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Kaiser named Vanderbilt Health System chief of staff

BY: JOHN HOWSER

4/28/2011 - 

Allen Kaiser, M.D.

Allen Kaiser, M.D.

Allen Kaiser, M.D., professor and vice chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Medicine, chief of staff for Vanderbilt University Hospital and associate chief medical officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been named chief of staff for the Vanderbilt Health System.

In this position, Kaiser will have clinical administrative responsibility across VUMC's hospitals and clinics. He will report to C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System. He will begin a process transitioning away from his role as vice chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Medicine, a position he has held since 1988.

“Having worked with Allen for many years, I am completely confident in his ability to assume leadership for a broader base of responsibilities as our hospitals and clinics continue to experience significant growth,” said Pinson. “His service as chief of staff for VUH, as interim chair of the Department of Medicine and in other roles in which he has served, has been stellar. I look forward to working closely with him.”

In this role, Kaiser will be responsible for providing clinical and programmatic leadership, ensuring the delivery of high quality clinical care. In addition to his current responsibilities as VUH chief of staff, Kaiser will assist in developing and implementing clinical operating policies and procedures, practice and productivity standards and day-to-day operations across VUMC's hospital practice, including quality of care and quality assurance. This includes helping to manage resource allocation, internal communications, external relations with payers and accrediting agencies, identification of personnel needs and collaborative recruitment of physicians and staff.

“Allen's many years of leadership within the Department of Medicine and his experience gained while helping lead our medical staff has prepared him well for this opportunity,” said Jeff Balser, M.D. Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “As we continue to progress across all areas of our enterprise, I am pleased Allen will be working with our entire clinical leadership team to further ensure the excellence of our academic and clinical programs.”

Kaiser has served as chief of staff for VUH and associate chief medical officer for VUMC since January 2004. During that time, VUMC's patient volume has increased and the size of the faculty has essentially doubled. Additionally, VUH underwent a major facilities expansion with the multi-year construction and completion of the Critical Care Tower, which opened in 2009.

“Dr. Kaiser has been a great partner in leading VUH. His experience, judgment and leadership have been extremely valuable to the medical staff and hospital administrative team. In his expanded role he will be better able to serve our organization,” said Larry Goldberg, M.H.A., chief executive officer for Vanderbilt University Hospital.

“At the time I became chief of staff for VUH, Dr. Pinson had just stepped down from this role and took over as chief medical officer. We began working closely together and have over time developed a warm professional relationship,” said Kaiser. “I really look forward to continuing to work closely with Dr. Pinson in this new role. I think he has trust in my judgment and I know which direction he wants to go.

“To be able to help Dr. Pinson bridge the gap between the strategic vision that he and Dr. Balser have for the medical staff and the details of our operation, which are complex, interrelated and ever-changing, is where my experience and expertise can be most useful.”

Kaiser says Vanderbilt black and gold runs through his veins. His bachelor's and medical degrees are both from Vanderbilt. His wife, Joan, is a research nurse in the General Surgery Division. Kaiser's daughter graduated from VU and both his sons graduated from the School of Medicine.

He trained in medicine first at Johns Hopkins and later at Vanderbilt, in between doing two years of study in the epidemiology of hospital infections at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He completed an infectious diseases fellowship at Vanderbilt and joined the faculty here in 1974. As a Vanderbilt faculty member, Kaiser held leadership roles at Saint Thomas Hospital, including hospital epidemiologist, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and chief of the Department of Medicine.

“It is truly a privilege to be part of a place where you look forward to coming to work every day, and an honor to continue to be a part of the tremendous success we have here,” he said.

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