Faculty

Faculty

Crystal Morales, MS in Patient Safety Leadership, BSN

Program Director, Executive Masters in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership
Instructor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Crystal Morales is the Senior Director of Education for the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety, and the program director for Georgetown’s Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership program.  She is also an active faculty member for Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety: The Telluride Experience. She has been a Georgetown instructor for the Executive Master’s program for several years.

She has a strong and extensive background in healthcare management, research, and education.  Crystal skillfully managed MedStar Health’s High Reliability Program, and led efforts to develop and implement the Care for the Caregiver program, the Patient Communication Consult Service, the event review process after adverse events, and many other safety efforts, establishing herself as a safety content expert and trusted partner. Most recently Crystal was selected to take part in the MedStar Nursing Leadership Development Program, in partnership with Wharton.

Crystal also has a Master’s Degree focused in Patient Safety Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

David Mayer, MD

Associate Professor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Mayer is the Executive Director for MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety. He has a strong background in academia, ranging from co-executive director at UIC Institute for Patient Safety Excellence, director of UIC Masters of Science Patient Safety Leadership Program, associate dean for Education, and associate chief medical officer for Quality and Safety Graduate Medical Education. Most recently, Dr. Mayer was one of four medical professionals presented with the 2017 Humanitarian Award from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation for his lifesaving achievements in patient safety. He was also awarded with the Becker’s Health 2017 top 50 people in patient safety. Dr. Mayer also founded and has led the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety: The Telluride Experience for the last ten years.

Carole Hemmelgarn, MS, MS in Patient Safety Leadership

Instructor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Ms. Hemmelgarn has served as a Quality, Safety and Leadership faculty member for the last 6 years and has worked in healthcare for over 30 years. She is a member of multiple associations including: Patient and Family Engagement committee for Solutions for Patient Safety; Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety at MedStar Health; Patient Safety Committee and Target Zero at Children’s Hospital Colorado; Board of Director Collaborative for Accountability and Improvements. She is an active Faculty member for Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety: The Telluride Experience.

Douglas E. Paull, MD, MS, FACS, FCCP, CHSE

Assistant Professor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Paull is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He served as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Wright State University School of Medicine and the VA Medical Center in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He currently works at the VA National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS), sequentially as Co-Director of Medical Team Training, and Director of Patient Safety Curriculum and Medical Simulation. Most recently, he was named Senior Medical Officer / Deputy Director of the NCPS. He is the author of articles, chapters, and a book on the topics of surgery, patient safety, team training, simulation, and high-reliability healthcare organizations.

Peggy A. Weissinger, EdD in Higher Education Administration, MBA

Associate Professor in Family Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Weissinger has worked in higher education since 1990. She currently serves as Director of the Georgetown University Medical Center Teaching Academy for the Health Sciences;  the Associate Director of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE) at Georgetown University Medical Center; Co-Director of the Office of Educational Scholarship, and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine.  She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at The George Washington University; facilitates workshops for the Teachers of Critical Languages Program, a collaboration of the American Councils for International Education and the Department of State; and is an associate with Dee Fink and Associates who offer workshops on Designing Courses for Significant Learning. She is the former Associate Dean for Assessment at Georgetown University School of Medicine.  Her research interests include problem-based learning, critical thinking, and interactive distance education.

Eskandar “Alex” Yazaji, MD

Assistant Professor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Yazaji has been an instructor to medical students and residents for nearly 10 years. He is the Chief Quality & Safety Officer, the Associate Program Director for the internal medicine residency program, and Vice Chairman of Medicine at MedStar Union Memorial and MedStar Good Samaritan Hospitals. He has won multiple teaching awards in the past 7 years. He has worked on multiple safety initiatives to improve quality of care at MedStar such as helping in implementing High Value Care initiatives, reducing Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC), telemetry optimization, and helping in implementing safer patient care initiatives such as Delirium and alcohol withdrawal protocols. 

