research at Baystate Medical Center

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Center for Quality of Care Research Faculty

Core Faculty

Peter K. Lindenauer, MD, MSc, FACP

Peter Lindenauer is a board-certified internist and the Director of the Center for Quality of Care Research. He also serves as the Medical Director of Clinical Decision Support and Quality Informatics for Baystate Health and Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. He is nationally recognized for his use of large administrative datasets to measure the quality of care for patients with pneumonia and COPD, to evaluate policy-level and structural approaches to quality improvement, including pay-for-performance and the use of hospitalists, and for observational studies of treatment effectiveness in perioperative medicine. His work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, British Medical Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, Health Affairs, and elsewhere. In 2008, he received the Excellence in Research award from the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Lindenauer has played an active role in numerous national quality and safety efforts. He has served as a member of technical expert panels for the National Quality Forum, the National Surgical Care Improvement Project and CMS’s Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System. He is an advisor to AHRQ’s Web M&M (the online journal of patient safety), is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospital Medicine, and recently completed a one-year term on the Inpatient Functionality Workgroup of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology

Tara Lagu, MD, MPH

Tara Lagu is a board-certified internist and has been a Research Scientist in the Center for Quality of Care Research, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, and an academic hospitalist in the Baystate Medical Center Department of Medicine since 2008. Prior to her arrival at Baystate, she attended Yale University School of Medicine, completed a General Internal Medicine Residency at Brown University, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is focused on the quality and value of care for hospitalized patients. In 2013, she received a five-year career development award from the National Heart, Lung Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study the optimal clinical strategies for improving quality of care for critically ill patients with heart failure. Her other research interests include the impact of the internet on the doctor-patient relationship, access to care for patients with disabilities, and the potential for the Internet to improve quality and transparency in health care.

Penelope S. Pekow, PhD

Penelope Pekow is the Senior Biostatistician for the Center of Quality of Care Research, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Director of the Biostatistics Consulting Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her research has included a clinical trial of diabetes therapy for cystic fibrosis-related diabetes; studies of physical activity during pregnancy and maternal outcomes; population-based approaches for examining the effect of infertility treatment on human development; and diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Her recent work has focused on application of analytic methods for use with large observational databases with multi-level hierarchical data structures.

Sarah L. Goff, MD

Sarah Goff is a board-certified pediatrician and internist, is an Assistant Professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine. She is a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale. Her research interests include perinatal quality and safety with a particular interest in healthcare-associated infections related to obstetric care and public reporting of perinatal quality measures. Additional interests include qualitative methodology and how communication impacts health outcomes. She is the 2011 recipient of the Tufts University School of Medicine KL-2 Mentored Career Development Award.

Mihaela S. Stefan, MD

Mihaela Stefan is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Palliative Care, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Director of the Medical Consultation and Perioperative Care Program. In 2010 she received a KM1 career development award in comparative effectiveness from Tufts CTSI which allowed her to complete a Masters in Clinical Research. In 2013, she received a four-year career development award from the National Heart, Lung Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study the effectiveness of noninvasive ventilation in patients hospitalized with acute respiratory failure. Her research interests include hospital-based strategies to improve the outcomes of patients with respiratory diseases with a special focus on COPD, acute respiratory failure and obstructive sleep apnea; her other research interest include the outcomes of surgeries in elderly patients and strategies for postoperative risk reduction.

Research Core

Aruna Priya, MA, MSc

Aruna Priya has been with the Center since 2009 as a biostatistician. Her education and training (at Osmania University, Hyderabad, India) includes a BSc with triple majors (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry) followed by advanced training in Science education. She then went on to enroll at the University of Hyderabad (India) to achieve a Master in Statistics degree (specializing in Operations Research). Further, she enrolled at the University of Buffalo in New York and earned a Master in Biostatistics degree. Before joining Baystate, Aruna worked as a statistician for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, NY. Her recent work, utilizing large observational databases and advanced statistical modeling, has evaluated the association of guideline-concordant therapy in patients with health care-acquired pneumonia, association between beta-blocker therapy and outcomes among patients with COPD with underlying heart disease, and hospital performance measures and 30-day readmission rates. She has contributed to studies on physician-rating websites, time spent communicating and communication outcomes among physicians on a medical service, patient reviews of hospital care in England, and corticosteroid use in COPD patients.

