Partner Profile: A Conversation with Dr. Danielle Cullen, MD, MPH, MSHP

Abeselom Gebreyesus, MPH(c), BA

October 27, 2022

The Health Care Improvement Foundation’s (HCIF) Partner Profiles highlight the efforts of valued and innovative health leaders. Our partners’ work supports HCIF’s vision of healthier communities through equitable, accessible, and quality health care.

As HCIF continues to tackle trauma-informed care and food insecurity as part of its COACH programming, we are pleased to feature Danielle Cullen MD, MPH, MSHP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine at CHOP. Danielle serves as Co-Chair of the COACH Food Insecurity Workgroup that consists of medical and health professionals who have come together to address social determinants of health and food access in Pennsylvania.

You serve on the COACH Food Insecurity Workgroup while also conducting research on childhood food insecurity and community-based interventions to improve health equity among children and their families. How did you become interested in pediatrics and working with socially disadvantaged children?

I’ve always been drawn to working with children and their families, whether it was as a swim instructor through high school and college, tutoring, or now as a physician and public health professional. When kids and their families enter the medical setting, they bring with them more than their acute presenting complaint; they bring their stories, their experiences, and the relationships that impact who they are and how they engage with care. I believe that being a pediatrician means more than treating patients medically; we also have the responsibility of providing a voice for children. Through my work, I see pediatric emergency medicine as a platform to combine clinical practice with research in a way that enables me to advocate effectively for the health of children and their families.

In addition to your work with COACH, you have also been involved with tackling childhood food insecurity at CHOP through programs like the Healthier Together initiative and the Complete Eats program. What is one thing you think people should know about childhood food insecurity?

That it is common and underrecognized. That there’s no specific way that a food insecure family should “look.” And that it’s generally the tip of the iceberg—if a family is experiencing food insecurity, there are likely many other areas in life that are stressful. Most importantly, I want people to know that even if a family is experiencing food insecurity, we must prioritize the family’s autonomy to decide what they want assistance with, when, and from whom. If we ask the questions—and if the family wants assistance— we must be ready to help. I suppose this is more than just one thing…

What are your greatest accomplishments within your field so far?

My greatest accomplishment is my team. I am fortunate to work with a phenomenal group of community partners, social workers, health professionals, academic researchers, and students. It is tremendously invigorating to work with such dedicated and caring humans who are striving to make life a little easier—and hopefully better—for the patients and families that we serve.

“There’s no specific way that a food insecure family should ‘look’.”

-Dr. Cullen

Tell us about the Complete Eats program.

The Complete Eats program is CHOP’s partnership with the USDA, PA Department of Education, and the Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to serve kids free balanced meals at the point of clinical care and connect families with food and other social resources that exist within their community. It is an extension of the summer food service program, a mirror program of the National School breakfast and lunch programs, operating during school closures. With the tremendous work on our clinical and community partners, this program has been in operation at CHOP for the past six years, providing meals at five different clinical settings. Most impressively, with the dedication of our team, we were able to operate nearly-continuously for 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving over 101,100 meals to kids, and demonstrating impact of the program in terms of improvement in family-level food security.

If you could motivate people in your field to tackle one issue or address one challenge, what would it be?

Oh, good question. I have a few different “fields” so I’m tempted to cheat on this one and give multiple answers. At the root, it really comes down to pushing further and further upstream, working together to dismantle systemic inequity, racism, and systems of poverty. In this we need to elevate and amplify the experiences and preferences of our patients/families, and the strength in our communities, to promote desired, effective change.

What have you found most valuable about working with the COACH collaborative?

I love the opportunity for clinical and community partners to come together, share lessons learned, and work towards improvement across our fields. As an implementation scientist, I also feel that this group has the potential to serve as a model to decrease the “know-do” gap, allowing for shared learning, dissemination of best practices, and scaling of effective innovations across institutions on a timeline that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

What’s a quote that inspires you in your work?

Sitting on my desk right now, and every day, is a framed quotable card that continues to resonate. It says, “This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.”


Something you may not know about Dr. Cullen is that her grandfather invented car signals! Not only is she very proud that her grandfather was such a tremendous innovator, but also appreciates that an emphasis on safety and clear communication has a strong lineage in her family.

Partner Profile: A Conversation with Shonalie Roberts, MHA, ARM, LSSGB

May 24, 2022

The Health Care Improvement Foundation’s (HCIF) Partner Profiles highlight the efforts of valued and innovative health leaders. Our partners’ work supports HCIF’s vision of healthier communities through equitable, accessible, and quality health care.

