Improving Critical Transitions


Marie Abraham, MA
Vice President
Programming and Publications
Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care
Old Lyme, CT

Marie provides consultation and training to health care organizations, develops resource materials and videos, co-authors publications, and serves as a planner and faculty member for IPFCC conferences, seminars, webinars, and other trainings. Marie is Project Lead for a PCORI-funded engagement project, “Creating Capacity for Sustainable Partnerships with Patients and Families in Research.” She has served as consultant to support the involvement of patients and families on research teams for projects funded by AHRQ and CMS. Marie served as faculty and consultant for national quality improvement initiatives including the Vermont Oxford Network, the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. She also served for nine years on the Family Partnership Network, a family and youth advisory group for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Prior to joining IPFCC, Marie worked as a direct service provider to infants and young children and their families. Marie also brings personal perspective and passion to her work. Marie lives in Connecticut and has three sons, one of whom required intensive therapy and early intervention for his first six years.


Barbara S. Boushon RN, BSN
iNICQ Project Lead and NICQ Lead Quality Advisor
Sun Prairie, WI

Barbara S. Boushon, RN, BSN, serves in multiple roles to improve health care. Through Mark Murray and Associates, she works with large and small health care organizations across the United States and Canada to improve access to primary and specialty care, medical office flow and efficiency, and hospital flow. At the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), she led learning collaboratives with health care organizations and government entities seeking to improve care for patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, depression, and HIV/AIDS disease.  She also developed and led IHI’s first totally virtual collaborative with the topic of improving access to primary care.  Also, she directed an initiative to reduce harm from falls on medical-surgical units as part of the safety and reliability work in IHI’s Transforming Care at the Bedside Initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Through the Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation (funded through the HIV/AIDS Bureau), she works with state and federal government to improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS disease and serves as faculty for developing quality improvement capacity, leadership potential, and facilitation skills for Ryan White Care Act grantees.

With the Veterans Administration, she co-directed the national Transitioning Levels of Care Collaborative and the Patient Aligned Care Team Regional Collaboratives, the national Specialty/Surgical Access Collaboratives, and the Access Academy.

With Vermont Oxford Network, Barbara facilitated the work of the Infection Topic Group and the POD, and currently serves as the Lead QI Facilitator. Her latest role with VON is as the project lead for the iNICQ Collaborative.

Before becoming involved in these quality and process improvement activities, Barbara worked at Dean Health Systems in Madison, Wisconsin in multiple clinical and administrative roles including RN and RN Coordinator of sub-specialties, Director of Patient Care Services, Director of Software Development and Telecommunications, and Services Initiatives Administrator.  In this last role, she led initiatives to improve both access to care and customer service throughout the health system.  Previous to this, she also worked as an RN for the Red Cross, and as an RN in a Medical Intensive Care Unit.


Howard Cohen, MD
Medical Director NICU, Randall Children’s Hospital

Dr. Howard Cohen has long contributed to the VON Worldwide Community of Practice. He has thirty-eight years practicing neonatology in both academic and community NICU settings, and has held faculty positions at University of Illinois College of Medicine and Oregon Health Sciences University. He has actively participated in multiple quality improvement collaboratives and projects as well as hospital and practice-based administrative positions as Clinical Director of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Officer. Dr. Cohen is also a member of the VON Database Advisory Committee.


Jocelyn Cornwell
Chief Executive
The Point of Care Foundation
London, UK

Jocelyn is the CEO and founder of The Point of Care Foundation. Jocelyn founded The Point of Care programme at The King’s Fund in 2007. She originally trained as a medical sociologist and ethnographer and is the author of “Hard-Earned Lives: accounts of health and illness from East London” (1984).

She has worked in academic research, as a senior manager in NHS community health services and in health regulation, first at the Audit Commission and then at the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) where she was responsible for the design of clinical governance review methods.

Jocelyn is the external lead for patient and public involvement for the NW London CLARHC, visiting professor in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London and a trustee of the Nuffield Trust.


Danielle Ehret, MD, MPH
Director of Global Health, Vermont Oxford Network

As Director of Global Health at VON, Dr. Ehret has developed and implemented a new database for neonatal units in resource-limited settings, and leads VON’s Black Lion NICU project in Ethiopia. Dr. Ehret is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont and Associate Editor of Cochrane Neonatal. Her academic work focuses on the synergy of quality improvement and implementation of evidence-based neonatal care practices globally.


Erika Edwards, PhD, MPH
Director of Data Science, Vermont Oxford Network

As Director of Data Science at Vermont Oxford Network, Erika Edwards, PhD, MPH has developed content for and presented training programs on data and reporting resources for quality improvement. She oversees all member reporting and database research, and participates in development of data collection tools. In addition, she is a Research Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, University of Vermont and a Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont.


Bev Fitzsimons
Head of Improvement
The Point of Care Foundation
London, UK

Bev is responsible for development, design and oversight of patient-centred quality improvement initiatives. From 2009-2014, Bev was a Fellow in Health Policy at the King’s Fund, leading patient-centred quality improvement programmes within the Point of Care team. A social scientist by background, Bev spent 12 years working in healthcare audit and regulation at the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Healthcare Improvement, and the Audit Commission, with particular interest in the care of people with long term conditions and maternity care. Bev is a member of the founding cohort of the Health Foundation’s Q initiative, which is a community of practice for quality improvement. As well as her professional interest in quality improvement, she has also been a service user representative in her local community and was a lay board member of the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health.


