Armstrong Institute Profiles

Ephrem Abebe, Ph.D.

Ephrem is a postdoctoral research fellow — working under the supervision of Dr. Ayse Gurses — at the Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. He is a pharmacist-health services researcher whose research interests mainly lie in understanding and mitigating hazards to safe medication use and delivery systems across the health care continuum including, in the inpatient, ambulatory, and community care settings. More broadly, Ephrem’s scholarly interests also focus on large-scale organizational changes targeted at improving safety and quality of patient care across healthcare institutions.

Luis M. Ahumada, Ph.D., M.S.C.S.

Executive Director of Advanced Technologies and Data Science, Johns Hopkins Health System

Luis M. Ahumada has recently assumed the role of Executive Director of Advanced Technologies and Data Science at Johns Hopkins Health System, bringing with him a wealth of expertise. In this capacity, Luis will lead the strategic planning, execution, and dissemination of state-of-the-art analytics and data science solutions within the Armstrong Institute. His primary focus will revolve around strengthening the hospital's commitment to patient care, research, education, and advocacy by establishing and enhancing a resilient data science infrastructure.

With six years of experience as Director of Health Data Science and Analytics at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Luis has a proven track record of planning, implementing, and leading systemwide analytic solutions. Notably, he founded the Center for Pediatric Data Science and Analytic Methodology, a pioneering hub for artificial intelligence and machine learning research projects. Before his tenure at JHACH, Luis led the data science team at the esteemed Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Luis holds a master’s degree in computer science from Villanova University and earned his PhD in information science and technology from Drexel University. 

Scott Burkett, B.S., C.S.S.B.B.

Assistant Director, Lean Sigma Deployment

A Lean Sigma Black Belt, Burkett joined the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in 2015, bringing more than 15 years of experience leading, coaching and mentoring projects in manufacturing, business and health care. During his career, Burkett has been able to share the tenets of Lean Sigma with numerous cross-functional teams and Green Belts to make improvements in perioperative care, intensive care units and pharmacies.

His experience includes work at Nabisco, Kraft and Loyola University Health System in Chicago.

Burkett earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

Cheryl Connors, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C.

Patient Safety Specialist

Cheryl Connors is a patient safety specialist for the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. She is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating safety programs throughout the hospital. Her primary responsibility is to serve as the director for the RISE (Resiliency In Stressful Events) team which she co-led the development and implementation of. The RISE team currently provides trained peer support for Johns Hopkins Hospital employees who encounter stressful, patient related events.

Connors works with the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) teams to promote a culture of sharing and learning from defects, and to work toward meeting safety goals. She also has responsibility for the debriefing of the Safety Culture Assessment Survey house-wide and is faculty for the TeamSTEPPS training program at AI.

Connors received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree from the University of Alabama in 2019. She has a clinical background in pediatrics, where she developed a passion to improve patient safety. Connors led the Josie King Safety team for several years at Johns Hopkins before advancing her career in nursing leadership. Connors officially became a patient safety specialist in 2012.

Connors has presented on safety topics both nationally and internationally (Qatar, Okinawa, and Saudi Arabia) and has facilitated the education of staff and the establishment of safety teams in the Military Health System. She collaborates with Johns Hopkins' schools of nursing, public health and medicine on teamwork and communication and patient safety programs.

Michael Dexter, M.A., R.R.T., C.S.S.B.B., C.A.P.

Manager, Clinical Quality Improvement

Michael Dexter is the Manager of Clinical Quality Improvement - Pediatrics with Johns Hopkins Hospital.  He manages projects and initiatives to mitigate risks and improve quality performance within The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (JHCC).  In addition, he partners with Medical Directors of Quality for JHCC in identifying, planning, executing, and reporting on activities related to JHCC strategic objectives and other improvement priorities, professional practice evaluation, and quality of care concerns.  

Michael joined Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2020.  Beginning his career as a respiratory therapist, he became Manager of Respiratory Care Services and eventually became Interim Director of Respiratory Services for Methodist University Hospital.  Michael left the field of respiratory care in 2008 and transitioned to the Information Science Division as the Manager of the Information System team.   In 2015, Michael transitioned to Quality Improvement, joining Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital as the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Project Manager.  He spent four (4) years as a Malcolm Baldridge National Board Examiner, focusing on the strategic plans of healthcare organizations.

Outside of his patient safety and quality work, Michael enjoys exercising, visiting his grandchildren, volunteering, and watching the Memphis Grizzlies.

Peter Doyle, Ph.D.

