Alarm Safety! Faculty and Steering Committee

Barbara SchmidtBarbara Schmidt MD, FRCP, MSc is a Professor of Pediatrics and Kristine Sandberg Knisely Chair in Neonatalology, Senior Scholar, Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She is a neonatologist and clinical epidemiologist with a research focus on large collaborative neonatal randomized trials that have clinically important, long-term outcomes such as growth and more

Dr. Schmidt’s experience as the principal investigator of several international neonatal trials has been useful for her role as the center principal investigator (PI) for the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN), which began in April 2011. In addition, since May 2010, Dr. Schmidt is a co-PI of the Data Coordinating Center for the Prematurity and Respiratory Outcomes Program (PROP) sponsored by NHLBI. One of the goals of this multi-center collaboration is the identification of predictors of respiratory outcomes that may serve as surrogate endpoints in future trials of prevention and therapy of respiratory diseases in preterm infants.

Neil FinerNeil Finer MD was the Director of the Division of Neonatology at UCSD, for 18 years. He retired in March 2013 and is now Professor Emeritus. He has an established 30 year track record of clinical and related animal research in neonatal medicine and in developing and expanding the evidence basis of neonatal more

In 1988, Dr. Finer organized and directed the first Canadian ECMO program. His areas of current interest include the design and conduct of prospective clinical trials to evaluate potentially better practices for the respiratory support of the extremely low birth weight infant. At UCSD he developed a video acquisition system to obtain relevant physiologic information during actual neonatal resuscitations conducted as part of prospective research protocols and as a Quality Improvement program. He is the lead author on a number of California Perinatal Quality Care Collaboration Toolkits developed to assist introducing better practices including Neonatal Resuscitation, Post Natal Steroids and the Use of Surfactant and CPAP. Dr. Finer is the Principal Investigator of the NICHD Neonatal Network recently published SUPPORT Trial. Dr. Finer has published over 260 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is currently the CO-PI with Drs. O Saugstad and M Vento of the PRESOX trial and the Chair of the SAC for Discovery Laboratories Aerosolized Surfactant study, and Co-Investigator on 2 active NICHD funded projects at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital on aspects of Resuscitation and Delayed Cord Clamping with Dr. A Katheria, PI.

David SinkDavid Sink MD* is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UConn School of Medicine and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where he serves as Clinical Director of the UConn Health Center NICU. He is board certified in Neonatal Perinatal Medicine and General Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. His interests include clinical research and quality more

He has conducted single- and multi-center studies using continuous electronic oximetry data to examine the relationships between oxygen saturation targeting success in preterm infants and modifiable clinical practices, such as nurse staffing and clinical alarm management.
He has also led quality improvement initiatives in multiple NICUs using alarm audit data and electronic oximetry data from a variety of clinical monitors as process measures. He is currently serving on the Alarm Fatigue Committee at Connecticut Children’s, working with nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, biomedical engineers, and information technologists to improve clinical alarm management throughout the medical center.

James HagadornJames Hagadorn MD* graduated from the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, trained in Pediatrics at the University of Virginia and in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Stanford University. He was on the faculty of the Dartmouth Medical School and at the Tufts University School of Medicine before taking his current position in the Division of Neonatology at the University of Connecticut – Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. read more

Dr. Hagadorn has served as principal investigator or senior investigator on multicenter studies examining maintenance of desired oxygen saturation range in extremely low birth weight infants, mathematical modeling of risk for development or progression of retinopathy of prematurity, trends in treatment and mortality for congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and use of donor human breast milk. He has taught study design, database programming, data management, statistical analysis, and ethics of human subjects research to undergraduates, medical students, and physicians at all levels of training.