As HCIF concludes year one of our Health Equity Data Strategy (HEDS) collaborative, we are pleased to feature Shonalie Roberts, MHA, ARM, LSSGB, System Director of Health Equity at Main Line Health. Shonalie serves on the HEDS Advisory Group that consists of health equity leaders and experts who have helped to establish the scope of the collaborative, support the launch of the program, and provide feedback on the HEDS Baseline Survey.

You serve on the Advisory Group for HCIF’s Health Equity Data Strategy (HEDS), a multi-year collaborative composed of Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) member organizations who are working towards the common goal of decreasing disparities in health outcomes in our communities across the southeast Pennsylvania region. This month, HEDS is concluding its first year, which has been focused on the collection, stratification, and utilization of race, ethnicity, and language (REaL) patient data. As an Advisor, you served in a key role of supporting the HEDS Collaborative launch and first year milestones, such as the HEDS Baseline Survey. What do you consider to be some of the greatest strengths of the HEDS Collaborative? What are you most looking forward to the HEDS Collaborative accomplishing in years to come?

Serving as an advisor for the HEDS collaborative has offered a unique opportunity to locally collaborate towards the development and enhancement of data collection and stratification initiatives that could help identify and reduce health disparities. Though functioning as individual institutions, collectively, the HEDS member organizations’ goal is simple – improving health outcomes for all by focusing efforts on where the greatest opportunities exist. One of the greatest strengths of this Collaborative is the forum it creates to foster collaboration through shared learning. I look forward to collective action to support hospitals in this region to taking tangible steps to improving health outcomes.

In addition to participating in HEDS, Main Line Health has demonstrated a commitment to health equity through its leadership and participation in a number of collaboratives, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Pursuing Equity Initiative. What is one of the most impactful changes that Main Line Health has achieved with regards to health equity?

For the past 10+ years, Main Line Health has been committed to addressing disparities in care, advancing health equity, and fostering a care and work environment that is grounded in diversity, respect, and inclusion. In that regard, and via our participation in IHI Pursuing Equity, we’ve adopted IHI’s 5-pillar framework. Notably, we’ve included health equity in our strategic plan, added Diversity, Respect, Equity, and Inclusion (DREI) as one of our core values, established accountable infrastructure to lead, implement, evaluate and communicate our DREI work, and are building and strengthening diverse community partnerships.

We are taking a holistic approach to achieving equity in every aspect of our organization’s work – for our employees, patients, and the greater community we serve. We have made many changes that have had tremendous impact but there is plenty that we still have to do. One of the most impactful changes has been with the collection of REaL data and, more recently, the stratification of key measures by REaL data. We embarked on a campaign to bolster accurate REaL data collection about 7 years ago, which included staff training and support on WHY it is important to collect patient self-reported data. Efforts from that campaign, called “We Ask Because We Care” and adapted from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality, helped us to significantly improve REaL data capture and reduce the ratio of race and ethnicity data captured as “unknown” and “other” within our electronic health record (EHR). Now, with this data, we can look at our key quality of care metrics and determine whether and where there are disparities in outcomes that we should be focusing on.

What is one key thing you would like the public, or someone not in health care, to understand about health equity and the role it serves in our communities and the healthcare system as a whole?

Health equity is an important and complex topic. There is no exact pathway to achieve equity and by no means is there a one-size fits all strategy. It is a continuous pursuit and journey that takes time and sustained effort.

The work around health equity, which includes addressing the social determinants of health needs (those non-medical barriers like access to stable housing, healthy food, and transportation, that may impact health outcomes) involves community and preventive care – something hospitals and health systems were not traditionally built or set up to address. From a hospital and health system perspective, we have been in the treatment business, not in the preventive care business. So we are navigating new and difficult challenges in a new and difficult space. We have to innovate and change is hard. Learning to provide community, preventive, primary, secondary and follow up care for a patient across a continuum is not easy because often the existing processes work contrary to that and more often than not, patients unintentionally fall through the cracks in our systems – creating disparities, and inequities. Also, most of the work to achieve optimal health cannot occur within the hospital walls, so it requires community outreach, partnership, engagement, and trust. Hospitals must engage with the communities they serve to address these barriers.

Reflecting on your own professional background and accomplishments, how did you become interested in health equity?  What is one of your greatest accomplishments within your field so far (in other words, what are you most proud of)?