Marybeth Fry, Med
Lead Family Advisor
VON NICQ Collaborative
NICU Family Care Coordinator
Akron Children’s Hospital
Akron, OH

The 2004 birth of Marybeth’s daughter at 28 weeks gestation and subsequent three month NICQ stay introduced her to a world she never knew existed and she wanted other NICU families to know they weren’t alone. In January of 2008, Marybeth became an Akron Children’s Hospital Parent Mentor and Volunteer and began visiting NICU families each week as a graduate parent. She also became involved in NICU FACT (Family Action Collaborative Team), a group of NICU graduate families and staff working together to support NICU families and promote family-centered care in the unit. Marybeth attended her first VON Conference with the Akron Children’s Team in spring of 2010 and has been fortunate enough to attend every meeting with the team.  In the fall of 2010, she became co-chair of NICU FACT and began working more closely with hospital staff on group’s initiatives. She began attending QuIP (Quality Improvement Council) meetings monthly and participated on NICQ8 conference calls weekly.

In January 2013, Marybeth secured a paid parent position at Akron Children’s Hospital as the NICU Family Care Coordinator. This amazing opportunity has allowed her to be even more actively involved in furthering family-centered care and to see many of her volunteer projects come to fruition.


Jeffrey Horbar, MD
Chief Executive and Scientific Officer, Vermont Oxford Network

Dr. Jeffrey Horbar 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 the Chief Executive and Scientific Officer of VON, the Jerold F. Lucey Professor of Neonatal Medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and Co-Editor of Cochrane Neonatal. Dr. Horbar has been responsible for the development of VON databases which are used by over 1000 NICUs around the world to monitor and improve outcomes for high risk infants and their families.


Heather Kaplan, MD, MSCE
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Perinatal Institute and The James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Heather Kaplan, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and faculty in the Perinatal Institute and The James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is a prominent neonatologist and Quality Improvement scientist who will be leading this important 3-year initiative. She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion to this work having recently completed a statewide quality improvement project focused on improving complex medical discharges with the Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (NICU Graduates project). Dr. Kaplan is excited to focus on all transitions, large and small, including admission, handoffs, transition to home (simple and complex) as well as all of the key transitions that happen at every stage of care.


Jeffrey M. Meyers, MD
Associate Professor
Medical Director of NICU
University of Rochester Medical Center
Golisano Children’s Hospital
Rochester, NY

Dr. Jeffrey Meyers is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.  He has served previously as the Associate Medical Director, is the Director of Newborn Quality Sciences, and was appointed Medical Director of the NICU at Golisano Children’s Hospital in 2017.  He is an active participant in the New York State Perinatal Quality Collaborative, and has experience leading a regional quality improvement collaborative among several NICUs as well as many local quality improvement initiatives across Golisano Children’s Hospital and in the NICU.


Eduardo Salas, Ph.D.
Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Professor of Psychology
Chair, Department of Psychological Sciences
Rice University

Eduardo Salas is Professor and Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Chair of Psychology at Rice University.  Previously, he was a Senior Research Psychologist and Head of the Training Technology Development Branch of NAVAIR-Orlando for 15 years. During this period, Dr. Salas served as a principal investigator for numerous R&D programs focusing on teamwork, team training, simulation-based training, human-to-human and human-to-automation systems, decision-making under stress, learning methodologies, trust development and performance assessment. Dr. Salas has co-authored over 350 journal articles and book chapters and has co-edited over 25 books.    Dr. Salas has held numerous positions in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society during the past 15 years.  He is the past chair of the Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making Technical Group and of the Training Technical Group, and served on the Executive Council.   He is currently the immediate Past President of the Society. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (SIOP and Division’s 19, 21 & 49), the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Association for Psychological Science. He received his Ph.D. degree (1984) in industrial and organizational psychology from Old Dominion University.


Elizabeth Schierholz PhD, NNP-BC
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Children’s Hospital Colorado
Research Fellow
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Data Science to Patient Values

Elizabeth has worked in the NICU for the past 18+ years as a nurse and a nurse practitioner. Her clinical positions have been in the well-baby transition nursery, large premature infant focused Level III NICUs, large surgical infant focused Children’s Hospital Level 4 NICUs, community Level II NICUs and as the lead for a Nurse Practitioner led Neonatal Transport Team.

She recently completed a predoctoral fellowship and obtained her PhD at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania focused on health services research, health policy, innovation and improvement of health care systems with an emphasis on the impact of patient safety and patient outcomes.

Elizabeth is currently the editor for the Case of the Month section in the National Association of Neonatal Nurses journal, Advances in Neonatal Care and serves as a committee member for the National Certification Corporation’s job analysis for the role and scope of practice for Neonatal and Pediatric transport.


Roger Soll, MD
President, Vermont Oxford Network

Dr. Soll is the President of VON, the H. Wallace Professor of Neonatology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and the coordinating editor of Cochrane Neonatal. Dr. Soll is an authority in evidence-based medicine and randomized clinical trials. He is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of surfactant replacement therapy and evidence-based medicine.


Wendy Timpson, MD, MEd

Dr. Timpson is a Neonatologist and the Associate Director of Quality Improvement at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A former educator, Dr. Timpson followed a Master’s Degree in early childhood education with medical school, pediatrics residency and fellowship in neonatal perinatal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her academic focus is on utilization of rigorous quality improvement methodology to optimize family centered care and patient safety.


Denise Zayack RN, BA, MPH
Senior Consultant for Quality Improvement and Education, Vermont Oxford Network

Denise 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.  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 joined VON in 2015 to support the continued development and delivery of the NICQ quality improvement collaborative and advanced the foundational principles of teamwork, family-centered care, and application of quality improvement methods to achieve measurable benefit for infants and families. Denise now provides support to VON in the assessment, design, delivery and evaluation of Quality Improvement and Education programming in collaboration with the dedicated and talented QI and Education team.

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.


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