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Four named associate chiefs of staff for VUH

Mar. 3, 2022, 9:10 AM


by Kathy Rivers

As part of an enhanced structure at Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH), four new associate chiefs of staff have been named who are tightly connected with the hospital’s Patient Care Centers.

Brad Dennis, MD, Fenna Phibbs, MD, MPH, Allison Schwall, MD, and Lisa Weavind, MBBCh, MMHC, assumed their new roles Feb. 1 and report to Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, VUH chief of staff and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.

“We had an open nomination followed by a rigorous, multidisciplinary selection process,” said Sandberg. “Our new associate chiefs of staff are superstars with successful track records of process improvement and delivering on complex projects. They are technical experts, team builders, collaborators and system navigators with an intense focus on improving our service to patients.”

Last fall, the hospital’s senior leadership developed an enhanced structure, designed to strengthen collaboration and improve alignment among the nearly 8,000 members of the VUH team. All inpatient teams and the emergency department are now aligned to one of four segments that support the Patient Care Centers.  The segments are medical, surgical, heart/neuroscience, and obstetrics and led by a triad comprised of the associate chiefs of staff, associate nursing officer and associate operating officer.

Brad Dennis, MD

“By moving these incredibly talented people into the associate chief of staff roles, we have put the last piece of our new structure into place. They have hit the ground running, and we are already gaining more momentum,” said Shon Dwyer, RN, MBA, President of VUH.

  • Dennis is the associate chief of staff for the surgical segment. He is dedicated to working with physician, nursing and administrative partners to create an environment that allows patients to thrive and staff and faculty to flourish. Dennis is the trauma medical director at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is an associate professor of Surgery in the Division of Acute Care Surgery.
  • Phibbs is the associate chief of staff for the heart/neuroscience segment. She is particularly adept at
    Fenna Phibbs, MD, MPH

    working with multidisciplinary partners to promote a culture of safety for patients and staff, setting quality care standards and supporting community health efforts. Phibbs is a board-certified neurologist specializing in movement disorders who joined VUMC in 2007.

  • Schwall is the associate chief of staff for the medical segment. She is using a collaborative approach to improve quality and efficiency in the inpatient setting and ensuring alignment of projects across Pillar Goals for increased impact. A hospitalist by training, Schwall serves as medical director for the Transition Management Office and has a deep knowledge of post-acute transitions and
    Allison Schwall, MD


These three join Jay Newton, MD, already in place and partnered with Holly Judge, MSN, RN, associate nursing officer to lead the obstetrics segment.

  • Weavind is the associate chief of staff for the VUH Operations Control Center. She is working to enhance patient flow, while ensuring the best quality care. Her heightened focus on VUH capacity will allow Stephan Russ, MD, to focus more on the regional hospitals and the VUMC system at large. Weavind is a clinician, educator and scholar who holds academic and administrative leadership positions
    Lisa Weavind, MBBCh, MMHC

    in the Department of Anesthesiology and VUH. Weavind, along with faculty and APRN partners, recently originated the Critical Care Outreach Team to cover most adult rapid response calls with a single-team, coordinated response as well as proactive hot spot rounding throughout VUH.

“This enhanced structure well positions the hospital to thrive, scale and better serve our workforce, patients and families — all in alignment with the Medical Center’s goals,” said Dwyer.

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