OpenNotes Team


Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center - Giving Matters Spring 2010

Tom Delbanco, MD &
Jan Walker, RN, MBA

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Executive Director


Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPh

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Sigall Bell, MD, is the OpenNotes Director of Patient Safety and Discovery, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS).  Dr. Bell leads the OpenNotes Patient Safety Initiative, a multi-site study examining the relationship between OpenNotes and safety outcomes. With her collaborators, she developed a patient reporting tool linked to OpenNotes, among the first in the country to solicit patient feedback on notes to improve safety and quality efforts. She also leads educational innovations that derive from OpenNotes, such as including patients and family voices in medical education through feedback on notes, and directing OpenNotes Toolkit development.

Dr. Bell also serves as Director of Patient Safety and Quality Initiatives at the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice (IPEP), Boston Children’s Hospital, where she is part of a team that has trained over 600 interprofessional clinician-leaders in medical error disclosure nationally.  She has participated in several AHRQ liability reform projects focused on national disclosure and offer programs, and involving patients in post-adverse event learning. As a recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Professorship, her research probes the effects of organizational culture and the “hidden curriculum” – the customs that shape communication and moral decision-making in the clinical learning environment – on patient safety. With her collaborators she has helped develop a “speaking up scale” to enhance safety culture metrics, and a new educational paradigm for “Patients as Teachers” in inter-professional training sessions on medical error disclosure and speaking up.  Dr. Bell has received several teaching awards, and is a member of Academy of Medical Education at Harvard Medical School


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Hannah Chimowitz, BA, is a Clinical Research Assistant II for the OpenNotes team. She received her B.A. from Rhodes College in philosophy and psychology with a focus in gender and ethics. Interested in exploring the connections between human well-being, medicine and moral philosophy, Hannah worked at the Institute for Human Values in Health Care at the Medical University of South Carolina before coming to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Her interests include public health ethics, women’s mental health, and the role of community-based participatory research in social change.


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Homer Chin, MD, MS is an affiliate professor in the department of Medical Informatics and Outcomes Research at the Oregon Health and Science University and a member of the board of OCHIN, a not-for-profit organization that provides information and management services to safety-net clinics in support of the medically underserved.. Before his recent retirement from administration in 2013, Dr. Chin was the associate medical director for medical informatics at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. Dr. Chin received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and completed an academic fellowship in medical informatics at Stanford University before joining Kaiser Permanente, where he led pioneered efforts to implement an award winning comprehensive outpatient computer-based patient record at Kaiser Permanente.

Dr. Chin has extensive knowledge of medical informatics and electronic health systems. As a member of the OpenNotes team, he works with EHR vendors to implement functionality that supports OpenNotes.


Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH, is Research Director for OpenNotes. She is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health, and a practicing attending physician at Harborview Medical Center. Dr. Elmore received her medical degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residency training in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, with advanced training in epidemiology from the Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. She was Associate Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program at Yale and the University of Washington, recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Faculty Award, and subsequently a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Faculty award and the Clinical Scholars Program.

Dr. Elmore’s clinical and scientific interests include variability in cancer screening, diagnostic testing, and the evaluation of new technologies. She has co-authored a textbook on epidemiology, biostatistics, and preventive medicine. In addition, Dr. Elmore enjoys seeing patients as a primary care internist and teaching clinical medicine to students and residents.



Rossana Fazzina, MS, is the OpenNotes Communications Program Manager in the Division of General Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She studied at the University of Turin (BS, MS) and at SDA Bocconi University where she received her second Master’s degree in Healthcare Management, Economics and Policy. She has experience conducting healthcare quality improvement research and performance improvement initiatives at the University of California, San Francisco.

Her scientific interests have a strong focus on supporting measurable improvements in health care systems’ performances and fostering a culture of creativity and innovation.


Amy Fellow

Amy Fellows, MPH, is the Executive Director of We Can Do Better. We Can Do Better’s mission is to create opportunities for nonpartisan civic education and engagement, bringing people together who share the values of better health care and health for all. We Can Do Better is responsible for bringing the OpenNotes movement to Oregon and is the convener of the Northwest OpenNotes Consortium, which currently includes over 10 health systems that have so far allowed over 1 million patients access to their chart notes through their patient portals. Amy is involved in the vulnerable population and vendor strategies for furthering the spread of OpenNotes nationally.


Fernandez02-03Leonor Fernandez, MD, is an educator and internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School . Her work and teaching is focused on patient centered care, health equity, and improving health care for vulnerable populations. She has authored publications about health literacy, cultural competence, and medical education and led national conferences on health disparities and immigrant health. Dr. Fernandez co-founded the Latino Clinic at Boston Medical Center, served as an Associate Firm Chief of Health Care Associates at Beth Israel, and is currently the Director of Patient Engagement at Health Care Associates, the hospital’s principal primary care practice. She leads Schwartz Rounds at Beth Israel, an interdisciplinary forum on human issues in health care.