Richard “Tony” Calabria, MA in Experimental Psychology, CPHQ, CSSBB

Instructor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Mr. Richard (Tony) Calabria is currently the Clinical Quality and Regulatory Programs Director for the Department of Quality & Safety at MedStar Health.  Mr. Calabria holds a BS is Psychology and a MA in Experimental Psychology and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality and Certified Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt.  He has over 15 years of experience in healthcare quality and process improvement.   Throughout his career, Mr. Calabria has facilitated and led clinical quality improvement initiatives and serves as a subject matter expert for CMS and HSCRC Pay for Performance Programs, such as VBP/QBR and HAC/MHAC, as well as for publicly reported metrics, such as Leapfrog and CMS Star Ratings.  Mr. Calabria is active in the Healthcare Quality Community as a board member for the Maryland Association for Healthcare Quality and as a faculty member of the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety.

Judit M. Szolnoki, MD, MS in Patient Safety Leadership

Instructor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Szolnoki is a practicing clinician, a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist. She earned her medical degree from Semmelweis University, Hungary and completed a Master’s of Science in Patient Safety Leadership program. She has experience leading quality improvement and patient safety programs at both hospital and national level. Her organizational leadership experience includes leading a large group of medical faculty at a nationally ranked academic hospital. Her professional interests include change management, leadership development and personal coaching. Dr. Szolnoki has been in a teaching capacity for over 15 years. 

Christine Goeschel, ScD, MPA, MPS, RN

Professor in Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Christine (Chris) Goeschel is a system leader at MedStar Health, currently as Assistant Vice President in the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety (MIQS) and inaugural Director of the Center for Improving Healthcare Diagnosis. She is keenly interested in cultivating clinical and administrative leadership to improve the science of health care delivery and in improving the diagnostic process.

A professor in the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr Goeschel also serves as Associate Faculty in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she co-directs a required course in the Master of Hospital Administration program.

In addition to her Doctor of Science in Health System Management, Dr. Goeschel earned two Masters’ degrees: one in Public Administration and another in Pastoral Studies.

Dr. Goeschel has published more than 70 articles and several book chapters related to quality and patient safety, and the measurement and evaluation of safety efforts.

Kelly M. Smith, Ph.D.

Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies

Kelly Smith, PhD is the senior director of quality and safety research at the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety. Dr. Smith holds a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada). As an implementation scientist and health services researcher, Dr. Smith’s research focuses on coproducing practical solutions to challenges of healthcare delivery with a focus on patient safety and quality improvement. Notably, she is a leading investigator in patient oriented research, forging partnerships with patients to codesign research to improve the quality and safety of healthcare delivery.  

Dr. Smith has served as a consultant for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and hospital systems in Southern Ontario examining access to and effectiveness of cardiovascular services in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Smith has held personnel awards and fellowships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Federation of University Women, the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Dr. Smith is the author of several peer-reviewed publications in Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Heart, Chest, Quality & Safety in Healthcare among others. She has presented her work in patient safety, quality improvement, and patient-centered approaches to chronic disease management at several national and international conferences. Dr. Smith receives research funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes of Health, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Invited Speakers

Sebastian Little

Mental Performance & Leadership Coach

Sebastian Little is dedicated to creating spaces for full self- expression and play. He operates his own coaching and consulting practice, where he partners with leaders and teams to build leadership competencies, high-performance practices, and team culture.

Sebastian worked as a consultant at the McChrystal Group, a management consulting and leadership development firm in Washington, D.C., founded by retired 4-star general Stan McChrystal. He is a graduate of Yale University and former varsity football athlete. During his Yale tenure, he partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence as both a student and an intern, creating a curriculum on emotionally intelligent leadership. He received his ACCC professional coach certification through the Accomplishment Coaching training program.

Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS

Scientific Director, National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar HealthAssociate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine

Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS is the Scientific Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Affiliate Faculty at Georgetown Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics, and Adjunct Faculty at Catholic University Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Miller is a clinically oriented human factors researcher focusing on medical decision making, informatics, and the assessment of medical interventions with an emphasis on usability, human error, and patient safety. Her portfolio includes federally funded work from the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Science Foundation, and the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Her experience spans three public health degrees, a post-doctorate with the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety, and experience with multiple healthcare systems including the Veterans Health Administration, Johns Hopkins, and Christiana Care Health System. Kristen is an influential promoter of programs that further the career of early-career research scientists and female professionals in research and public health. Her research interests also include an evaluation of the ethical, legal, and policy implications of health information technology and digital health tools. She is currently a Master of Science in Law student at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Rollin J (Terry) Fairbanks, MD MS FACEP CPPS

Vice President, Quality & Safety, MedStar HealthProfessor of Emergency Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Fairbanks is a professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University and vice president, Quality & Safety for MedStar Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system in the Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington DC region, with 10 hospitals, 280 outpatient sites, 31,000 associates, and $5.6B annual revenue. Dr. Fairbanks was the founding director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare. He is a board-certified emergency physician and practices at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. Trained in safety science prior to entering medical school, Dr. Fairbanks holds a safety-focused master’s degree in human factors engineering/industrial systems engineering and holds an academic appointment as adjunct associate professor of Industrial Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo. A former paramedic, licensed pilot, EMS Medical Director, and EMS regional quality leader, Dr. Fairbanks uses his safety engineering background to apply the science of safety and human factors engineering to medical systems. His work has been funded by the NIH, AHRQ, ONC, and several foundations. Dr. Fairbanks is a member of the IHI Faculty, and has served in many national and international advisory roles in healthcare safety, including as a member of the National Patient Safety Foundation Board of Advisors, the POLITICO Health IT Advisory Forum, member of the UK Health IT Advisory Committee, and in advisory roles for Pew Charitable Trusts, American Medical Association, and for the United States, Spanish, Australian, and British governments. Dr. Fairbanks has authored more than 150 publications and a book on healthcare safety and human factors engineering. He has completed the Wharton School’s MedStar Health/Healthy Companies Physician Leadership Program, and the NPSF/AHA Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship, and was recently listed in Becker’s Hospital Review “Top 50 Experts Leading the Field of Patient Safety.”

Raj Ratwani, PhD

Vice President of Scientific Affairs, MedStar Health Research Institute; Director, MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare; Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine

Dr. Ratwani is the Director of the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. As a director he oversees the Center’s vision and strategy and has overall responsibility for Center activities. He is also an active applied researcher serving as principal investigator on numerous grants and contracts, including two research project grant (R01) awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which are among the most prestigious grants. Raj has expertise in health information technology, usability and safety, interruptions and workflow, data visualization, and modeling. Raj’s research has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Pew Charitable Trusts, and industry partners. His work has been published in high-impact journals such as The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and Health Affairs and has influenced both policy and frontline clinical practice. His research has been featured by Politico, Fortune, Kaiser Health News, National Public Radio (NPR), and many other media outlets. He serves on the federal 21st Century Cures Act Health Information Technology Advisory Committee and has testified to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He holds a doctorate in human factors and applied cognition and was a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He enjoys spending time with family, traveling, distance running, and tennis.

Beje Thomas, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University

Dr. Thomas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).  He joined the faculty in 2018 and his primary clinical duties are with the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.  Prior to coming to Georgetown, he completed his transplant nephrology fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) where he would remain on as faculty. While at MUSC he was the transplant fellowship director and the interim medical director of the kidney transplant program.  He would move onto the University of Maryland Medical Center subsequently would be the associate nephrology fellowship director.

Dr. Thomas is passionate about medical education.  He has an interest in the use of social media in education and completed the Nephrology Social Media Collaborative Internship and has produced blogposts and participated in twitter journal clubs.  Here at Georgetown he is an associate member of the GUMC Teaching Academy.  He has a great interest in being an alley for diversity and inclusiveness in the medical field. Dr. Thomas is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Georgetown School of Medicine’s Bias Reduction and Improvement Coaching Program where he trained to discuss the science, impact, and best practices to mitigate bias.   He is also a member of the Georgetown Medical School’s Racial Justice Committee and the GUMC Department of Medicine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. 

