Marian Savage becomes President, Emmett Ervin elected President-Elect, Patricia Kirkpatrick elected as Secretary/Treasurer, Esther Emard named Director-at-Large and April Taylor becomes Healthcare Quality Certification Commission Chair

CHICAGO (March 25, 2021) – The National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) has announced its new board members: Marian Savage, PhD RN NEA-BC CPHQ PMP, Virginia Hospital Center, as its 2021 president; Emmett Ervin, MPA CPHQ, University of Maryland Medical Systems, as president-elect; Patricia Kirkpatrick, MJ RN CPHQ, Prospero Health, as Secretary/Treasurer; Esther Emard, RN MSN MSLIR CPHQ, George Washington University, as director-at-large; and April Taylor, MS MHA FACHE CMQ/OE CLSSBB CPS CPHQ, Johns Hopkins Hospital, as Healthcare Quality Certification Commission Chair.

“The entire NAHQ Board are prominent healthcare quality experts who agree that reducing variability in quality competencies will ultimately reduce variability in care delivery,” said Stephanie Mercado, CAE CPHQ, NAHQ CEO and executive director. “We are thrilled to welcome our new board members at a critical juncture in our history, as COVID-19 and other challenges have reinforced the need to close the quality gap. By continuing to advance NAHQ’s twice-validated competency framework for the healthcare quality workforce, we prepare the industry to deliver on the promise of value, better processes, reduced costs, and improved patient safety.”

Marian Savage, PhD RN NEA-BC CPHQ PMP, associate vice president at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA, has strong skills for analyzing existing processes and implementing innovative and compliant reforms to vastly improve patient services and outcomes. Savage is responsible for overall quality, infection prevention and patient safety operations and budget. In addition, she sets the strategic direction for compliance and regulatory initiatives. Her organization has been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital for high quality patient safety and has attained the CMS 4 Star Quality rating for excellence in mortality, quality and patient outcomes. Starting April 12, 2021, Savage will be the Vice President, Quality and Patient Experience for Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

“NAHQ’s vision is to help the healthcare quality profession become even more recognized and valued as essential,” said Savage. “This is such important work, as we take quality to the next level. While we have made tremendous strides in this area, there is still much work to be done. By deploying a workforce skilled in NAHQ’s industry-standard competencies, organizations can know they have solid, indispensable quality teams that will ask the tough questions and lead on implementing necessary changes.”

Emmett Ervin, MPA CPHQ, vice president at University of Maryland Medical Systems (UMMS) in Baltimore, MD, effective March 29, 2021, has 28 years of experience in quality, risk, and regulatory compliance in a variety of settings within the healthcare continuum. He is a self-professed lifelong patient advocate and will collaborate with stakeholders to assist UMMS in the development, implementation, and ongoing refinement of the clinical and regulatory compliance program. Ervin will also provide oversight, direction, and consultation to ensure that UMMS meets all clinical regulatory requirements as mandated by all internal programs, organizational standards, and external agency accreditation standards. To affect change, Ervin has created and implemented a variety of system-wide initiatives to increase stakeholder satisfaction and decrease costs.

“NAHQ’s competency framework and gold-standard certification, the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ), offer important actionable insights that allow clinical and operational leaders to improve performance,” said Ervin. “Serving on the NAHQ Board allows me to support the evolution of healthcare workforce development in a pragmatic way that will have real benefits for patients and stakeholders across the continuum of care.”

Patricia Kirkpatrick, MJ RN CPHQ, serves as director of quality and performance improvement at Prospero Health, a national, home-based medical care practice serving people with serious illness. Patricia has more than 30 years of healthcare experience spanning clinical nursing to leadership roles in quality and performance improvement. She has also been a member of several NCQA and CMS Technical Advisory Panels. Her most recent work has been developing HEDIS measures for LTSS/Duals, and serving on the Medicaid and CHIP Scorecard Advisory Panel.

“The use of telehealth and the expansion of telemedicine in all sectors of healthcare delivery and support is certainly anticipated,” said Kirkpatrick. “However, there may be gaps in technical education and knowledge among healthcare professionals focused on quality. NAHQ leads by ensuring its competency framework offers utility within any healthcare setting. NAHQ’s leadership will help professionals envision their roles with this virtual environment in mind.”

Esther Emard, RN MSN MSLIR CPHQ, is a member of the George Washington University School of Nursing faculty and has an Adjunct appointment in the School of Health Sciences where she teaches graduate-level courses primarily in Healthcare Quality & Patient Safety.

Emard has over 30 years of healthcare executive leadership on a national, regional and local level. Among her many positions, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors for a regional healthcare system. In addition, she was the chief operating officer for the National Committee for Quality Assurance for 12 years and then an additional one as a consultant for the organization. Prior to that, she was a senior vice president for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and also served as president of Harvard Community Health Plan of New England. Emard is the recipient of numerous national, regional and local awards of recognition for her service to the nursing community and healthcare in general. She has published several works on the topic of leadership, healthcare quality and patient safety.

“NAHQ continues to create innovative tools and resources that support healthcare quality professionals. As an educator I am passionate about seeing these concepts take hold during formal academic training,” said Emard. “I am very pleased and honored to serve on the NAHQ Board and look forward to ensuring we have a coordinated, competent healthcare quality workforce that can continue to support the improvements in healthcare outcomes & patient safety, both at the patient and population health level.”

April M. Taylor, MS MHA FACHE CMQ/OE CLSSBB CPS CPHQ, is vice president of quality at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and is currently working toward a degree in public health in the health policy and management doctoral program at Johns Hopkins University. Taylor is a long-time NAHQ volunteer and leader in healthcare. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Delaware County Community College for their Allied Health, Emergency Services, and Nursing Program.

“NAHQ is the preeminent home for healthcare quality professionals, and NAHQ’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) is a mark of distinction for one’s commitment to the field,” said Taylor. “The CPHQ is not a one-time accomplishment. It is an enduring credential that represents a commitment to lifelong learning and continued improvement.”

About NAHQ
NAHQ is the leader in healthcare quality competencies. NAHQ provides a strategic advantage to healthcare professionals and the organizations they serve by developing and evolving competencies in healthcare quality that result in better patient and financial outcomes to support the goals of healthcare value. NAHQ offers the industry-standard certification in healthcare quality, extensive educational programming, networking opportunities and career resources to help healthcare professionals meet the challenges they face. Learn more about NAHQ at

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