January 4, 2004

Kaiser named chief of staff

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Dr. Allen B. Kaiser

Kaiser named chief of staff

Dr. Allen B. Kaiser, professor and vice-chair of clinical affairs in the department of Medicine, has been named Vanderbilt University Hospital chief of staff and Vanderbilt Medical Center associate chief medical officer, effective Jan. 1.

“In tandem with his work as a clinician-scientist, Allen Kaiser has been a keen patient advocate and a force for clinical quality and safety at Vanderbilt,” said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “As we strive for new levels of performance and new ways of working across the hospital and clinic, Dr. Kaiser’s talent and experience and his understanding of our organization are greatly suited to the varied and complex tasks at hand. I look forward to working with him.”

The role of VUH chief of staff includes responsibility for major improvement initiatives of the hospital and clinic; resolution of day-to-day problems, from bed shortages to compliance issues to interfaculty/interstaff conflicts; oversight for physician credentialing; and a hand in the forming and promulgation of bylaws for physicians working in the hospital.

Kaiser will report jointly to Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer Dr. C. Wright Pinson and Vanderbilt University Hospital Chief Executive Officer Norman B. Urmy.

“I’m really excited,” Kaiser said. “This new role is a tremendous opportunity and comes at a time when Vanderbilt is involved in developing initiatives designed to improve patient care and use of resources. … I just think it’s a whole new era for Vanderbilt, with leadership that has the energy and enthusiasm to try new things. To be part of that leadership — could you want a better job?”

Kaiser summarized the job in part as watching out for the needs of patients. “Vanderbilt has the most outstanding doctors in the world, but in a place this complex and with this number of patients, we need to make sure that patients come first. The chief of staff and all the staff need to be in the business of anticipating patient needs.”

Kaiser stressed that he will keep his roles as an attending physician on the general medicine service and vice chair for clinical affairs in the department of Medicine. “Maintaining my involvement in clinical practice will allow me to know, as a practicing physician, how well the hospital is meeting the needs of patients.”

Kaiser’s bachelor’s and medical degrees are from Vanderbilt. He trained in medicine first at Johns Hopkins and later at Vanderbilt, in between doing two years of study in the epidemiology of hospital infections at the Centers for Disease Control. He completed an infectious diseases fellowship at Vanderbilt and joined the faculty here in 1974. As a Vanderbilt faculty member, Kaiser has held leadership roles at Saint Thomas Hospital, including hospital epidemiologist, chief of the division of Infectious Diseases, and chief of the department of Medicine. Kaiser is a house staff advisor and has twice been recognized by Vanderbilt residents as a Distinguished House staff Teacher. A past president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Kaiser has an extensive background as a researcher and writer on infectious disease in health care settings.