The University of Texas at Houston Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality and Safety was created in November 2007 with ongoing extramural grants and support from the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.
Its immediate predecessor was the University of Texas Center of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice: a 6 year, $7 million program project grant funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Principal Investigator of the Center was Dr. Eric Thomas from the UT-Houston Medical School. Center Co-Principal Investigator was Dr. Robert Helmreich, an expert in aviation and healthcare safety methods from UT-Austin. Project leaders included Dr. Todd Johnson from the UT-Houston School of Health Information Sciences, Sherry Martin from UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr. Michal Tamuz from the University of Tennessee at Memphis. Over 30 co-investigators and consultants throughout the UT System, the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Harvard University, Columbia University, Baylor College of Medicine, and Continental Airlines also participated in the Center. Project leaders were experts in cognitive psychology, human-device interactions, medicine, epidemiology, social psychology, quality improvement, and sociology. Co-investigators and consultants added expertise in nursing, biostatistics, aviation safety/human factors, and five medical and nursing specialties (general internal medicine, neonatology, thoracic surgery, gynecology, and trauma surgery). The Center generated important research about measuring and improving safety culture (Safety Attitudes Questionnaire), measuring and improving teamwork, organizational learning, close call reporting, and the design and evaluation of medical devices.
The UT Houston-Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality and Safety builds and expands upon this foundation. We will grow by recruiting new faculty (who may be appointed in any Health Science Center School) and by adding members from outside UT who maintain substantial and ongoing research collaborations with us.
We are especially thankful for the support of former UT Health Science Center Houston President Jim Willerson and Current President Larry Kaiser, Chief Operating and Financial Officer Kevin Dillon, former Medical School Dean Jerry Wolinsky, and current Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo, Memorial Hermann President and CEO Dan Wolterman and Chief Medical Officer Michael Shabot.