Peter Doyle is a human factors engineer with 35 years of experience performing human factors analysis, design and test activities in the fields of nuclear power generation, defense contracting, simulation and training, information and communication systems, and health care and medicine. Given his interest in analysis and design he orients his efforts to applied solutions for operational challenges. Since 2007, he has worked in the Clinical Engineering Services department at The Johns Hopkins Hospital using accepted human factors methodologies and established human factors design criteria in the design and improvement of information-based, mechanical and process technologies. He addresses patient safety issues to assess and control risk associated with medical devices, work processes and information technologies.

Examples of projects include medical device evaluation and selection, design for alarm management, tubing misconnections studies, prototype development and testing of infusion pump design, simulations to assess and improve delivery of emergency services, integration of nurse call and communication systems and participation in root cause analyses of events involving patient harm. He also evaluates critical care processes via hands-on simulations and conducts usability analyses of medical devices and information technologies. Pete has worked collaboratively with the Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation on national level efforts to improve infusion pump design and to assist in the integration of complex medical technologies into health care settings.

Ashimiyu Durojaiye, M.B.B.S., M.S.

Ash is a health informatics Ph.D. candidate on the Human Factors team at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. He comes from a medical background, has a broad skill-set in information technology and has completed informatics training at the master level. Ash is interested in the application of quantitative and qualitative methods to improve clinical processes.

Richard Hill, B.S., C.L.S.B.B.

Assistant Director, Lean Sigma Deployment, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

A Lean Sigma Master Black Belt, Hill has led Lean Sigma classes and coached Green Belts at Johns Hopkins since 2005. With 15 years of experience in the aerospace industry, Hill has achieved significant depth in the areas of Lean, Six Sigma, team dynamics and facilitation, and has led many cross-functional process improvement teams over the years. Leveraging this experience, he has served as a mentor to numerous Green Belts.

Hill received a B.S. in Business Administration/Management from Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Sadaf Kazi, Ph.D.

Sadaf Kazi is a Human Factors Researcher at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research work has explored how human cognition is shaped by the environment in which it operates by considering the effect of dynamic system variables such as uncertainty, time pressure, etc., on cognitive variables such as vigilance and prospective memory. She conducts research on cognitive and teamwork factors influencing performance in a variety of healthcare environments, and collaborates with the patient safety team to conduct proactive risk assessment in healthcare delivery.

Paula Kent, DrPH, M.S.N., M.B.A., R.N., CPPS

Patient Safety Specialist
TeamSTEPPS Program Lead

Paula Kent is a patient safety specialist for the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. She is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating safety programs throughout the hospital. Her primary responsibility involves working with the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) teams to promote a culture of sharing and learning from defects, and to work toward meeting safety goals. In this capacity, she is able to observe the safety and teamwork cultures across the organization, and especially on CUSP teams. Kent works with organizational leaders to onboard them to the CUSP Executive role and partner them with new teams. She also has responsibility for the debriefing of the Safety Culture Assessment Survey house-wide annually and is responsible for oversight of the TeamSTEPPS training program at AI.

She has a Doctor of Public Health, a Master's of Nursing and an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and has a certificate in Patient Safety from IHI. She has worked in Patient Safety for more than 10 years and has an interest in measurement and monitoring of the performance of health care organizations to improve the culture of safety and delivery of safe patient care.

Kent has presented on safety topics both nationally and internationally (Mexico, Great Britain, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Korea) and has facilitated the education of staff and the establishment of safety teams in the United Arab Emirates. She collaborates with Johns Hopkins' schools of nursing, public health and medicine, and the Armstrong Institute on teamwork and communication and patient safety programs.

Samuel Kim, B.A.

Samuel is a research program coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. His main project at Johns Hopkins is the BREATHE2 Study, under supervision of Dr. Hanan Aboumatar, primary investigator. His research focus is the evaluation of patient-centered communication and dissemination strategies and their impact on patients’ self-management behavior and quality of life. Broadly, Samuel’s interests lie in the development and implementation of health care policy and practice in private and public sectors.

Erin Kirley, B.S.

Erin Kirley is a Senior Research Coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. She currently manages two quality improvement/patient safety research projects: the AHRQ funded Quality and Safety Review System Pilot Test in Hospitals; and the PCORI funded project, A Roadmap for Establishing Peer Support Programs in Research and the Real World. Erin also coordinated the development of a curriculum for primary care teams on the collaborative project between the Armstrong Institute and the American Medical Association. The project was part of the AMA’s Improving Health Outcomes initiative, and the objective was to develop a program to help clinicians identify and treat patients with undiagnosed hypertension.

Erin joined the Armstrong Institute in August 2012 as an Administrative Coordinator, providing support on multiple research projects, including a national improvement project to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care units and the Armstrong Institute’s national initiative on surgical safety. Prior to joining the Armstrong Institute, Erin was the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Facilities for The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.

