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Hickson named to new quality, safety role

Jul. 18, 2013, 9:34 AM

Gerald Hickson, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Health Affairs, associate dean for Faculty Affairs and the Joseph C. Ross Professor of Medical Education and Administration, is being promoted to the newly created position of senior vice president for Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Prevention.

Gerald Hickson, M.D.

In this new position Hickson will serve as the Chief Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Prevention Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and all Vanderbilt University-related entities. Hickson will report directly to C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs, senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System.

“This new position effectively consolidates oversight responsibilities from across the clinical enterprise within the areas of quality improvement, patient safety and risk prevention to bring greater strategic alignment to these intrinsically related missions. Dr. Hickson is uniquely qualified to serve in this role,” said Pinson.

“In addition to being widely known and well respected throughout the Medical Center, Dr. Hickson is an esteemed national expert in these areas. From his outstanding performance I know he will make significant contributions in these areas and I am pleased he has accepted this new position.”

Hickson, a pediatrician by training and a member of the faculty since 1982, has served in an array of diverse and critical roles during his tenure at Vanderbilt.

A former vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Hickson currently serves as associate dean for Faculty Affairs and as the founder and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy.

With his new role, Hickson will relinquish these responsibilities but continue to serve as assistant vice chancellor for Health Affairs and as director for Risk Prevention.

“I am honored with the opportunity to partner with so many great colleagues committed to ensuring that care received anywhere within the Vanderbilt system is safe, kind and of the highest quality possible,” said Hickson.

A national expert in medical malpractice, its causes, and prevention, both Hickson and the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy are recognized leaders in outcomes-based research on the incidence and prevalence of litigation in the medical profession — why families choose to file lawsuits, why certain physicians attract a disproportionate share of malpractice claims and how to identify and intervene with high risk physicians.

In this new role Hickson will be charged with furthering the Vanderbilt way for addressing safety and quality, bringing greater alignment among the Medical Center’s efforts to improve quality and the patient experience through collaborations spanning the institution with informatics, hospital operations, learning initiatives and the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network. He will provide leadership in the conceptualization, development, implementation and measurement of the Medical Center’s approach to quality, patient safety and adverse event reduction.

Hickson is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed his residency and fellowship training at Vanderbilt. He is currently serving a two-year term as chairman of the National Patient Safety Foundation Board of Directors as well as chairman of the Certification Board for Professional and Patient Safety.

He is the author of numerous scholarly publications and publications intended for other audiences on the topics of patient safety, quality and delivery of health care services and prevention of medical malpractice.

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