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Sandberg named Chief of Staff for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital

Jul. 7, 2021, 2:32 PM


by John Howser

Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD

Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, and Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital’s (VUAH) chief of staff for Perioperative and Critical Care Service, has been named as the hospital’s new Chief of Staff effective immediately. Through this promotion, Sandberg, who is also professor of Surgery and Biomedical Informatics, is expanding the scope of his responsibilities to include oversight for all adult inpatient admissions and discharges and inpatient surgical and intensive care throughput goals.

Since 2018, Sandberg has served as VUAH’s co-chief of staff during a period of sustained growth in inpatient volumes driven in part by a massive influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients throughout much of 2020.

“Dr. Sandberg demonstrates outstanding leadership capabilities, along with considerable knowledge of the inner workings of our adult inpatient services. He has helped other members of the hospital’s leadership team address the ever-increasing demand for the tertiary and quaternary services that only VUMC offers. The experience he has gained over the past three years has prepared him well to help meet the hospital’s ongoing growth. I want to express my appreciation to Warren for this service in this new role,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

Sandberg is internationally recognized for his expertise in the use of information systems data in the perioperative setting to continuously improve quality, safety and efficiency of care. His research focuses on clinical and medical informatics and examines factors affecting physician-patient communication, patient care technology, perioperative systems design and OR workflow management.

“Over the past three years Dr. Sandberg’s leadership and operational expertise have been invaluable to the success of our inpatient services, never more so than during the COVID pandemic. Broadening his responsibilities acknowledges this and positions him well to influence all aspects of VUMC’s adult inpatient operations,” said David Raiford, MD, Chief of Clinical Staff for VUMC.

As chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and as VUAH Co-Chief of Staff Sandberg has championed numerous initiatives using clinical process and outcome data to drive care improvements.

Teams working in his area have helped patients recover more quickly from major surgery, leave the hospital earlier and have fewer side effects from their pain management, all without increased rates of unexpected readmission. In step with reductions in patients’ length of stay, the cost of care has decreased due to improved efficiency.

“It has been a true pleasure to watch Dr. Sandberg lead in partnership with our multidisciplinary team to ensure exemplary care for our patients. His consistency in ensuring that we as leaders go to the front lines to gather facts, gain insights and empower those close to the work has made a demonstrable impact. I look forward to watching him succeed and make an even bigger difference for our patients and families as he takes on this larger scope,” said Shon Dwyer, MBA, RN, President of VUAH.

Sandberg was recruited to VUMC in 2010 to serve as department chair for Anesthesiology. As chair, he has responsibility for the Department of Anesthesiology’s entire administrative, research, educational and clinical enterprise.

The department is currently home to more than 180 anesthesiologists, 180 nurse anesthetists and 100 trainees. The department is currently ranked No. 11 in National Institutes of Health research funding. Its faculty routinely participates in or leads institutional initiatives designed to improve access to and the reliability of care delivery, and patient throughput and quality.

“I’ve always enjoyed building things and taking whatever I found around me and making it better,” said Sandberg.  “During my time at VUMC, I’ve appreciated the central importance of building relationships, personal and professional, as the key to success in all other endeavors we undertake on behalf of our patients. VUMC is the preferred place where patients place their trust, and we, in turn, must give them the best experience we can. Through our relationships as friends and clinicians, we build the shared trust and experiences to fulfill our patients’ expectations. I’m truly looking forward to continuing to grow in this role, and appreciate the trust placed in me by VUMC leadership on behalf of our patients.”

Sandberg also serves on numerous national, VUMC and School of Medicine committees, boards and workgroups and participates in teaching and training across the entire educational continuum, from premedical students to advanced clinicians. In 2018, he was elected into the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as a fellow.

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