Katy Robinson, MPT, MBA

Director, Performance Improvement Training and Education, MedStar Health

Katy is the Director for Performance Improvement Training & Education at MedStar Health. In this role she is responsible for developing a standardized performance improvement (PI) curriculum and educating associates throughout the MedStar system in PI methodology and tools.

Katy is a physical therapist by background and has 19 years of healthcare experience in all settings of the healthcare spectrum. She has had the privilege of following patients from acute care, to skilled nursing facilities, to home care and the outpatient setting. After obtaining her Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt certification in 2014, Katy left PT (other than the occasional consult for a friend in pain) to pursue PI work full time. Prior to her current role she was the Director of PI and Quality at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopaedic Institute where she established the PI foundation for the hospital. She holds a Master of Physical Therapy and a MBA.

Edmund A. Tori, DO, FACP, CHT

Director, The Influence Center at the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2)

During COVID Dr. Tori shifted the work of The Influence Center to focus on providing front-line support. He served as the Co-Lead for the Care for the Caregiver program with a focus on scaling across all 10 hospitals in MedStar Health’s distributed care delivery network – helping to institute a 24/7 peer support hotline, on-the-ground Wellness Stations, regular Wellness Rounds and Wellness Office Hours, escalation pathways, and system-coordination for access to other employee resources.

Dr. Tori studies and speaks on influence and persuasion across industries. His sense of humor, use of real world experience, and deep clinical background creates a learning opportunity for his audiences that is unlike anything else they have experienced. Audiences engage, laugh, and learn and leave his presentations with concrete, actionable takeaways.

His training in influence and persuasion comes from over a decade working with experts in diverse influence domains including coaching, social sciences, direct response marketing, advertising, game design, copywriting, hypnosis, neurolinguistic programming, facial profiling, parenting, public speaking, internet marketing and others. Dr. Tori is certified in hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

In addition to this work, Ed runs several websites on health care training, influence, and humor. He has an influence coaching practice for busy professionals who want to be great parents. A father of six, he teaches entrepreneurship to children and he runs his own mobile game company.

Dr. Tori previously served as a hospitalist and as the Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Step-Down Unit at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, MD where he was responsible for running peri-operative cardiac services.

Ed completed his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine followed by a residency in internal medicine at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital where he was both Chief Resident and Resident of the Year. Dr. Tori is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies from Cornell University.

Bryan O. Buckley, DrPH, MPH

Research Fellow, MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety

Dr. Bryan O. Buckley is a multi-dimensional healthcare professional, educator, and researcher in healthcare delivery system redesign, performance improvement, and change management. He has training and demonstrated success applying various performance improvement, leadership, strategy, and change management methodologies. Currently, Dr. Buckley is a Research Fellow with Medstar Health’s Institute for Quality and Safety (MIQS), where he contributes to translational health service research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women, and on a study that aims to improve diagnostic teamwork and measurement of diagnostic opportunities. He holds a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health focused on management, strategy, leadership, and organizational change. Before his doctoral studies, Dr. Buckley worked at a state hospital association, where he was responsible for the codesign and leadership of state-wide patient-safety and quality improvement (i.e., MHA Keystone: CAUTI Collaborative and MHA Keystone: Care Transitions), efforts that engaged 132 hospitals to focus on safety culture, person and family engagement, readmissions, health equity, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), adverse events, and group learning events. As a member of the American Public Health Association, he has served as a Board Member of the Black Caucus of Health Workers, Action Board representative, Governing Councilor and Policy Committee Chair for the Community Health Planning & Policy Development (CHPPD) section. In addition to his DrPH, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Microbiology from Michigan State University and a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Infectious Diseases and Administration from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.