I was attracted to health equity by the very same thing that attracted me to health care – helping others. Particularly those whose voice may not always be present or amplified to the level that influences decision making – those historically underserved and marginalized communities. These populations, despite individual successes within these groups and their own beautiful and rich community assets, experience barriers that negatively affect their health and in many instances these barriers are negatively impacting their opportunities to thrive in society. These barriers are steeped in individual and structural racism, bias (overt and implicit), underinvestment in their communities, and so on and so forth.

I think back to when I first moved to the United States and how difficult it was to access healthcare. My father – who had been an architect and project manager in the Caribbean where I’m from – could not get a job here in the US in spite of his credentials and years of experience. Without a job – health insurance was virtually unattainable for him and for us. In the US, employment creates access to insurance for most individuals. For my family, government-sponsored insurance was out of the question and in fact, for some, if not many Caribbean households, there’s stigma attached to public assistance and many avoid it. So, it wasn’t until my college years that I had access to care through my student status. Perhaps with education and trust-building, we can instill confidence in the resources (publicly-offered or otherwise) that already exist to help others who may need it. And of course by helping those who need the most help, you naturally help everyone. By addressing issues with how health care is delivered for the most vulnerable, you improve the way health care is delivered for all. And by improving access to care for more, you improve the health and wellbeing of the community. I see that as my role.

I think we still have a lot of work to do as a nation, within healthcare and even within my organization -MLH. Though I am quite proud of how far we’ve come. I’m most proud of the work we have done as a health system to educate, train, and support our staff to be more aware of DREI topics and to move from awareness into action. Through our mandatory DREI Learning Experience (now virtually offered), all employees will be re-trained in DREI principles. I’m also proud of our system’s growing partnerships with the community, including Together for West Philadelphia, a collaborative of more than 20 community, public, and private sector stakeholders fostering shared projects to maximize impact in health, education, food access and opportunity.

What have you found most valuable about working with HCIF? What is something you’ve learned through our partnership?

The collaboration within this region is most helpful. Often health care organizations see each other as competitors and this work is a good reason, the right reason, to come together and work together for the benefit of the patients we serve together. HCIF provides the necessary neutral forum to do this.

What is a quote that inspires you in your work?

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Something you may not know about Shonalie… As a Caribbean-born American, she is eager to travel to more Caribbean countries, citing the “rich history and diversity across and within these countries”, in addition to their warm weather and beautiful, clear beaches! Shonalie’s favorite book is The Other Wes Moore-One Name, Two Fates – “An easy read that illuminates the lives of two kids with the same name who traverse different paths. It affirms the power and influence of our physical, familial, social, and economic environment to shape our life path.  For me in my role, it reminds me of the complexity of health equity because the very premise of this work is caring for individuals in the way they want to/need to be treated – not treating everyone the same or equally. The book, like my work, reiterates the complexity of our individual lives and circumstances and reinforces the importance of seeing people for who they are as individuals – with unique lived experiences – who must be cared for, in that way.”

If you are interested in connecting with our partner on LinkedIn, you can find Shonalie Roberts here.

Partner Profile: A Conversation with Dr. Jeremy Souder and Eileen Jaskuta

Liz Owens, MS

March 29, 2022

The Health Care Improvement Foundation’s (HCIF) Partner Profiles highlight the efforts of valued and innovative health leaders. Our partners’ work supports HCIF’s vision of healthier communities through equitable, accessible, and quality health care.

In celebration of Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 13 – March 19) this month, we’re excited to feature the Chair and Vice Chair of HCIF’s Clinical Advisory Committee to learn more about what patient safety means to them and what they see as the most important priorities in patient safety today.

Jeremy Souder, MD, MBA, serves as the Associate Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Excellence and Patient Safety Officer at Pennsylvania Hospital of Penn Medicine and serves as Chair of HCIF’s Clinical Advisory Committee.

Eileen Jaskuta, MSHA, BSN, RN, serves as the System Vice President Quality and Patient Safety at Main Line Health and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee.

HCIF’s Clinical Advisory Committee is the voluntary expert panel of health care providers and partners from organizations across Southeastern Pennsylvania that identifies the region’s quality and patient safety priorities and provides clinical guidance to HCIF and its Board of Directors. Additionally, the Clinical Advisory Committee plays a key role in advising the Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) and its programs, such as the Health Equity Data Strategy Collaborative, Safe Table, Delaware Valley Patient Safety & Quality Awards, and Leadership Summit.