Grace LeeGrace Lee MD, MPH is Associate Professor of Population Medicine & Pediatrics at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute & Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Child Health Care Studies. She is also Associate Medical Director of Infection Control and Associate Physician in Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She received her MD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Master of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health. read more

She completed her pediatric residency, subspecialty training in Infectious Diseases, and health services research fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on prevention of health care-associated infections, payment policy evaluations, drug and vaccine safety surveillance, and decision analytic and cost-effectiveness modeling. Dr. Lee serves as the principal investigator on the CDC-funded Vaccine Safety Datalink project and is Associate Director of FDA-funded Mini-Sentinel Project. She leads the Epicenters/SHEPheRD Pediatric Consortium, whose major role is to develop and implement research on surveillance and prevention of health care-associated infections in neonatal and pediatric populations. Dr. Lee is also principal investigator of an AHRQ-funded grant to evaluate the health and economic impact of the CMS non-payment policy for preventable hospital-acquired infections, which is called the Preventing Avoidable Infectious Complications by Adjusting Payment (PAICAP) study. Dr. Lee is also principal investigator on an AHRQ-funded grant to define national quality metrics for ventilator-associated conditions in children and identify potential intervention bundles to improve quality of care. Finally, she leads work to model the health benefits and costs of alternative interventions to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection with funding from the CDC Prevention Epicenter and the Model for Infectious Diseases Agents Study (MIDAS).

Dr. Lee has served as a member on the Institute of Medicine Committee (IOM) to Review Priorities in the National Vaccine Plan and the IOM Committee on the Ethical and Scientific Issues in Studying the Safety of Approved Drugs. She is currently a member of the IOM Board on Population Health and Public Practice.

Rebecca VartanianRebecca Vartanian MD* is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan. She received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed her Pediatrics and Neonatology training at the University of Michigan. Dr. Vartanian joined the faculty in more

Dr. Vartanian oversees and facilitates the quality improvement initiatives in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, including multi-center collaborations within the Vermont Oxford Network and the State of Michigan Quality Initiative. Her clinical interests include oxygen management in premature infants, optimization of neonatal nutrition, and the care of extremely low birth weight infants.

Maria CvachMaria Cvach DNP, RN is an Assistant Director of Nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she has worked as a nurse leader since 1986. She has extensive experience in cardiology, intensive care, and progressive care nursing. Her research and translation of evidence has focused on alarm management strategies for hospitalized patients. Her integrative review on monitor alarm fatigue was the recipient of the “2012 Research Paper of the Year” by the Journal of Biomedical Instrumentation and more

Her article “Monitor Alarm Fatigue: Standardizing Use of Physiologic Monitors and Decreasing Nuisance Alarms” has been cited over 85 times and is frequently used as the basis for instituting monitor changes in hospitals today. Through her leadership, the Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) Alarm Committee, which she has chaired since 2006, won the 7th Annual Health Device Achievement Award in 2012 from the ECRI Institute for their submission on “Clinical Alarms and Improving Patient Safety.” Additionally, she has led the development of alarm notification technology, which uses escalation algorithms and closed-loop communication to assure alarm accountability. This innovation was tested and implemented throughout JHH and has resulted in a decrease in duration and frequency of monitor alarms. The findings were disseminated in the 2014 publication “Use of Pagers with an Alarm Escalation System to Reduce Cardiac Monitor Alarm Signals.” Dr. Cvach is the national chairperson for the AAMI Alarm System Steering Committee. She has presented nationally and internationally on her work.

Tobey ClarkJ. Tobey Clark BSBME, MSEE* worked in the NICU with Dr. Jeffery Horbar in the early 1980s on the development of instrumentation to support clinical research. He is now Director of Instrumentation and Technical Services at the University of Vermont (UVM), where he is responsible for a multi-hospital health care technology management program and the university’s instrumentation development lab. read more

Tobey has faculty appointments in the School of Engineering and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UVM. He also serves as President of the Healthcare Technology Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting health care technology safety. Tobey works internationally as workshop faculty member, online course developer, and consultant for the World Health Organization.

Matthew NeidnerMatthew Niedner MD received his medical degree at the University of Chicago, completed residency at UCSD, and finished a critical care fellowship at the San Diego Naval Medical Center and Rady Children’s Hospital. He has been boarded in pediatrics, internal medicine, pediatric critical care, and hospice and palliative medicine. His academic interests focus on operationalizing principles of health care quality and more

Dr. Niedner is the Director of Quality and Safety in the PICU at Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan. He sits on the Clinical Quality Committee of the Children’s Hospital. He is the physician lead for the CHA’s PICU Focus Group collaborating on best practice research, and he is on the advisory board for the Virtual PICU System. As faculty for the CHA PICU Collaborative to Eradicate Central Line Infections, he helps oversee more than 50 PICUs across the country, where his main role is educating participants in the science of quality and safety.

