Dr. Timothy Eberlein

Our surgical divisions address patient safety through multiple realms. One is improving quality through standardizing procedures, creating workflows and achieving needed cost reductions while ensuring patient safety. Creating a psychologically safe environment in the operating room – encouraging each team member to be engaged and speak up when something doesn’t seem right – reduces medical errors. We also achieve better patient outcomes by comparing treatment effectiveness and translating medical and surgical breakthroughs into everyday practice.

Many of these efforts are presented in our annual symposium of patient safety and clinical effectiveness projects. Our surgeons, from every division, are fully engaged in quality improvement efforts and have dramatically improved outcomes in our patients.

Our quality and safety measures tracked through the Vizient system show our work is succeeding. The department’s ratio of observed over expected mortality is in the top decile.

All of this is possible with our faculty’s tremendous individual and collaborative efforts. Historically, we have celebrated our leaders, and three of them received very special recognition this year. Nationally renowned thoracic surgeon Alec Patterson, MD, who joined us in 1991 after participating on the surgical team that performed the world’s first successful lung transplant, is only our fourth living and second active surgeon to have a department endowed chair in his name. This chair goes to Daniel Kreisel, MD, PhD, our lung transplant program director who also does groundbreaking research. Steven Strasberg, MD, received the American Surgical Association’s Medallion for the Advancement of Surgical Care, and emeritus professor Gregorio Sicard, MD, was awarded the Society for Vascular Surgery Lifetime Achievement Award. Each of these surgeons improved care for their patients.

Education Vice Chair Mary Klingensmith, MD, became the inaugural director of the medical school’s Academy of Health Professions Educators, promoting teaching excellence and leadership. Bettina Drake, PhD, MPH, is now the associate director of cancer health equity for the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Members of our training programs continue to innovate and lead.

This report shows the impact on patient care of these many initiatives.

Timothy Eberlein, MD

William K. Bixby Professor of Surgery
Chair, Department of Surgery
Washington University School of Medicine
Director, Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center