesthesia (Irving, Texas and 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% 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.

Kedar Mate, MD. President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (Boston). Dr. Mate's is president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. His academic work has honed in on health system design, healthcare quality, large-scale change strategies, and value improvement approaches. He has published various articles, book chapters and white pages. Previously, Dr. Mate served as Institute for Healthcare Improvement's chief innovation and education officer. 

Melissa Matherne, BSN, RN. Director of Patient Safety and Quality at West Jefferson Medical Center (Marrero, La.). As director of patient safety and quality at West Jefferson Medical Center, Ms. Matherne is passionate about stimulating sustained improvements in patient outcomes. She ensures that solutions are consistently monitored to ensure success. She helped to significantly reduce hospital acquired infections from 2019 to 2022, implemented daily huddles to promote discussion, and has championed participation in employee engagement surveys and safety culture surveys. 

Tim McDonald, MD. Chief Patient Safety and Risk Officer for RLDatix (Chicago). Dr. McDonald is the RLDatix's chief patient safety and risk officer, bringing over 30 years of experience to the role. He has dedicated his career to improving patient safety, working with hospitals and health systems across the U.S. to implement a comprehensive, principled and systematic approach to the prevention and response to harm in healthcare. He also worked with the federal government to develop the CANDOR Toolkit, providing hospitals and health systems a roadmap for responding when a patient is harmed. Before joining RLDatix, he served as president for Chicago-based MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety from 2016-20. 

Patricia McGaffigan. Vice President of Safety at Institute for Healthcare Improvement (Boston). Ms. McGaffigan is vice president of safety at Institute for Healthcare Improvement, where she also serves as president of the certification board for professionals in patient safety, a program that has certified over 6,400 individuals globally. Ms. McGaffigan's work includes advancing diagnostic safety, supporting nurse-led care innovations and overseeing content for IHI conferences. She leads several impactful initiatives, such as the implementation of the first US National Action Plan to advance patient safety and serving as senior sponsor for the Lucian Leape Institute and co-chair of the national steering committee for patient safety. In 2023, Ms. McGaffigan was awarded the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Mary E. Luibel Distinguished Service Award for her decades of service and contributions to patient safety.

Jordan Messler, MD. 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 Patient Safety and Quality at New Orleans East Hospital. Ms. Moffett is responsible for New Orleans East Hospital'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.

Christy Moody, MSN, RN. CNO of Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center (Hartsville, S.C.). Ms. Moody first joined Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center in 2003 as an ICU staff nurse. She later served as director of ICU. In 2016, she assumed the role of CNO for the medical center. In 2024, she received the Drive to Zero Harm Leadership Award from the South Carolina Hospital Association for her dedication to patient safety. 

Rustin Morse, MD. Chief Medical Officer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Ohio). Dr. Morse focuses on quality and safety at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, utilizing the SCOPE framework, which includes safety, clinical outcomes, population health, equity and patient experience. Under his leadership, the Zero Hero initiative has achieved a record stretch of over 550 days without a serious safety event. A nationally recognized leader in pediatric quality and safety, Dr. Morse has a prolific career in patient satisfaction and quality improvement. He has successfully led and advanced numerous quality and safety programs, fostering staff dedication and pride. His efforts have significantly enhanced Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s commitment to exceptional patient care.

Brenda Nance, DNP, RN. Vice President of Quality Attainment at Saint Francis Health System (Tulsa, Okla.). Dr. Nance is in charge of all quality initiatives for Saint Francis Health System, which includes flagship 1,112-bed Saint Francis Hospital, an additional urban hospital, two rural hospitals, a children’s hospital, and a freestanding psychiatric clinic and hospital. She is responsible for patient safety and accreditation, safety event analysis, infection control and prevention, patient experience, clinical quality data and physician peer review. She is also passionate about health equity, helping Saint Francis become one of the first hospitals nationally to join a health and human services initiative to reduce perinatal mortality. The system is an early adopter of Team Birth and four years after starting the program, Saint Francis has been recognized for its improved Black maternal health and low C-section rates. During Dr. Nance's tenure, Saint Francis Hospital has increased performance from a "C" to an "A" safety grade from The Leapfrog Group. 

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.

Lori Paine, DrPH. Vice President and Patient Safety Officer at Rochester (N.Y.) Regional Health. In her current role, Dr. Paine oversees strategic and tactical patient safety initiatives. Known for her leadership and public speaking, she has inspired patient safety professionals worldwide and consulted on topics such as strategic planning, human factors, and safety culture improvement. Dr. Paine also teaches at the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She has published scholarly articles, contributed to healthcare policy, and serves on expert panels for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Quality Forum. Her doctoral work advanced patient safety by triangulating safety culture, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction data to identify high-risk areas. Previously, Dr. Paine served as the senior director of patient safety at Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, contributing over 30 years to the institution.