Both of you serve in key roles on HCIF’s Clinical Advisory Committee that oversees the Partnership for Patient Care (PPC), which just celebrated its 15 year anniversary last year. What do you consider to be the greatest benefits and accomplishments of PPC during your tenure on the Committee?

Dr. Souder: The PPC convenes a broad regional community around the shared mission to make patient care more equitable, safe, and effective. In particular, I feel that the Safe Table Program and the Patient Safety and Quality Award Program create learning communities that foster the development of a shared understanding of challenges, opportunities, and solutions identified by leaders in our region’s healthcare organizations.

Eileen: I have served on the Advisory Committee several times throughout my career, but my most recent tenure has been 5 years.  I have always found that the greatest benefit of PPC is the sharing of best practices in the region and the opportunity to participate in collaboratives to advance quality of care.

This month, we’re celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week from March 13-19, 2022. Given the many changes and challenges that have been encountered by healthcare systems over the past two years, what do you see as the most important priorities in patient safety today?

Dr. Souder: I see the ongoing workforce challenges, the care for patients simultaneously coping with behavioral health and other medical conditions, the course of the pandemic, and striving for equity in our care outcomes to be the key priorities.

Eileen: The most important priorities in patient safety today really focus on two things in my mind – getting back to the basics and including equity in the work of patient safety.

What is one key thing you’d like the public, or someone not in healthcare, to understand about patient safety and the role it serves in our communities and the healthcare system as a whole?

Dr. Souder: That it depends on people caring for people—trust, mutual respect, concern, and compassion—in 360 degrees, as much as it depends on process improvement, data, and technical improvements.

Eileen: The role that patient safety provides is to be preoccupied with failure to ensure safety for the patients we serve, and to develop interventions to prevent safety events from occurring.

“The most important priorities in patient safety today really focus on two things in my mind – getting back to the basics and including equity in the work of patient safety.”

Eileen Jaskuta

How did you become interested in patient safety?  What are your greatest accomplishments within your field so far (in other words, what are you most proud of)?

Dr. Souder: In my junior year of internal medicine residency, I began to feel disenchanted with my chosen profession. I saw how hard everyone was working, smart people were, how closely they paid attention, and how much they cared…and yet people got hurt, or didn’t get what I wanted us to be able to give them. 

Then I learned about the field of patient safety, and that there was another way to think about caring for people than the one I’d learned in my textbooks, and it gave me hope. I realized that understanding physiology, anatomy, and pathophysiology and pharmacology were necessary, but not sufficient, to achieve the outcomes we all pursue. 

I’m immensely proud that we, as a field, are grappling with challenges of high reliability, continuing with impatient determination to get better at what we do together for patients. I’m also inspired to see that now, when I bring up concepts like systems error, or the “Swiss Cheese Model” on rounds, students always nod their heads in recognition—they understand these core concepts before they get to their clinical training, and I see them engaging more regularly in ways I don’t remember seeing a decade ago. This gives me great hope! 

Eileen: I was always interested in providing great care and patient safety was naturally a part of providing great care. I also had family members impacted by patient safety events and knew that we in healthcare could and should do better by our patients. I think much has been accomplished over the years in patient safety. Transparency and disclosure were critical to those accomplishments because we could learn from one another to make lasting improvements.

I learned about the field of patient safety, and that there was another way to think about caring for people than the one I’d learned in my textbooks, and it gave me hope.

Dr. Jeremy Souder

You have supported HCIF’s work through numerous PPC programs (including but not limited to the Health Equity Data Strategy Collaborative, Delaware Valley Patient Safety and Quality Award Program, and Safe Community) over the years. What do you think makes HCIF unique? What is something you’ve learned through our partnership?

Dr. Souder: What makes HCIF unique is its ability to convene different regional stakeholders around the shared aim of delivering excellent care to everyone in need.

What is a quote that inspires you in your work?

Dr. Souder: “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results that it gets.”


If you are interested in connecting with our partners on LinkedIn, you can find Jeremy Souder here and Eileen Jaskuta here.  

Something that you may not know about Dr. Souder is that his favorite hobbies consist of water sports—whether that’s winter or summer water sports, he enjoys both! Eileen shared that things she likes to do for fun include hiking, learning how to golf, and watching college basketball!

