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Office: 4311 11th Ave NE, Suite 230
Phone: (206) 616-7158
Email: thomasg@uw.edu

Bio | Recent Publications | Recent Talks | Honors, Awards, Grants | Curriculum Vitae

Thomas H. Gallagher, M.D., is a general internist who is Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington, where he is Associate Chair for Patient Care Quality, Safety, and Value.  He is also a Professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities.  Dr. Gallagher received his medical degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University, St. Louis, and completed a fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, UCSF.

Dr. Gallagher’s research addresses the interfaces between healthcare quality, communication, and transparency. Dr. Gallagher has published over 100 articles and book chapters on patient safety and error disclosure, which have appeared in leading journals including JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, Surgery, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Archives of Internal Medicine, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and the Joint Commission Journal.  His work in error disclosure received the 2004 Best Published Research Paper of the Year award from the Society of General Internal Medicine, as well as the 2012 MITSS Hope Award.  He also received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.  He has been the principal investigator on multiple grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Cancer Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Greenwall Foundation.  He is senior author of the book Talking with Patients and Families About Medical Errors: A Guide for Education and Practice, published in 2011 by The Johns Hopkins University Press.  At the University of Washington, he directs the UW Medicine Center for Scholarship in Patient Care Quality and Safety. He also is Executive Director of the Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement, an organization dedicated to advancing the spread of Communication and Resolution Programs (www.communicationandresolution.org). He served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Diagnostic Error in Healthcare, and was an appointed Commissioner on the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform. 

Dr. Gallagher is an active member of many professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians (Fellow), and is President-Elect of the Society for General Internal Medicine.

Recent Publications:

  • Gallagher TH, Mello MM, Levinson W, Wynia M, Sachdeva AK, Sulmasy LS, Truog RD, Conway J, Mazor K, Lembitz A, Bell SK, Sokol-Hesner L, Shapiro J, Puopolo AL, Arnold R.  Talking with patients about other clinicians’ errors.  N Engl J Med 2013:369;1752-1757.
  • Gallagher TH, Prouty CD, Brock DM, Liao JM, Weissman A, Holmboe ES.  Internists’ attitudes about assessing and maintaining clinical competence.  J Gen Intern Med. Dec 3, 2103.
  • Gallagher TH, Levinson W.  Physicians with multiple patient complaints: Ending our silence. BMJ Quality and Safety. Jul 2013;22(7)521-524.
  • Iedema R, Allen S, Britton K, Piper D, Baker A, Grbich C, Allan A, Tuckett A, Williams A, Manias E, Gallagher TH.  The ‘100 patient stories’ project: Patient and family member views on how clinicians (should) enact Open Disclosure-a qualitative study.  BMJ 2011;343:d4423.
  • Dudzinski DM, Hebert PC, Foglia MB, Gallagher TH.  The disclosure dilemma: Large scale adverse events.  NEJM 2010;363(10)978-986.
  • Gallagher TH, Garbutt JM, Waterman AD, Flum DR, Larsen EB, Waterman BM, Dunagan WC, Fraser VJ, Levinson W.  Choosing your words carefully; how physicians would disclose harmful errors to patients. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1585-1593.
  • Gallagher TH.  Clinical Crossroads: A 62 year-old woman with skin cancer who experienced wrong site surgery. JAMA. 2009;302(6):669-677.
  • Gallagher TH, Studdert DM, Levinson W.  "Disclosing harmful medical errors to patients." N Engl J Med 2007;356:2713-9.
  • Gallagher TH, Waterman A, Ebers A, Fraser V, Levinson W. "Patients’ and physicians’ attitudes towards the disclosure of medical errors." JAMA, 2003;289:100-1007
  • Gallagher TH, Garbutt JM, Waterman AD, Flum DR, Larsen EB, Waterman BM, Dunagan WC, Fraser VJ, Levinson W.  "Choosing your words carefully; how physicians would disclose harmful errors to patients." Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1585-1593.

