Pa Patient Saf Advis 2009 Mar;6(1):2.
Patient Safety Authority Loses a Founding Leader

Michael Doering, MBA
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority

Patient Safety Authority Loses a Founding Leader

 Alan B.K. Rabinowitz, first administrator of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority

Alan B.K. Rabinowitz, first administrator of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority

Alan B.K. Rabinowitz, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority’s first administrator, lost his battle with cancer Friday, February 6, 2009.

Alan was appointed the first administrator of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority in November 2002. Under his tenure, the Authority garnered national recognition and won the prestigious 2006 John Eisenberg Award for advancing patient safety and quality, given jointly by the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission.

As the first employee of the Authority, Alan also paved the way in the development and implementation of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) and initiated publication of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory. Articles in the Advisory have garnered national attention and brought issues such as wrong-site surgery and standardizing color-coded wristbands to the forefront of the healthcare industry.

“Alan was passionate about making sure the Patient Safety Authority did all it could to protect patients in Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Robert Muscalus, former chair of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Board of Directors.

Before his appointment as administrator, Alan spent more than seven years as chief of staff in the Pennsylvania Department of Health. He previously worked in the private sector and, from 1979 through 1987, was on the personal staff of Governor Dick Thornburgh.

Alan’s dedication to public service and in particular to the Patient Safety Authority is unmatched. His passion for helping others carried over into his personal life through his kind contributions to the Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, where he prepared and delivered elaborate full-course meals to the residents and their families for holidays and special occasions each year.

“Alan was a very special man who gave so freely of his talents,” said Susan Resavy, director of family services at the Hospice of Central Pennsylvania. “He called us several years ago offering to prepare and deliver meals. He would travel anywhere we asked him to. He touched so many people’s lives at a difficult time for them.”

As the Authority continues to educate the healthcare facilities through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory and other educational resources, Alan’s efforts are remembered often by me and other Authority staff for building the strong foundation that the organization rests upon. He will be greatly missed.

Memorial contributions may be made in Alan’s honor to Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, PO Box 266, Enola, PA 17025.


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