Partner Profile: A Conversation with Serge Ginzburg, MD

Kaynaat Syed, MHA

November 29, 2021

The Health Care Improvement Foundation’s (HCIF) Partner Profiles highlight the efforts of valued and innovative health leaders. Our partners’ work supports HCIF’s vision for a responsive, coordinated health care community that fulfills the needs of patients and consumers to achieve better health.

In recognition of Men’s Health Month, our team interviewed Dr. Serge Ginzburg, MD to learn more about his career in Urology, prostate cancer awareness, and his involvement with PURC.

Dr. Ginzburg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology at Albert Einstein Medical Center. He has been an active member of PURC since 2015 as the surgeon champion for Einstein Health Network and the former chair of the Biopsy Working Group where he spearheaded efforts to increase the utilization of Transperineal biopsies in prostate cancer diagnosis. Dr. Ginzburg currently serves as the Director of Prostate Programs for PURC through which he supports HCIF with setting collaborative goals, establishing metrics, and identifying approaches and activities that best support participating practices.

What led you to urology? What interests you most about urology? 

Transitioning from a career in engineering to becoming a physician, I was looking to take advantage of my dexterity and to harness my interest in technology.  I wanted a career that allowed me to work with my hands, so a surgical specialty was a natural choice.  Importance of family, work-life balance and recognizing like-minded colleagues in the field of urology made it an obvious choice.  If I had to do it over, I would pick urology again.   

What is one thing you think people should know about providing prostate cancer care? 

Prostate cancer is a serious condition, but it is rarely an emergency.  Patients should not be pressured into a quick treatment decision.  It is crucial that patient education is emphasized, and shared decision making is embraced.  With potential for significant impact on patients’ lifestyles and functional outcomes, comprehensive up-front counseling is critical to avoid downstream regret. 

What are your greatest accomplishments within your field so far? 

I try to critically evaluate new technologies and techniques as they emerge.  I felt that the transperineal approach to prostate biopsy was the way forward and I pushed hard to adopt it across our regional collaborative.  I believe that the benefits of widespread adoption of this technique will result in long term benefit for many patients. 

If you could motivate people in your field to tackle one issue or address one challenge, what would it be? 

Racial disparity, social inequity and implicit bias in prostate cancer care are real.  A huge gap in resource allocation exists and I do all I can to level the playing field.  I am proud to make state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge surgical techniques available to our urban, immigrant, underserved and underinsured population.   

What have you found most valuable about working with HCIF? What is something you’ve learned from our partnership? 

The privilege to collaborate with the brightest minds in prostate cancer care has been the most rewarding.  It is amazing to see such a diverse group of urologists and health networks committing time and effort toward a common goal – to improve quality in prostate cancer care.  Mentors like Dr. Robert Uzzo and Dr. Jay Raman along with friends and colleagues motivate me to grow outside my comfort zone, and I’m truly thankful for that.  

What’s a quote that inspires you in your work? 

“In theory, confidence and competence go hand in hand.  In practice they often diverge.  The ultimate goal is confident humility.”  – Adam Grant, Think Again 

What are some of your favorite hobbies, or things you like to do for fun? 

I really enjoy the outdoors and always have fun hiking, camping and kayaking with my wife and sons.  Every year we look forward to our ski trip to Mont Tremblant. My favorite place that I visited is Patagonia, where I backpacked the W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park.  It was amazing. 


Partner Profile: A Conversation with Vic Caraballo, MD

May 27, 2021

In celebration of the Partnership for Patient Care’s (PPC) 15th Anniversary, the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) is featuring our partners on our website and in our monthly newsletter. As a long-standing collaborator with HCIF, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the work accomplished by Independence Blue Cross, HCIF, and the region’s health care organizations over the past 15 years through PPC. The intent of these profiles is to give our readers a better understanding of the breadth of work of the Partnership for Patient Care, as well as an introduction to our innovative and valuable partners with whom we we are fortunate to work.

For this month, we are delighted to feature Victor Caraballo, MD, MBA, Vice President of Quality Management, Independence Blue Cross. In his role, Dr. Caraballo is responsible for all activities associated with ensuring health plan compliance with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation standards. Dr. Caraballo is also actively involved in leading Health Equity activities in Independence as well as across many stakeholder organizations.  Dr. Caraballo holds both undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Dr. Caraballo is a longstanding supporter of HCIF and currently serves on the HCIF Board, Clinical Advisory Committee and is an advisor to our Health Equity Data Strategy, Pennsylvania Urologic Regional Collaborative (PURC), and Partnership for Patient Care programs. We conducted an interview with him to learn more about his experience with the Partnership for Patient Care program:

Independence Blue Cross supports the Partnership for Patient Care (PPC), which is a unique collaboration between a payer and providers to jointly fund quality and patient safety improvement initiatives and has been recognized as a national model. In celebration of 15 years, what do you consider the greatest accomplishments of PPC since its launch in 2006?