Kate RobsonKate Robson Med, is a parent coordinator at the NICU at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Kate’s first daughter was born in 2005 at 25 weeks, weighing 500 grams. Her second daughter was a slightly more robust 32-weeker born in 2007. She has spent time as a patient and as a parent in four different hospitals and three different NICUs. She now works in one of those NICUs as a Parent Coordinator, offering support to families and helping the unit deliver family centered care. read more

Her background in Adult Education (MEd OISE/UT 1999) and Community Mediation (Diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution, York University, 2003), when combined with her personal experiences, helps her bring families and staff together as collaborators. She is co-chair of the Canadian Family Advisory Network, is one of the Directors of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation, and has had the opportunity to present at conferences such as the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses Annual Conference, the Gravens Conference on the Physical and Developmental Environment of the High Risk Infant, the Advanced Practice Nursing Forum, and the Annual Conference of the Australian College of Neonatal Nurses. She is also a family faculty resource for the Vermont Oxford Network.
Madge Buus-FrankMadge Buus-Frank DNP, APRN-BC, FAAN** is the Director of Quality Improvement and Education at the Vermont Oxford Network. Dr. Buus-Frank has been actively engaged in neonatal care for over three decades. She is an honors graduate from Boston College and the University of Connecticut, where she recently earned her Doctorate in nursing. read more
Her doctoral dissertation focused on evaluating the effectiveness and stability of Helping Babies Breathe in Zambia.
As an internationally recognized educator and consultant, Ms. Buus-Frank has collaborated on the design, development, and execution of innovative educational and clinical solutions for newborn intensive care units and health systems nationally and internationally. She was the Founding Editor-in-Chief for Advances in Neonatal Care: The Official Journal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to advancing the art and science of neonatal care, serving for five years in this capacity. Dr. Buus-Frank was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) for her pioneering work in the field of neonatal care.

Jeffrey HorbarJeffrey D. Horbar MD* is a board-certified neonatologist and clinical scientist with extensive experience in clinical research and its application to the improvement of neonatal care. He is currently a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Chief Executive and Scientific Officer of the Vermont Oxford Network, Associate Editor of Pediatrics, and Co-Editor of the Neonatal Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration. read more

Dr. Horbar has been responsible for the development of the Vermont Oxford Network Database, which is used by over 900 NICUs around the world to monitor and improve outcomes for very low birth weight infants. He is the leader of the quality improvement initiatives of the Vermont Oxford Network, including the National Evidence-Based Quality Improvement Collaborative for Neonatology and the iNICQ Internet-based Improvement Collaboratives.

Roger SollRoger Soll MD* is the H. Wallace Professor of Neonatology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the President of the Vermont Oxford Network, and Director of Network Clinical Trials and Follow-up. Dr. Soll is an authority in evidence-based medicine and randomized clinical trials. He is the coordinating editor of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration and author or co-author of the Cochrane Reviews of surfactant therapy. read more

He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of surfactant replacement therapy and evidence-based medicine.

A native of New York City, Dr. Soll graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Genetics and History of Science in 1975. He received his MD degree from the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School in 1978. He returned to New York City to complete his residency training in Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital/New York University Medical Center in 1981. After two years with the Public Health Service, Dr. Soll returned to academic training. He completed the post graduate fellowship in Neonatal Perinatal Medicine at the University of Vermont in 1983 and has remained in Vermont ever since.

Collaborative Coordinator and Coach: Denise ZayackDenise Zayack RN, BA, MPH has a long history with VON, collecting and submitting data in the early years of the Network, co-leading NICQ teams and as a research project steering team member. As Operations Director of a Canadian NICU she advanced excellence in innovation, patient and family-centered, developmentally appropriate care and safety best practices. read more

Denise mentored and coached interdisciplinary team members through collaborative quality improvement, effective team building, communication and professional development. Denise also worked as a Health Care Consultant to improve health outcomes for those with chronic illness.

Denise’s academic preparation includes Nursing, a BA in Bioethics and an MPH with a concentration in quality improvement science from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, NH.


**Faculty and Steering Committee Lead

*Steering Committee Member