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Armstrong Institute Leadership


Allen Kachalia

Allen Kachalia, M.D., J.D.

Allen Kachalia, M.D., J.D., will become the director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine, effective Dec. 1.

During his nearly 20-year career in medicine, Kachalia has served in a variety of key roles, including leadership positions. Currently he is chief quality officer and vice president for quality and safety at Brigham Health in Boston, which includes an 800-bed academic medical center, a 160-bed community hospital and a 1,600-member physician organization. As a member of the hospital’s senior leadership team, Kachalia provides oversight for inpatient and ambulatory quality, safety, patient experience, risk management, clinical compliance and biomedical engineering. In this role, Kachalia built a provider-based electronic mortality review system that other health care systems are modeling, and has led several initiatives to further ambulatory safety and transparency in medicine. He has also helped establish a board quality committee that regularly reports on and drives quality performance. Kachalia is a general internist and is clinically active as an academic hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

In a note to staff, Paul B. Rothman, M.D., dean of the medical faculty and CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Kevin W. Sowers, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, welcomed Kachalia and cited his experience, leadership and expertise. They said Kachalia’s “research background in legal issues in medicine and how they relate to the quality and safety of patient care will be instrumental in his new position.”

As senior vice president, Kachalia will oversee patient safety and quality initiatives across Johns Hopkins Medicine aimed at ending preventable harm, improving clinical outcomes and patient experience, and reducing waste in health care delivery. As the director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Kachalia will direct academic and scholarly efforts of the institute, which was formed thanks to a $10 million gift from C. Michael Armstrong — former chairman of the Johns Hopkins Medicine board of trustees — as an infrastructure to lead, coordinate and support Johns Hopkins’ patient safety and quality efforts.

“I am thrilled to take on these new roles, which come with many important responsibilities addressing some of the biggest challenges facing health care and academic medical centers today,” Kachalia says. “I look forward to bringing a fusion of my academic and operational experience to help advance John Hopkins Medicine’s goals to deliver the best patient care possible to all.”

Kachalia first joined Brigham Health in 2003, and was promoted to associate medical director of Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization in 2004. He became associate chief quality officer for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2011, before being promoted to chief quality officer and vice president for quality and safety in 2014. Kachalia joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 2003, where he currently is an associate professor of medicine. He is also an associate professor of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Kachalia is passionate about research on legal issues in medicine, including malpractice system reform and disclosure of medical error, and how these issues relate to the quality and safety of medical care.

Kachalia received a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and business economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He earned his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and he completed an internal medicine residency, including serving one year as chief resident, at the University of Michigan. He also holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Interim Leadership

sean berenholtz

Sean Berenholtz, M.D.

Interim Director, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

Dr. Berenholtz is a practicing anesthesiologist, a critical care physician, a patient safety researcher and health care leader who has served as a core faculty member at the Armstrong Institute since its creation in 2011.

He has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than a dozen grants or contracts to develop, implement and evaluate patient safety improvement efforts, including state, national and international programs focused on improving teamwork and reducing hospital-acquired infections.

He has authored more than 100 articles and chapters in the fields of patient safety, health care quality and evidence-based medicine.

Learn more about Dr. Berenholtz.

renee demski

Renee Demski, M.S.W., M.B.A.

Interim Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine

As vice president for quality for the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Health System, Ms. Demski has been instrumental in developing a robust, disciplined process to improve results in quality and safety of care.

Among other projects, she has led the strategic design and implementation of the National Leader Strategy, a campaign to achieve top performance on publicly reported quality measures. This effort resulted in Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals winning multiple recognitions, including the Joint Commission Top Performer and Delmarva Foundation’s Excellence awards.

Ms. Demski also co-leads the institute-organized clinical communities and pathways — about 20 teams of experts working across the Johns Hopkins Health System to improve care and reduce costs in areas such as spine surgery and blood management.

Learn more about Ms. Demski.