Arun Patel. Director of Patient Safety and Clinical Risk Management at Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. 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.

Leo J. Penzi, MD. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of North American Partners in Anesthesia (Melville, N.Y.). As executive vice president and chief medical officer of NAPA, Dr. Penzi has advanced patient safety and quality improvement across a network of 400 hospitals, ASCs, and office-based client relationships in 22 states. Since taking on his current role in 2020, Dr. Penzi has driven clinical excellence and nurtured a collaborative, safety-focused culture among nearly 5,000 anesthesia providers. He oversees rigorous quality improvement, compliance and risk management initiatives, ensuring high standards of care for approximately two million patients annually. Dr. Penzi spearheaded the creation of the NAPA Patient Safety Institute, which has developed innovative tools and protocols, earning national recognition such as the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award. 

Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD. President and CEO of The Joint Commission (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.). In 2022, Dr. Perlin became the president and CEO of The Joint Commission. Since his appointment, he has led the organization in its mission of improving the safety and quality of care offered to patients. Dr. Perlin has been recognized with the John Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety for using AI to detect sepsis early and save 8,000 lives. He has also been published for preventing hospital acquired infections, reducing pre-term deliveries, and using health informatics for improving safety and quality.

Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD. Chief Quality and Clinical Transformation Officer at University Hospital (Cleveland). Dr. Pronovost is tasked with fostering the ideation and implementation of new protocols that will enhance value of care, developing new frameworks for population health management for 1 million patients seen by University Hospitals, and managing the hospital's ACO. He has successfully integrated an analytic platform that centralizes claims, medical records and scheduling data for clinician use. This system reduced the annual cost of care for Medicare patients by 30% over three years. He also contributed to the creation of a life-saving intervention that reduces central line-associated bloodstream infections, decreasing infections by 80% across the nation. Ultimately, Dr. Pronovost's mission is to lead the system's "zero harm" mission. 

Heidi Raines. Founder and CEO of Performance Health Partners (New Orleans). Ms. Raines, founder and CEO of Performance Health Partners, has been instrumental in developing advanced patient safety technologies and expanding the company's nationwide presence. Her leadership at PHP focuses on leveraging user insights and data analytics to enhance patient safety, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. Under her guidance, PHP has achieved the “Best in KLAS” designation from KLAS Research for two consecutive years. Ms. Raines collaborates with industry leaders, lawmakers and regulatory bodies to drive PHP’s mission forward. Her book, Shared Voices: A Framework for Patient and Employee Safety has become a bestseller, reinforcing her influence in the field. Ms. Raines also promotes diversity in healthcare technology, with females making up 87% of PHP’s workforce, and she actively mentors underrepresented groups. Her insights are frequently sought by top media outlets. 

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.

Kelly Randall, PhD. Vice President of Patient Safety and Regulatory Services at Ascension (St. Louis). Dr. Randall has served as Ascension's vice president of patient safety since 2019. She studies the impact of high reliability practices on patient safety outcomes in pediatric hospitals. She is also a licensed social worker. In March 2024, she helped present on patient safety practices at the American College of Healthcare Executives 2024 Congress on Healthcare Leadership. Previously, she served as the associate vice president of regulatory services for the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the director of quality and safety for the Ascension Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Fla. 

Jennifer Schwehm, MSN, RN. Associate CNO at University Medical Center New Orleans. Prior to assuming her current role as the associate CNO at University Medical Center New Orleans, Ms. Schwehm was assistant vice president of quality and patient safety. With 15 years of experience at Children's Hospital New Orleans in various nursing roles, she has a robust background in patient safety and quality. She is dedicated to improving patient outcomes and safety by leveraging her professional skills in high reliability, clinical outcomes, performance improvement, accreditation, clinical research, patient safety, infection control and risk management.

Edward G. Seferian, MD. Chief Patient Safety Officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles). Dr. Seferian helms the patient safety program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which holds a national reputation for high quality care delivery. He is responsible for leading institutional initiatives and organizational quality and safety goals. He leads a Cedars-Sinai Health System patient safety collaborative, allowing leaders across the system to share and learn from each other. Dr. Seferian also serves as editor of the hospital harm report, a weekly publication containing important learnings related to safety events as well as recognition of safety leaders. Under his leadership, Cedars-Sinai has fostered a strong safety culture that proactively identifies risks, reviews adverse events and balances system improvement with individual accountability. 