Wilson Lamy, B.S., C.S.S.M.B.B.

Assistant Director, Lean Sigma Deployment

A Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Wilson joined the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in 2016. Wilson has over 18 years of experience in the business sector leading, coaching, mentoring and facilitating teams in Operations cross-functionally from manufacturing to supply chain.

As part of the AI Lean Sigma Team, Wilson drives continuous improvement through the deployment of Lean across Clinical Communities, Academic and Community Hospitals. Through teaching and coaching, he builds the capacity of healthcare professionals, to enable the improvement of healthcare experience across the Johns Hopkins Health System.

Lamy earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Architectural Engineering from Drexel University.

Nicolette M. McGeorge, Ph.D.

Nicolette is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is an industrial and systems engineer specializing in human factors and cognitive systems engineering. Her research interests include application of cognitive engineering methods in healthcare and health information technology, as well as the study of decision making in complex, dynamic environments.

Steven J. Meurer, M.B.A., M.H.S., Ph.D.

Director, Center for Healthcare Analytics & Improvement
Assistant Professor in Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Steve Meurer is a Healthcare Performance Improvement expert focused on improving health systems’ quality, safety, finances and operations. He brings 30+ years of education and experience in improvement science as well as 20+ years of teaching Masters students, and 1,000+ presentations to health systems providing leaders with an increased ability to improve performance.

Prior to his role at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Meurer was the Executive Principal of Data Science & Member Insights at Vizient.  Dr. Meurer was the senior-most subject matter expert in the use of data from Vizient’s Clinical Data Base to drive performance improvement, and presented improvement opportunities to leaders at almost every health system in the US. Prior to this role, Dr. Meurer was Senior Vice President at University Health System Consortium (UHC) where he led all aspects of UHC’s comparative data portfolio, including sales, support, methodology and information technology. UHC was a founding organization of Vizient, and Dr. Meurer spent 17 years at these organizations.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Meurer was Chief Quality & Information Officer at the DeKalb Health System in Atlanta, where he led the integration of Quality and Information Technology, and subsequently managed 200+ people. Dr. Meurer has also held positions of increasing responsibility at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, PA; BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, MO; University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; and Orlando (FL) Regional Healthcare System.

Dr. Meurer also spent 15 years as Associate Professor at Rush University, where he taught Quality & Operations in Healthcare to Master of Healthcare Administration students.  Dr. Meurer has also taught at Loyola University Chicago, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and Temple University. Dr. Meurer is an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Medical Quality, and is the Administration Group Leader for the Health Professions Educators’ Summer Symposium (HPESS).

Dr. Meurer earned a PhD in Health Services Research at Saint Louis University with a dissertation entitled ‘Quality Improvement Implementation in Hospitals’; a Master of Business Administration & Master of Health Science at the University of Florida; and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross. He holds a Certificate in Healthcare Quality & Informatics from Intermountain Healthcare.

Mohammad Naqibuddin, M.D.

Mohammad Naqibuddin is a research program manager at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. His current research includes the BREATHE and BREATHE2 studies, which seek to improve health-related quality of life and reduce health care costs for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Following his medical education from Dhaka University, Bangladesh, he pursued his postgraduate studies and postdoctoral research fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine, respectively. His current scholarly interests focus on COPD and patient-centered outcome research. Since 1999, he has been working at Johns Hopkins in different research projects that include prostate cancer, lupus, brain function, HIV, depression and diabetes.

His passion includes health education in different media. He was elected by the viewers as the best television host in Bangladesh for his general knowledge/health education show. He regularly participates in Voice of America services radio and television programs for international audiences.

Diane O’Connor, M.B.A.

Executive Director for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Diane guides Johns Hopkins Health System’s patient safety and quality to support the delivery of exceptional patient care wherever our patients access us. In collaboration with member organizations, health system leaders, clinical departments, service lines and external experts, Diane will work to improve patient outcomes and ensure the highest performance.  

Diane’s extensive background in healthcare management, quality and safety operations started decades ago in consulting. During the last 10 years, she has served as senior corporate director of quality and patient experience for Mass General Brigham. Her track record demonstrates that she consistently exceeds goals and improves processes while advancing multiple, concurrent programs to improve patient outcomes. She has guided the strategic development of an enterprise patient experience vision, established care policies and processes to advance the delivery of equitable healthcare, translated payer policy and negotiated incentives to succeed in value-based contracting and led hospital and ambulatory quality and safety improvement as well as practitioner credentialing and well-being.   
Before her work for Mass General Brigham, Diane held roles in engineering, investment banking, and hospital and nonprofit consulting, and she was the managing partner of a startup home care services company. She hails from Chicago and raised her family in Boston. She has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Illinois.