With OpenNotes, Dr. Fernandez focuses on improving our ability to communicate, empower, and meaningfully engage patients from all backgrounds, including those with chronic illness or limited health literacy.


alanAlan Fossa, MPH, is a Biostatistician and statistical programmer with the OpenNotes team. Alan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University. Before coming to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Alan was an epidemiologist at the Boston Public Health Commission studying the impact of pest management on the health of low income urban populations.

His primary professional goals are to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations through effective research and personal empowerment.


Photo by Scott KingsleyMacda Gerard, BA, is a Clinical Research Assistant for the OpenNotes Project in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She cooperates in the investigation of the impact of increased transparency between clinicians and patients. She has experience screening research subjects, facilitating focus groups, and evaluating clinical factors in clinical research projects. Educated at Brown University, she is interested in disparities in healthcare access and delivery within underserved communities and is committed to projects which aim to encourage individuals’ autonomy in their personal health through improvements in access.


Danny Karnes, MA is the Research Administrative Supervisor for Research and Academic Affairs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and serves as the Finance Director for the OpenNotes team.

Before coming to Beth Israel in 2009, Danny studied history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his master’s degree in applied anthropology from Oregon State University. Danny is passionate about world cultures and has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal.


Kelly Lawman, BS, is the Director of Communications for OpenNotes. She is a multimedia producer and leads film production, media relations, and website development for the OpenNotes team. Kelly has a versatile background in film and television production, having worked her way through independent film and television documentary to land squarely and comfortably in science and medical media, first at WGBH-TV and now for BIDMC. A graduate of Emerson College, where the journalism seeds sprouted at Emerson’s WERS-FM, Kelly has always embraced the challenge of telling a good story. She is deeply engaged in promoting social justice and the notion of personal empowerment and responsibility.


Suzanne Leveille, RN, PhD, is a Professor of Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she directs the Nursing PhD Program.  In addition, she is an epidemiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and lecturer at Harvard Medical School.  She has expertise in the conduct and analyses of epidemiologic studies and is currently leading a longitudinal cohort study of chronic pain as a risk factor for disability and falls in older adults living in the Boston area, funded by the National Institute on Aging.  She co-led an RWJF-funded study of a portal-based health coaching intervention to improve patient-doctor communication about chronic health problems in primary care.  This was among the first such studies conducted entirely online from patient screening and recruitment through study follow-up.

As a member of the OpenNotes team, Dr. Leveille is examining new approaches to patient access to online medical records in order to empower patients for self-management of chronic conditions. Dr. Leveille served on the Board of Directors for the Boston Partnership for Older Adults, a city-wide coalition of aging services funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose purpose was to improve community-based long term care services of Boston’s elder population.  She is currently a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Board for the Boston Commission for Persons with Disabilities.


OpenNotes Picture MafiJohn N. Mafi, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, where he also practices and teaches primary care. He also serves as an Affiliated Adjunct in Health Policy at RAND Corporation. Dr. Mafi completed his undergraduate studies at Northwestern University and then went on to complete medical school at Case Western Reserve University, where he served as Student Body President and was an elected member and President of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society. He then finished his internal medicine residency training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2012, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident in 2013-2014. Most recently, Dr. Mafi completed the Harvard Medical School Fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and earned his MPH at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Mafi’s research interests include quality of care, value, and innovation. He recently led an analysis assessing the quality of back pain management in the United States and found alarming increases in rates of imaging, referrals, and opioid medication use. His first-author work entitled “Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain” received widespread national coverage, including the New York Times, NPR, and NBC Nightly News. Currently he is leading research evaluating the impact of primary care physicians inviting patients to read and even contribute to their visit notes. He is particularly interested in how the intersection between health information technology, transparency, and patient engagement can enhance the quality of care.


Long Ngo, PhD, is a member of the research faculty in the Department of Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Associate Professor of Medicine in biostatistics at Harvard Medical School.  He collaborates with colleagues in general medicine, radiology, emergency medicine, and environmental health. His methodology research interests are in model selection, longitudinal data analysis, and semiparametric modeling.  Dr. Ngo received his doctorate in Biostatistics from the University of California at Berkeley, and completed a fellowship in Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health.



Stephen F. O’Neill, BCD, JD, holds the positions of Director of Medical Education in Social Work at BIDMC and Social Work Consultant at the Massachusetts Medical Benevolent Society in Waltham. He completed a Fellowship in Bioethics in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School and he is a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Social Medicine and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work. He is the author/co-author of a number of articles, chapters and a book entitled “Legal Issues in Social Work” (2004) and he chairs the National Association of Social Work’s Massachusetts Chapter’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Review, the adjudicatory arm of NASW.

