Who We Are

Background and History

In the early 2000s, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Health Care Authority (HCA) approached the Foundation for Health Care Quality to convene and facilitate a work group of those interested in addressing patient safety challenges. The Foundation was asked to serve in this role because it is recognized and respected as a safe space where representatives from throughout the health care system can come together to work on shared goals. These initial participants included provider associations, purchasers, consumers, health plans/health care delivery systems, and organizations devoted to quality improvement and risk reduction. This initial group of participants from the DOH, HCA, Boeing, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Foundation developed an invitational conference in June 2002 as its first event in creating a broad, collaborative statewide effort. The 100 participants were representatives and leaders from across the health care delivery system committed to improving safety. Following this Inaugural Conference, the Steering Committee used the full reports and summaries of the work groups to develop the Coalition structure and goals.

Our Staff


Steve Levy

Steve currently serves as the interim Executive Director for the WPSC. As a long-time Patient Safety and Process Improvement professional, he is dedicated to helping to foster a national healthcare environment where communities, individuals and those who provide care are free from harm. He work with healthcare organizations and health systems to increase value through the application of patient safety initiatives, healthcare quality initiatives, patient engagement and performance improvement strategies. Steve also currently serves as the Director of Patient Safety Programs for the Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement, and comes to the WPSC with an enormous amount of experience in and enthusiasm for patient safety and communication resolution, including having in the past has served in roles including Executive Director for the Michigan Hospital Association’s Patient Safety Organization and Director of Patient Safety and Performance Improvement for WSHA here in Washington.


Emily Wittenhagen

Emily currently serves as the Marketing and Communications Manager for the WPSC. A communications specialist with a background in non-profits and foundations, she holds an Editing Certificate from the University of Washington Professional & Continuing Education and a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Maine at Farmington. She is currently earning her Master’s in Nutrition and Herbal Medicine with the Maryland University of Integrative Health and completing clinical hours with a local naturopath, while coordinating communications here at the Foundation for Health Care Quality, enjoying the breadth of perspectives she’s able to gain in the healthcare world by working in the integrative space of natural and Western medicine.

Our Organization

The Foundation for Health Care Quality

The Coalition is a program of the Foundation, which provides the organizational home for the Coalition, including staffing, facilitation and technical support, and serves as the fiscal agent for financial support and outlays.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee provides leadership and strategic planning and direction for the Coalition; determines its priorities; and provides guidance and coordination for the subcommittees and work groups. Its membership is comprised of representatives of major interests and stakeholders in health care and patient safety, and is drawn from organizational members of the Coalition.

Current Steering Committee Members:

Jackie Valentine, *Chair, Seattle Children’s

Cat Mazzawy, *Vice Chair, Washington State Hospital Association

Randal Moseley, MD, *Immediate Past Chair, Confluence Health

Rosalee Allan, FACHE, *Immediate Past Vice Chair, Eastern Washington University

Karen Birmingham, Kaiser Permanente

LuAnn Chen, MD, Community Health Plan of Washington

David Buchholz, MD, Premera Blue Cross

Christopher Kim, MD, UW Medicine

Sharon I. Eloranta, MD, CHCA, CHI Franciscan

Nancy L. Fisher MD, MPH, Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services – DQI Western States

Therese Hansen, JD, Washington State Department of Health

Dana Kahn, PharmD, Virginia Mason Medical Center

Christopher Kim, MD, MBA, University of Washington Medical Center

Steve Lovell, Patient Representative, Patient and Family Advisory Council

Elena Madrid, RN, Washington Health Care Association

Jessica Martinson, Washington State Medical Association

Jeff Rochon, PharmDWashington State Pharmacy Association

Lauri St. Ours, Washington Health Care Association

John Vassall, Qualis Health

Lisa Segerstrom, Washington State Hospital Association

Advisory Group

The Advisory Group is a non-voting body that provides guidance to the Steering Committee on patient safety priorities. Coalition members not represented on the Steering Committee are invited to serve on the Advisory Group.

Current Advisory Group Members:

David Allison, PeaceHealth Washington

Jan Bennett, Individual (Yakima Farm Workers Clinics)

Kathleen Bruttomesso, Multicare Health System

Mely Davenport, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

Dana Erwin, RN, CCM, Individual (Yakima Farm Workers Clinic) 

Mary Johnston, RN, BSN, Individual (Highline Community Hospital)

Ann Lervold, MA, First Choice Health

Tosha Whitley, Northwest Kidney Centers

Lauren Newcomer, RN, BSN, Harrison Medical Center

Olga Owens, Patient and Family representative

Kathlyn Springer, BA, RN, CPHRM, The Doctors Company

Jonathan Stewart, Beta Healthcare

Anita Sulaiman, Patient and Family representative

Kathi Trussell, RN, MN, Othello Community Hospital

Sheila Yates, Individual (Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest)

Executive Subcommittee

The Executive Subcommittee is comprised of the Chair, Vice-Chair, the Immediate Past Chair of the Steering Committee and the chairs of the standing subcommittees.


Standing subcommittees are chaired by members of the Steering Committee and are populated by interested individuals from Coalition membership. Each group identifies, prioritizes, coordinates and implements activities to improve patient safety consistent with the Coalition’s strategic direction or priorities.  Current subcommittees are Annual Conference Planning and Membership and Finance.

Work Groups

Work groups can change over time to most effectively address identified topics of interest and importance.  Current work groups include Webinar Planning, Medication Safety and Second Victim Support.

The Coalition’s CQIP Status

The Washington Patient Safety Coalition is recognized by the State of Washington’s Department of Health as a Coordinated Quality Improvement Program (CQIP). CQIP status provides exemption from disclosure for information and documents specifically created for, collected, and maintained by an approved program. Being a CQIP provides important legal protection for the quality improvement activities carried out under the auspices of the Coalition, and enhances the ability of Coalition partners and participants to collaborate on patient safety issues. The WPSC’s CQIP document includes information about the Coalition’s structure and activities. For additional information about Washington’s CQIP and related laws, see the Department of Health website.