Cagla Oruc, M.S.

Cagla Oruc is a Research Assistant on the Human Factors team at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. She is an Industrial Engineer with experience in fields of supply chain, process improvement and project management. Her research interests include human factors engineering applications in areas of patient safety and global health.

Patience Osei, M.S.E.

Patience is the Quality and Innovation Project Administrator on the Human Factors team at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. She is a Biomedical Engineer with a broad technical skill-set, research and project management experience, as well as extensive international exposure. She is passionate about patient safety, global health and the development of high-quality, low-cost medical devices and processes for different healthcare settings. Her research interests include the application of human factors engineering to infection control and prevention.

Erica Reinhardt, M.S., R.D., C.L.S.S.B.B.

Assistant Director, Lean Sigma Deployment, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Erica Reinhardt began working in hospitals as a registered dietitian in 2006, transitioning into a food service director role, where she gained health care operations experience. During this time, Erica earned her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and led and participated in several Lean Sigma projects.

Currently, Erica leads continuous improvement efforts at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She mentors leaders through process improvement, educates on Lean tools and concepts, supports Lean Sigma projects and Lean Daily Management work, and leads Kaizen events.

Reinhardt received a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Nutritional Sciences. She then attended Clemson University, where she completed her dietetic internship and earned her master's degree in Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Sciences.

Laura J. Sigman, M.D., J.D.

Executive Director for Strategic Solutions, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Assistant Chief, Eudowood Division of Quality and Safety, Department of Pediatrics

Laura Sigman joined the Armstrong Institute in January 2024 as the Executive Director for Strategic Solutions. In this role, she leads the educational and external partnership teams to support, integrate, and develop initiatives that drive quality, safety, and service within Johns Hopkins Medicine and through external partnerships.  

Dr. Sigman is committed to driving innovation and systems improvements. She enjoys solving complex problems at the intersection of healthcare and the legal, regulatory, and financial structures governing it. Dr. Sigman has worked with health care companies to develop successful business strategies, including with an asynchronous telehealth provider that now contracts with Amazon; a health fintech company; a medical coding company held by private equity; and an AI-based pain management app. She’s served in progressive leadership roles in prior healthcare institutions, including as associate director of patient safety for a large pediatric emergency department; associate medical director of a pediatric emergency group at a community hospital; and as a risk manager in a hospital legal department. She sees patients in the pediatric emergency department.

Dr. Sigman has a track record of building collaborative, multidisciplinary partnerships of diverse stakeholders to drive operational outcomes and improve safety, efficiency, and quality for patients and providers. She has led a hospital-wide committee to improve safety event reporting; consulted on strategic and financial boards; and worked to improve revenue capture and insurance reimbursements. As a nonprofit board member, she led efforts to manage risks, set infection control policies, and guide reopenings during the pandemic.

Dr. Sigman completed law school at Harvard, medical school at the University of Chicago, and residency in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins. Early in her career, she worked for the Department of Justice as an honors program attorney on cases involving Medicare, Medicaid, and FDA law, and at the National Research Council of the National Academies.


Residency: Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane Pediatric Residency
MD, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
JD, Harvard Law School

Kristen Webster, Ph.D.

Kristen is a postdoctoral research fellow who is jointly appointed at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Surgery. She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Ph.D. in Human Factors, specializing in socio-cultural and communication applications. Her interests focus on improving patient safety by examining socio-cultural and communication process present within the health care system. She has focused on development and implementation of interventions to enhance communication, coordination and teamwork in health care settings.

Kristina Weeks, M.H.S.

Weeks is a member of the faculty in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and the Armstrong Institute. 

She is also one of the project managers of the national project On the CUSP: Stop BSI. Ms. Weeks holds a Master of Health Science degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Weeks's research interests focus on the translation of evidence-based medicine to safe and quality care at the bedside as well as effective health policy.

For more than a decade she has dedicated her efforts in health services research towards understanding health systems related to patient safety and health disparities in the clinical environment. She has contributed to publications on access to care, quality of care at the end of life, and patient safety.

Laura Winner, Dr.PH, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A.

Senior Director of Operational Excellence, Lean Sigma Deployment at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute

A Master Black Belt in Lean Sigma, Winner has managed the instruction and coaching for the projects of hundreds of health care Green Belts. Winner earned her B.S.N. from The Johns Hopkins University, followed by an M.B.A. in the Business of Medicine program at The Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies. She received her Six Sigma Black Belt Certification from Motorola University and has over 10 years of clinical nursing experience at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Emergency Nursing and Cardiology.