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September 29, 2004

Patrick J. Brennan, MD, Heads
Federal Health Advisory Committee

Penn Professor Appointed Chairman of HICPAC

(Philadelphia, PA) – Patrick J. Brennan, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Chief of Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety at Penn Health System, has been appointed Chairman of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) by Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Since 2003, Brennan has served on the Committee as one of 14 infectious diseases experts who advise the Centers for Disease Control and the Secretary of HHS regarding infection control in United States health care facilities. “Being part of this important committee has been a very positive experience,” says Brennan. “We provide input on a wide range of issues and I’m working with a group of people who are at the top of their fields.”

Brennan, in his role as Chief of Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, has introduced numerous system-wide patient safety initiatives, including the creation of an on-line, rapid response reporting system to identify care-related problems and improve patient safety. He is using this experience to help HICPAC in its quest to formulate ways to improve patient safety throughout the nation. “ It has been my experience that patient safety is a system problem, not necessarily the result of individual error,” explains Brennan. “I am pleased to bring that focus to the process of improving patient safety in our nation’s health care facilities.”

Brennan came to Penn in 1986 as a Fellow in Infectious Diseases and joined the faculty in 1988. He served as Director of both the Infection Control Department of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Tuberculosis Control Program of the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health prior to being named Chief of Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety for UPHS. Brennan is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Philadelphia College of Physicians and the Society of Healthcare Epidemiologists of America.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

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