The Joint Commission has appointed Haytham Kaafarani, MD, MPH, FACS, as its new chief patient safety officer and medical director, effective Sept. 6, 2022. 

In this leadership role, Kaafarani will oversee initiatives related to patient safety and quality improvement. He will serve as the president’s designee to prioritize patient safety concerns at Joint Commission-accredited healthcare organizations. He also will provide oversight and medical expertise for The Joint Commission’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety (OQPS), as well as oversee data management and analysis related to The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Database. 

“The role of chief patient safety officer and medical director is critical to further advance The Joint Commission’s mission to continuously improve healthcare for the public,” says Ana Pujols McKee, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer, and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, The Joint Commission. “I look forward to working with Haytham as he has the proven leadership expertise to collaborate with and inspire healthcare organizations, communities, patients, government officials, and other stakeholders to improve patient safety and quality of care across the nation.”

Kaafarani is currently an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston, with more than 10 years of experience as a surgeon and intensivist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston. He also serves as director of the MGH Center for Outcomes & Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS), director of the MGH Wound Center, and director of Trauma & Emergency Surgery Research at MGH.

Kaafarani is a recognized authority and speaker with more than 380 published peer-reviewed manuscripts and textbook chapters with a focus on surgical patient safety from intake to discharge, benchmarking quality care, peer support, and the use of artificial intelligence for risk modeling and predicting outcomes.

He has won numerous awards, including a recent nomination to the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He received his Master of Public Health from Harvard University and his doctorate from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.