Mike Seim, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at WellSpan Health (York, Pa.). Dr. Seim is responsible for quality and safety across WellSpan Health, including quality management and clinical improvement, LEAN management systems, infection prevention and control, patient safety, performance improvement, clinical risk management and regulatory compliance. He has been with WellSpan for four years, with initiatives improving both quality and safety standards. In 2021, he led the implementation of the lean management system to launch a safety goal of zero harm for patients and team members. Implementation of the system contributed to a 45% decrease in serious events and a 97% increase in patient safety event reporting during the same time period. Dr. Seim has also focused on the reduction and preparedness for workplace violence by assigning workplace violence de-escalation training to thousands of team members. Under his leadership, WellSpan also recently launched the dynamic appraisal of situational aggression assessment tool in its EHR, helping to better identify adult patients in hospitals who may be behavioral risks or present potential risks of violence.

Ghazala Sharieff, MD. Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Operations Officer of Acute Care at Scripps Health (San Diego). Dr. Sharieff, as chief medical and operations officer of acute care for Scripps, oversees a wide range of critical functions including acute care operations, quality metrics, pharmacy and emergency management. She has significantly improved patient safety through initiatives such as "Sprint Teams," which address specific challenges like heart failure and emergency department falls with multidisciplinary collaboration. Under her leadership, Scripps reduced emergency department falls from 65 to 19 and catheter-associated urinary tract infections from 78 to 30 in 2023. Scripps also earned “A” Leapfrog safety grades at all five hospital campuses and was named to three of Cal Hospital Compare’s California statewide honor rolls for patient safety, maternity care and opioid stewardship. Additionally, Dr. Sharieff introduced the "Model Care" approach to standardize patient care processes, resulting in improved outcomes such as reduced ventilator days and ICU stays. She also co-leads Scripps' Covid-19 response and holds various roles in medical training and healthcare administration.

Jo-el Sprecher. Patient Experience and Safety Director at Mary Greeley Medical Center (Ames, Iowa). Ms. Sprecher assists senior leadership in the development and operationalization of strategic plans as they relate to patient safety and experience. She is charged with leading patient rounding efforts, internal auditing processes and goal setting. Her work has led to the implementation of a new patient entertainment and engagement system, digital rounding platform, remote nursing and digital patient outreach program, safety rounding and leadership rounding. Among other organizations, Ms. Sprecher is a member of the Quality and Patient Safety Council. 

Susan Stallard. Vice President, Corporate Quality and Operational Effectiveness for Orlando (Fla.) Health. Ms. Stallard serves as vice president of corporate quality and operational effectiveness, where she is the strategic leader of systemwide corporate quality programs and performance improvement initiatives at Orlando Health. In this role, she oversees all aspects of clinical quality and patient safety, including infection prevention, in support of the organization's Embrace Quality and Safety strategic imperatives. While leading the transformation of Orlando Health's infection prevention department, her efforts led to the achievement of year-over-year reductions. Most recently, during fiscal year 2023 to date, the organization reduced CLABSI by 50% and C. difficile by 46%.

Jimmy Stout. Director of Clinical Operations for TriVent Healthcare at University of Alabama at Birmingham (Ala.) Hospital. Mr. Stout is a healthcare leader with over 20 years of experience, specializing in patient safety and care optimization. He leads an interdisciplinary team at TriVent Healthcare to improve health outcomes for patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation, achieving significant contract renewals at UAB Hospital. Previously, as manager of nursing informatics at UAB Hospital, he enhanced patient care through initiatives like perioperative process improvement and IV infusion pump implementation. His dedication to patient safety is demonstrated by his active participation in the UAB patient safety committee and leadership in nursing documentation and order set development. Recognized with awards such as the ACHE of Alabama Regent's Award for Clinical Leadership Excellence, Mr. Stout is passionate about improving healthcare delivery and coordinating across diverse teams to drive impactful change.

Juanita Stroud. Vice President of Safety and Medical Staff Services for Atrium Health (Charlotte, N.C.). Ms. Stroud is vice president for safety at Atrium Health. She is responsible for patient safety across the continuum of health services offered by Atrium, such as acute, ambulatory and continuing care. She also oversees the system's two patient safety organizations which focus on the improvement of patient care and safety by collecting and operationalizing data to identify opportunities for improvement and to share best practices. With her 20 years of experience, she developed a comprehensive view of safety that draws connections across all of Atrium Health's programs and revolves around establishing procedures that make Atrium’s facilities the safest they can be.  