He has extensive teaching experience, numerous committee assignments including the Professional Review Task Force of NASW, Harvard Medical School’s Ethics Consortium and Harvard Medical School’s Ethics Leadership Group. He is exploring the impact of sharing visit notes on behavioral health providers and patients.


amanda's bioAmanda Norris, MDiv, MTS is the Administrative Assistant for the OpenNotes team. Amanda studied Ethics at Union University in Tennessee before pursuing two Master’s degrees at Boston University School of Theology, where she studied Hebrew Bible and Practical Theology with an emphasis on narrative philosophy, art & aesthetics, and trauma studies. She is passionate about supporting individuals to become full partners in their own healthcare, and is proud to support the OpenNotes mission to bring greater clarity, efficacy, and partnership to patients and healthcare providers alike.


James Ralston, MD, MPH, is an Associate Investigator at Group Health Research Institute at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. His research focuses on Web-based and mobile communications technologies to improve health and health care for patients with chronic medical conditions—an effort that requires carefully evaluating whether such technologies foster stronger connections between patients and care teams. He has led and contributed to research showing that using the Internet to move care from the provider’s office to the patient’s home leads to promising outcomes for patients with conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

In addition to his position at Group Health, Dr. Ralston serves as an Affiliate Assistant Professor of both Health Services in the School of Public Health and Biomedical and Health Informatics in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Ralston also practices internal medicine at Group Health Cooperative.


Santa Dr. - FinalJohn Santa, MD, MPH, is the Director of Dissemination for OpenNotes. Dr. Santa played a leadership role in starting the Northwest OpenNotes Consortium and he now leads the development of future consortia. He lives in Oregon but is thrilled to travel throughout the country telling physicians and patients about OpenNotes.

Dr. Santa has over 40 years of experience in clinical medicine and administration, having worked in leadership positions for hospitals, physician groups, insurers and state government. Before coming to OpenNotes, he was Medical Director for the Drug Effectiveness Review Project, one of the country’s most robust comparative effectiveness programs, as well as the Director of the Health Ratings Center at Consumer Reports from 2008 to 2014. The Ratings Center focuses on explicit approaches evaluating and comparing health services, products, institutions and practitioners.

Dr. Santa practiced primary care internal medicine from 1976 to 1992 and 2003 to 2008 and is currently a Board member and Treasurer of the National Physicians Alliance. He has taught in multiple venues—introductory courses to clinical medicine, resident courses in public health and preventive medicine and health policy courses.



Rebecca A. Stametz, MPH, Ed.D. is the Administrative Director of Innovation Research & Evaluation for the Center for Clinical Innovation in the Geisinger Institute for Advanced Application. The Center for Clinical Innovation is a physician-led think tank, analytic and evaluation team, and software development group that reengineers care delivery through clinical care process redesign and health information technology.  Dr. Stametz is actively involved in the leadership of two of the Center’s three interrelated laboratories, including 1) the Patient and Family Engagement Laboratory, which pursues the development of technologies and appropriate evaluation methodologies for engaging patient and families through the use of health information technology and 2) the Learning Health System Technologies Laboratory, which seeks to develop applications, methodologies, and infrastructure to support widespread learning initiatives across the Geisinger Health System. From a scientific perspective, her interests include exploring patient and family engagement strategies, transparency in medicine, and the evaluation of new health information technologies.

Dr.  Stametz works on a number of OpenNotes initiatives, including exploring how OpenNotes impacts medical education and caregiver support.



Deb2Deborah W. Wachenheim, MSc, is the Manager of Stakeholder Engagement. As part of the OpenNotes dissemination team, Ms. Wachenheim helps to spread the implementation of OpenNotes across the country. She has a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BS from Cornell University.

Ms. Wachenheim has a background in consumer engagement in health care and is working to involve consumers in advocating for Open Notes implementation. Prior to working at OpenNotes, she worked at Health Care For All, a statewide consumer health advocacy organization, engaging consumers in speaking up about the need to improve the quality of health care. She also oversaw the successful consumer campaign to mandate that all Massachusetts hospitals establish Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) and then she developed a statewide PFAC network to provide technical assistance and resources to PFACs in Massachusetts.

Ms. Wachenheim previously worked at Jewish Vocational Service of Greater Boston, where she developed and ran a food stamp outreach and education program. Before that she coordinated a campus social justice program through the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. Deb also worked at RESOLVE, the national infertility organization, as the Director of Government Relations.


We wish to acknowledge the many other contributors for their invaluable work on the OpenNotes project:

Elaine Bianco, BSN; Carolyn Conti, BS; Jonathan Darer, MD, MPH; Shireesha Dhanireddy, MD; Christopher Dries, BA; Nadine Farag, MPH; Amy Goldman, BA; Robert Harrington, MD; James I. Hoath, PhC; Sarah Jackson, MD, MPH; Margaret Jeddry; Jing Ji, MS; Jared Klein, MD, MPH; Bryan Lee, MD, JD; Marc Lichtenfeld, PhD; J. Andrew Markiel, PhD; Lawrence Markson, MD, MPH; Roanne Mejilla, MPH; Natalia Oster, MPH; Steve Ross, MD; Joan Topper, BS; Neha Trivedi, BS; Bethye Vodicka, MHA;Qiang Wang, MD; Clara De La Cruz Watral, MBA