Rollin J. “Terry” Fairbanks, MD, MS
Terry Fairbanks

Rollin J. “Terry” Fairbanks, MD, MS

Senior Vice President and Chief Quality & Safety Officer, MedStar Health
Executive Director, MedStar Institute for Quality & Safety

Rollin J. “Terry” Fairbanks, MD, MS, is senior vice president and chief quality and safety officer at MedStar Health, executive director of the MedStar Institute for Quality & Safety, professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University, and founding director emeritus of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare. A board-certified emergency physician, he practices in the MedStar Washington Hospital Center emergency department. Dr. Fairbanks earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics and a master’s degree in industrial systems engineering/human factors engineering. After medical school, he completed specialty training in emergency medicine, the HRET/NPSF Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship, and Wharton’s Physician Leadership Certificate Program.

Trained in safety science before entering the medical field, Dr. Fairbanks is also a former paramedic, EMS medical director, and general aviation pilot. He is known for inspiring people to think differently about healthcare’s approach to quality, safety, and risk. As a MedStar Health Leadership Team member, he is responsible for the system-wide quality, safety, and infection prevention.

Dr. Fairbanks has contributed more than 150 publications to healthcare safety, human factors engineering, and medical literature and co-edited a book on cognitive systems engineering in healthcare. Dr. Fairbanks has served in many national and international roles, including the National Patient Safety Foundation Board of Advisors, National Quality Forum (NQF) Patient Safety Measures Standing Committee, Certification Board for Professionals in Patient Safety (CPPS), Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Faculty, IHI Safety Advisory Expert (SAFE) Panel. He is Chair of the Maryland Patient Safety Center Board of Directors and was appointed to the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety in 2022. Dr. Fairbanks has served in advisory roles for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the American Medical Association and has held formal consultative positions with the US, Australian, British, and Spanish governments. In 2017 and 2022, he was listed by Becker’s Hospital Review in Top Experts Leading the Field of Patient Safety, and in 2022 he was elected as a Fellow in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

View Dr. Fairbanks' publications on PubMed

View Dr. Fairbanks’ Complete Bibliography

Research Areas

  • Healthcare Safety
    Healthcare Quality
    Safety Science
    Human Factors Engineering