Jason Tibbels, MD. Chief Quality Officer for Teladoc Health (Purchase, N.Y.). Dr. Tibbels is the chief quality officer for Teladoc Health, one of the largest virtual care-focused medical networks in the world. He is responsible for leading the organization's strategy for the delivery of excellent care through continuous improvement through research, better methodology and other important initiatives. He provides clinical leadership and oversight of the delivery of telemedicine services in the U.S. and internationally, including general medicine, primary care, chronic care programs, behavioral health and dermatology. He also offers his telemedicine subject matter expertise across the country to policymakers, regulatory bodies, healthcare organizations/stakeholders and media.

Rafael Torres, MD. Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer for White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital. Dr. Torres, chief quality and patient safety officer at White Plains Hospital, oversees the quality of care for the 292-bed hospital and its 53 ambulatory practices. The hospital discharges 24,000 patients each year and has the county’s busiest emergency department with 80,000 visits annually, serving as the tertiary hub for advanced care in the Montefiore Health System. Dr. Torres leads a team focused on performance improvement, ensuring top regional patient care. His initiatives, including the WPH Cares acute care transition team, optimize patient outcomes post-hospitalization through resources like remote monitoring and same-day access. Under his leadership, the hospital received its 10th consecutive “A” hospital safety grade from Leapfrog, and top honors for patient safety and experience from Healthgrades. In 2023, White Plains Hospital earned a 5-star rating for quality from CMS, the only hospital in the area to achieve this.

Lisbeth Votruba, RN. Chief Clinical Officer at AvaSure (Belmont, Mich.). Ms. Votruba has significantly advanced patient safety through virtual technology at AvaSure. She has driven the company's growth to over 1,100 customers, providing safer environments for over 2 million patients and achieving 145 million live monitoring hours. Ms. Votruba pioneered video monitoring for fall-risk patients and has authored several research articles on virtual care's benefits. She created eLearning modules for clinicians and hosted numerous national webinars to promote patient safety. Her leadership at AvaSure continues to revolutionize patient safety and care delivery.

Pooja Vyas, DO. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Christian Hospital (St. Louis). At just 33 years old, Dr. Vyas has rapidly ascended to vice president and chief medical officer of Christian Hospital, making her the youngest South Asian female to hold such a position. She manages daily medical and surgical operations, and oversees patient safety, quality of care, risk management and physician relations. Since joining Christian Hospital, Dr. Vyas has significantly improved patient safety by fostering team engagement and encouraging staff to take ownership of their workplace environment. She actively advocates for hospital staff at the system level and has provided valuable resources to enhance their work conditions. Dr. Vyas also serves as medical director of hospital medicine and participates in several committees, including the clinical excellence committee and the medical executive staff.

Sandeep Wadhwa, MD. Global Chief Medical Officer at Solventum (Salt Lake City). Dr. Wadhwa is the global chief medical officer for Solventum. He oversees the development of healthcare payment and quality methodologies used by over 15 countries and impacting 2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. He also provides clinical insights across the company's capture to code technology solutions. His work allows payers and providers to focus on seeking equitable, transparent and rigorous design of payment, quality and health outcome systems. Recently, Dr. Wadhwa oversaw the development and launch of 3M Ambulatory Potentially Preventable Complications grouping software, which helps pinpoint patient safety events after elective procedures.

Heidi Wald, MD. Chief Quality and Safety Officer for Intermountain Health (Salt Lake City). Dr. Wald leads the clinical excellence function at Intermountain Health, overseeing quality, safety and experience across three regions and seven states, including 33 hospitals and over 400 ambulatory sites. She heads an integrated team of over 400 professionals following the merger of Intermountain Health and SCL Health in 2022. Dr. Wald has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles on patient safety and quality for older adults in hospitals and nursing homes. She has played a crucial role in enhancing employee engagement by respecting the cultures and approaches of the quality teams throughout the merger process. Dr. Wald previously served as chief quality and safety officer of SCL Health for four years and was an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Brook Watts, MD. Chief Quality Officer for University of Michigan Health (Ann Arbor). Dr. Watts leads the safety and quality initiatives that support Michigan Medicine’s journey to become a highly reliable organization. She champions the implementation of safety coaches across the organization who model high reliability skills for team members. Dr. Watts also leads the patient harm composite measure, a helpful tool for identifying patient safety improvement areas. She has over 20 years of involvement in quality work and has held a variety of leadership positions, including the role of senior vice president for quality and chief medical officer for community and public health at the MetroHealth System in Cleveland. Additionally, Dr. Watts is a member of the editorial board for the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

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.

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