Massachusetts Medical Society: Presenter Bios

Presenter Bios

Roadmap for Transforming Medical Liability and Improving Patient Safety in Massachusetts

March 15, 2011
MMS Headquarters, Waltham

Alan Woodward, MD
Emergency physician, consultant and former President of the Massachusetts Medical Society
Dr. Woodward has been recognized as a trailblazer for emergency medicine in Massachusetts. A committed patient advocate, he has worked tirelessly to improve access to high-quality emergency care and to enhance public health.  Currently he pursues his interests in public health, health policy including liability reform and sits on numerous healthcare related boards, local and State committees, and on the Massachusetts Public Health Council.  In addition he has been active in organized medicine at the local, district, state and national levels. Dr. Woodward also co-chairs the State's Boarding and Patient Flow Task Force with the Commissioner of Public Health.

Richard Boothman, JD
Chief Risk Officer at the University of Michigan Healthcare System
An accomplished trial lawyer in Michigan and Ohio, Mr. Boothman spent 22 years in private practice defending individual doctors, professional groups and a wide range of health systems. He then left private practice to join the University of Michigan Health System, where he implemented a pro active and principled approach to health system claims. Mr. Boothman was responsible for the design and implementation of an innovative approach to medical errors, mishaps, and near-misses at UMHS. He sits on the Board of Governors for the National Patient Safety Foundation and the Board of Directors for the Michigan Hospital Association Patient Safety Organization. He has consulted for many academic and non-academic health care systems and hospitals.

Kenneth Sands, MD, MPH
Senior Vice President for Health Care Quality and Director of the Silverman Institute for Health Care Quality and Safety at BIDMC
Dr. Sands was the Hospital Epidemiologist at BIDMC for six years until assuming his current role in 1999. He has a continued research interest in patient safety and complications of hospitalization. He holds a substantial leadership position in the field of quality improvement, and has made significant contributions and impact on a national and international level. He has been the principal driver of the BIDMC program for hospital monitoring and transparent reporting on quality and safety that is notable for the degree to which information is accessible and understandable to patients and the public at large. He has served as principal investigator on this study.

Michelle Mello, JD, PhD
Professor of Law and Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health
Dr. Mello is trained in law and health services research and her work focuses on empirical investigations of health law issues. The primary focus of her research for the past decade has been medical malpractice. She has completed a number of original empirical studies of tort reforms, the performance of the medical liability system, and effects of the liability environment on the quality and availability of health care, and is currently conducting two studies of innovative reform proposals (health courts and disclosure-and-offer programs) under grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has advised the Obama administration, a number of state and federal legislations, and several state commissions on medical liability reform issues.

Sigall K. Bell, MD
Infectious Disease physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard School of Medicine
Dr Bell is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.  Her academic interests focus on fostering humanism in patient care through the study of medical culture, the patient experience, and improving communication after harmful events. Her work in medical education can be found in Academic Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the New York Times. She co-developed a DVD-based curriculum addressing the human dimension of medical error drawing on the documentary film "When Things Go Wrong: Voices of Patients and Families" with Dr Tom Delbanco and others.

Peter Smulowitz, MD, MPH
Peter B. Smulowitz, MD, MPH is a practicing emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Beth Israel Deaconess Needham, and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School.  He received his Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and worked previously as health policy fellow for the Massachusetts State Senate Committee on Health Care Financing, where he completed a white paper outlining the benefits of a Disclosure and Offer program.  Dr. Smulowitz's major academic interests include medical liability reform and evaluating the outcome of Massachusetts' health care reform.

Linda Kenney
President/Executive Director of Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS)
Linda Kenney founded MITSS in 2002 as the result of a personal experience with an adverse medical event, when she identified the need for support services in cases of adverse events and outlined an agenda for change.  Since that time, she has been a tireless activist for patient, family, and clinician rights.  She has become a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the patient safety movement and speaks regularly at healthcare conferences and forums. She has authored and contributed to a number of publications on topics including the emotional impact of adverse events on patients, families, and clinicians. 

Frederick van Pelt, MD, MBA
Director, Global Program, Partners Harvard Medical International
Dr. Rick van Pelt works on programs focused on quality improvement and patient safety. He brings to these collaborations a rich background in the delivery of acute care, perioperative, and surgical and minimally invasive care services, as well as expertise in process improvement and change management. Prior to joining PHMI, Dr. van Pelt served in both clinical and administrative roles in the anesthesia department of the Brigham & Women's Hospital. He is a co-founder of the Clinician Peer Support Service at the Brigham, a service dedicated to providing support to care providers following adverse medical events, and is the former Chairman of the Board for Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS).

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