Recent Talks

  • “Disclosing Medical Errors to Patients: Challenges and Opportunities in Graduate Medical Education.”  Plenary Speaker, Patient Safety in GME meeting, University of New Mexico, 3/30/04.
  • “Identifying and Safely Overcoming the Barriers to Disclosure.”  Invited presentation, 6th Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress, Boston, MA 5/4/04.
  • “Teaching Ethics Through Effective Communication,” co-presenter, American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Annual Meeting, Philadelphia 10/28/04.
  • “Alternatives to Litigation-Roundtable Discussion,” invited co-presenter, A Prescription for Patient Safety and Medical Liability: New Solutions to an Old Dilemma,” conference convened by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Alexandria, VA; 11/8/04.
  • “Should We Disclose Harmful Medical Errors to Patients, and If So How?”  Invited presentation, ACGME Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL; 2/13/05
  • “Enhancing the Process for Disclosing Harmful Medical Errors to Patients,” keynote speaker, Baptist Health South Florida, 3/9/05.
  • “Searching for Safer Healthcare: A Leadership Forum,” Keynote speaker, SUNY Buffalo, 3/30/05.
  • “Talking With Your Patients About Medical Mistakes,” Invited presentation, American College of Physicians Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 4/14/05.
  • “Medical Errors in Oncology: Patients’ and Physicians’ Attitudes and Management Strategies,” Invited presentation, American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, Orlando 5/13/05.
  • “US and Canadian Surgeons’ Attitudes Towards Disclosing Harmful Medical Errors to Patients.” Invited Grand Rounds presentation, Dept. of Surgery, Emory University, 7/27/05.
  • “Error Disclosure and Apology Workshop”, Invited presentation, The Patient Safety Imperative, Harvard Medical School CME Course, Boston, 10/21/05.
  • “Risk Managers’ and Physicians’ Attitudes Regarding Error Disclosure”, Invited presentation, ASHRM Annual Meeting, San Antonio, 10/24/05
  • “Should Surgeons Disclose Harmful Medical Errors to Patients?, If So, How?”, Invited presentation, Surgical Caucus of the AMA, Dallas, 11/5/05.
  • “What to Do With the Unanticipated Outcome? Does Apologizing Make A Difference? How Does Early Resolution Impact Settlement Outcome?” Invited presentation, Medical Liability and Healthcare Loss Seminar, Defense Research Institute Annual Meeting, 3/1/06.
  • “Should We Disclosure Harmful Medical Errors to Patients?, If So, How?, Invited presentation, American Association of Physiatry Annual Meeting, 3/4/06.
  • “Surgeons’ Disclosure of Harmful Errors to Patients: What is the data telling ?” Parviz Kamangar Humanities In Surgery Lectureship”, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Annual Meeting, 6/6/06.

Awards, Honors and Grants Received:

  • Select Awards and Honors:

    • MITSS Hope Award, 2012
    • Council, Society of General Internal Medicine, elected to 3-year term in 2010
    • President, Society of General Internal Medicine Northwest Region, 2009
    • Physician-Investigator of the Year Award, Society of General Internal Medicine Northwest Region, 2008
    • Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholars in Bioethics Award, 7/1/03-6/30/07
    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, 2008
    • Fellow, American College of Physicians, 2004
    • Marion E. Smith Junior Faculty Research Award, University of Washington School of Medicine, 2003
    • Best Published Research Paper of the Year, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2004.
    • David E. Rogers Junior Faculty Education Award for outstanding workshop presented by a junior faculty member, Society of General Internal Medicine Annual National Meeting, 2001

    Select Current Research Awards

    • Principal Investigator, " Communication to Prevent and Respond to Medical Injuries: WA State Collaborative", Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 9/30/2013-9/29/2018
    • Principal Investigator, " Developing Sound Regulatory Strategies for Responding to Medical Injuries", Greenwall Foundation, 1/1/2014-12/30/2014  
    • Principal Investigator, "Responding Justly to Patients Harmed By Medical Care: Disclosure, Compensation, and Litigation", Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, 6/1/2008-11/30/2014 


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