The Partnership for Patient Care program, led by HCIF has been so important. The creation of this unique collaboration has been the most impressive feat, in my opinion. Starting with the regional medication safety program and moving on to hospital acquired infections, readmissions, and more recently, Safe Table, the ability to address these challenging issues and create real and lasting change has been invaluable.

In addition to your involvement in PPC, you have supported HCIF’s work by serving on the Board of Directors, the Clinical Advisory Committee, and as a Champion for several programs. What do you think makes HCIF unique?

What makes HCIF unique is that it is a neutral convener, bringing together various stakeholders throughout the healthcare marketplace.  But HCIF also understands the market and the intricacies of healthcare, as well as the dynamics of our region.  I have been involved in a number of HCIF’s programs over the years and have appreciated its unique ability to maintain neutrality, while helping to solve very complex healthcare challenges in our community.

What have you found most valuable about working with HCIF? What is something you’ve learned through our partnership?

Experiencing the value of building coalitions is really unparalleled. Being able to see this in action and motion over the years has been incredible to witness – it’s very clear that we’re stronger when working collectively. We’re all connected in our healthcare ecosystem and the importance of working across stakeholders has been very instructive. No institution is an island – tackling healthcare problems together shows the power of coalitions.

PPC’s vision statement is “to be the safest region in the country.” As HCIF celebrates its 15th year, what are some of the most significant benefits to participation in PPC?

Collaboration with peers across the region is one of the most significant benefits of the PPC program. Working through this unique coalition allows individual institutions to have a seat at the table to solve real challenges. Peer conversations that are so critical and networking with colleagues are other benefits that comes to mind. The biggest benefit is working together. So much of the healthcare system is interconnected. For example, if you think of our readmissions work – this just isn’t a problem that can be solved working in your own bubble.  PPC allows for interchange of ideas and best practices.

As HCIF and Independence Blue Cross turn to/look forward to the next 15 years of PPC, what do you think is the next big frontier in healthcare for the Philadelphia/SEPA region?

The next frontier is about being aware of critical issues such as health equity, and being able to mitigate the drives of health inequity. We need to address health care holistically by evaluating social determinants of health. Many players will need to work together in a way that improves health and accrues to everyone’s benefit.

You’ve been at Independence Blue Cross for19 years. How did you become interested in quality improvement and/or patient safety?  How has your background as an Emergency Department physician influenced your interest in quality improvement and/or patient safety?

First, I always wanted to serve an underserved population and working in the emergency department allowed me to do this. What got me interested in quality and safety was my training in emergency medicine. Working in the emergency department (ED) requires a very process-driven and modular approach to care, while also recognizing the importance of treating the individual. Working in the ED allows you the option of reflecting back at the end of the day to see how I could deliver care in a better way.

What has been your personal proudest accomplishment within the quality/patient safety field so far?

There have been a lot of different accomplishments, but problem-solving some very challenging issues tops that list. I am also very proud of my work with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), serving on a number of committees.  Recently, I have been working to lead Independence Blue Cross’ (IBC) COVID 19 program.  COVID has really shone a light on the issues of inequities in healthcare and vaccine access.  I am very proud of the leadership IBC is taking to address health equity and integrating this into our quality and safety programs.

What is a quote that inspires you in your work?

“A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. And art itself may be defined as a single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe, by bringing to light the truth, manifold and one, underlying its every aspect.”

I have found this to be profound and inspiring – especially the importance of having lofty goals and integrity in your work. Everything you do should be of excellence and accrue to your ultimate goal.

What are some of your favorite hobbies, or things you like to do for fun?

I love music, reading, and cooking Mediterranean-inspired food and Italian cuisine.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I am a long-time environmentalist, especially growing up in the 70s. Being a city boy, I always found it important to have a connection to nature. The 1970s were a time when the environmental and climate issues came into national consciousness, and I was especially moved by the commercial showing a Native American man crying due to the mistreatment of nature. I explored the ideas of alternative sources of energy when I was a kid and won an essay contest from the White House with President Jimmy Carter.