Meng-Shiou Shieh, PhD

Meng-Shiou Shieh is a biostatistician with the Center. She received her PhD in statistics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her dissertation topic was “Correction Methods, Approximate Biases, and Inference for Misclassified Data,” with application to physical activities data. Before coming to the Center, she worked as a statistical consultant where she proofread and verified formulas for the study, "Measurement Error: Models, Methods and Applications,” published March 4, 2010 by John Buonaccorsi. She is also coauthors with Charles M. Schweik and Robert English for Chapters 9 and 10 of, “The Success and Abandonment of Open Source Commons,” MIT Press, Spring 2012. Her recent work focuses on application of analytic methods appropriate for use with large observational databases like the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Premier, Inc.’s Perspective.

Amy S. Shatz, MPH

Amy Schlossberg Shatz is a clinical research manager with the Center. Amy earned her bachelors degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is working with Dr. Peter Lindenauer on his study, “Contextual Factors Associated with Implementation Effectiveness within a QI Collaborative,” funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This study, which involves surveying senior hospital leaders and quality improvement staff, examines how perceptions of collaborative-recommended clinical practices, together with hospital implementation climate and strategies, influence the chances of successful implementation of collaborative recommended practices and ultimately on change in hospital complication and mortality rates.

Jasmin L. Roberts, MS

Jasmin Roberts is a clinical research coordinator with the Center. She studied Psychology and Creative Writing at Oberlin College, and went on to pursue a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has worked closely with professors in the Kinesiology and Clinical Psychology departments at UMass-Amherst, and continues to be involved in research there. Her research interests include risk and resiliency and the incidence of developmental psychopathology in underserved populations. She is spearheading Dr. Sarah Goff’s study, “IDEAS for a Healthy Baby: Reducing Disparities in Consumer Use of Quality Data,” funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Yara Youssef, PhD candidate

Yara Youssef is a clinical research assistant with the Center. Yara graduated from Providence College with a degree in Health Policy and Management in 2008. She is currently working toward a PhD in Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Prior to entering the PhD program at UMass-Amherst, she worked in the Physician Hospital Organization at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, RI. Her research interests include the reporting of health care quality information to influence patient behavior as well as improving health care management to influence health policy. She is working with Dr. Sarah Goff on her study, “IDEAS for a Healthy Baby: Reducing Disparities in Consumer Use of Quality Data,” funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to determine if health care quality information can influence patient choice of provider.

Adjunct Faculty

Evan M. Benjamin, MD, FACP

Evan Benjamin is a board-certified internist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences as well as Vice President/Chief Quality Officer for Baystate Health in Springfield, Massachusetts. Nationally recognized for his work in outcomes management, and quality-of-care improvement, his publications have appeared in more than 25 articles in major journals. His research in measuring quality, patient safety and health policy has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA. He has contributed to four books including Measuring and Managing Healthcare Quality (Healthcare 2001).

Jay S. Steingrub, MD, FACP, FCCP

Jay Steingrub is a Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine at Baystate Medical Center. Dr. Steingrub has distinguished himself as an outstanding clinician, educator, and clinical investigator. As Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Dr. Steingrub has built a nationally recognized program in clinical research devoted to sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). He has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on 42 extramurally funded clinical trials and has been funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study Acute Lung Injury as part of an ARDS network consortium. Dr. Steingrub’s work continues to focus on optimal strategies to deliver clinical care in the ICU setting for patients with sepsis and ARDS and currently is examining the utility of novel compounds in the treatment of sepsis and ARDS.

Sarah D. Haessler, MD

Sarah Haessler is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is the Hospital Epidemiologist in the Division of Healthcare quality and an Infectious Diseases consultant at Baystate Medical Center. Her research interests include infections due to Staphylococcus aureus, the role of antibiotics in Clostridium difficile infection, and systems modifications to prevent hospital-acquired infections. 

Randolph R. Peto, MD, MPH

Randolph Peto is the Medical Director for Quality and Patient Safety at Baystate Medical Center, is board-certified in Preventive Medicine, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. He served for over a decade as a medical director with Massachusetts’ federally funded quality improvement organization. At Baystate, he has focused on disclosure & apology promotion, dissemination of team communication training, and safety culture measurement and improvement. His research interests also include the intersection of the above with compassionate caregiving and human factors engineering.

Natalia G. Shcherbakova, PhD

Natalia Shcherbakova is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences at Western New England University College of Pharmacy. She is also a health services researcher with a local health plan, Health New England. Her research interests include pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes studies, managed care program evaluation, as well as assessment of the impact of mobile technology and social media on health care and education.

Brian H. Nathanson, PhD

Brian Nathanson is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of OptiStatim, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in mathematical modeling in health care for both commercial and academic clients. He has a doctorate in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests are in benchmarking, applying operations research methods to clinical health care problems, and econometrics. A majority of his recent projects have focused on critical care or emergency medicine, with an emphasis on sepsis. He is also very active in the Institute of Industrial Engineers and INFORMS.