Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative Welcomes Four New Board Members and Sets Course on Patient Safety Initiatives

The PRHI Board met at the Jewish Community Center, following a private preview of The Pitch at The Manor Theater.

The Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) welcomed four new members to its board during a meeting held on March 12 at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

In their remarks, Jewish Health Care Foundation (JHF) and PRHI President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, and PRHI co-chairs Mark DeRubeis, MBA, and Steven Irwin, JD celebrated the appointments of the following Pittsburgh business leaders:

  • Jim Jen, MBA, Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship, at Carnegie Mellon School of Business. A co-founder of the nationally ranked accelerator program, AlphaLab, Jen plays an active role in the development of Pittsburgh's entrepreneurship community;
  • Paul Phrampus, MD, director of the Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research (WISER) and Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology, and Medical Director of Patient Safety for UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh;
  • Ken Segel, MBA, CEO of Value Capture;
  • Mike Stancil, MBA, CEO and President of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health.

The PRHI Board discussed various aspects of PRHI's patient safety initiatives and programming, first hearing from Mike Eisenberg, the director of a JHF-funded documentary, The Pitch: Patient Safety's Next Generation, which focuses on the prevalence of patient safety incidents in the United States and the solutions innovators are bringing to health care to reduce patient safety incidents nationwide. PRHI and Health Careers Futures Board members attended a private preview of the film just before the meeting. JHF produced the documentary, which builds on a past body of work by Eisenberg, who directed To Err is Human, and highlights the work of one of the winning innovators in PRHI's Patient Safety Technology Challenge.

Scotland Huber, chief communications officer for JHF and one of the producers of the film, facilitated a discussion of the plans for distribution of the documentary, including the documentary's inclusion and world premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Dr. Feinstein talked about the potential outreach for the film, including its call to activism on the issue of patient safety and its inspirational message to entrepreneurs aiming to have an impact on patient health and safety. She added that the development of a strong culture of safety training programming and education, research, and product development could contribute to the region's economic development.

Robert Ferguson, MPH, chief policy officer at JHF and PRHI, updated the Board on the re-introduction of the National Patient Safety Board Act. The proposed legislation would establish a public-private research and development team within the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to preventing and reducing healthcare-related harm to patients. Sponsored in the House of Representatives by U.S Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) and Michael Burgess (R-TX), the landmark bipartisan legislation offers a critical step forward in improving safety for patients and healthcare providers by adopting patient safety solutions.

PRHI's Board also heard more details from Dr. Feinstein about the February 29th Safety Innovation Summit, which convened 130 Pittsburgh leaders to discuss approaches to safety that have proven successful in multiple industries, including healthcare, transportation, energy, manufacturing, medicine, and construction.

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