Johns Hopkins’ Armstrong Institute makes Brigham Health executive its new director

Johns Hopkins’ famed Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality has found its new director. 

Allen Kachalia, M.D., who currently serves as clinical quality officer and vice president for quality and safety at Brigham Health in Boston, will take over the position beginning Dec. 1, Johns Hopkins announced Tuesday.  

Kachalia has worked in the Brigham system for the past 15 years and also served as the chief quality officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital before jumping to the executive team in 2014. 

Allen Kachalia
Allen Kachalia (Brigham and Women's Hospital)

He said that heading up Armstrong, one of the country’s preeminent sources for research and guidance on patient safety, provides an opportunity to use a mix of his background in operations and quality research. 

“[The institute] is well-established as a leading patient safety and quality center, not just for driving improvement at Hopkins but demonstrating to the entire country and world,” Kachalia told FierceHealthcare. “I feel lucky to be joining this institution.” 

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Kachalia will also serve as senior vice president for quality and safety at Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

Johns Hopkins began the search for a new director for Armstrong following the departure of Peter Pronovost, M.D., in February. Pronovost, a national authority on patient safety, had served as the institute’s director since 2011. 

Pronovost joined the team at UnitedHealthcare and was named chief medical officer in June. He departed UHC in August, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported

Sean Berenholtz, M.D., a core Armstrong faculty member since its inception in 2011, has served as interim director in Pronovost’s absence. Renee Demski has filled the senior vice president role on an interim basis as well. 

RELATED: At Johns Hopkins Medicine, board members turn their attention to quality improvement efforts 

At Brigham, Kachalia spearheaded several key patient safety initiatives, including the development of a provider-based electronic mortality review system, which is being tested at other health systems.  

He also helped to create a board committee that reports on and drives quality improvement. At Armstrong, he said, he intends to push a message that safety and quality isn’t just important to big hospitals or health systems. 

“Regardless of what site patients are at, the vision here for quality and safety is the same, as well as for patient experience,” Kachalia said. “That’s the bigger vision we’re striving for.”