This year’s Black History Month theme is Black Resistance, which gives us the opportunity to reflect on how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression.
Haytham Kaafarani, MD, MPH, FACS, of Massachusetts General Hospital, has been appointed the chief patient safety officer of The Joint Commission. He will begin this important role on September 6, 2022.
Dr. Kaafarani, a trauma and critical care surgeon at the Mass General Department of Surgery and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, has dedicated his career to improving quality and safety within the hospital. Since coming to Mass General as a clinical fellow in surgical critical care in 2011, Dr. Kaafarani has been instrumental in establishing — and leading — a number of initiatives to help make health care safer for patients and providers. In one of his earliest contributions to the hospital, he established The Second Victim Program, the first surgery-specific peer support program in the country. Dr. Kaafarani’s dedication to patient safety was also demonstrated early in the COVID-19 pandemic when he founded COBRA (COVID-19 Bundled Response for Access Team), a dedicated multidisciplinary procedure group focused on providing safe, streamlined procedures to patients with critical illness.
Dr. Kaafarani serves as the director of the Center for Outcomes and Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS), the first multidisciplinary initiative to streamline quality and safety across all hospital procedural departments, including surgery; anesthesia; obstetrics and gynecology; neurosurgery; orthopaedics; urology; interventional radiology; ear, nose and throat; and oral and maxillofacial surgery. He also is the director of research for the Mass General Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Critical Care, and the director of the Mass General Wound Center.
In all these roles, Dr. Kaafarani is known as a doer, a team player, a leader, a mentor and, quite simply, a trusted friend and colleague. His life is commanded by the highest moral principles, and he makes every team member better by his positive attitude.
In his leadership role with The Joint Commission, Dr. Kaafarani will oversee initiatives related to patient safety and quality improvement, will serve as the president’s designee to prioritize patient safety concerns, and provide oversight and medical expertise for The Joint Commission’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety.
In addition to his leadership and initiatives at Mass General, Dr. Kaafarani also is a leading surgeon-scientist, recognized nationally and internationally with more than 380 published textbook chapters and scientific manuscripts. His large and diverse research team uses advanced health services and artificial intelligence methodologies to study surgical outcomes, patient safety and quality benchmarking of surgical care, and leads several multi-institutional and international studies. He also is an active conflict-area surgeon with Doctors Without Borders and has served on multiple humanitarian missions in Central Africa and the Middle East. Dr. Kaafarani has received numerous prestigious awards and was most recently nominated for the prestigious Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor.
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