In July 2020, following an extensive national search, Nationwide Children’s welcomed renowned quality and safety expert Rustin Morse, MD, as chief medical officer. He will lead key operational areas in clinical care and medicine, as well as guiding the future of our nationally acclaimed quality and safety program, Zero Hero. Dr. Morse, who is also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, currently serves on the national Clinical Steering Committee for Solutions for Patient Safety and the Quality and Safety Committee of the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Hospital Association. He is a board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physician who has continued to practice emergency medicine throughout his career and has an outstanding track record leading and advancing quality and safety programs in pediatric health care.
Q: What excites you about joining Nationwide Children’s Hospital?
A: While I’ve admired Nationwide Children’s from afar and the quality and safety program established by my predecessor Rich Brilli, MD, throughout my interviews, I was impressed by the culture here. The genuine commitment to and interest in quality and safety came through in every conversation. And the One Team culture was palpable — even before I learned about the One Team values, they were evident.
Q: How did you become interested in pediatric quality and safety?
A: I started my career as a pediatric emergency medicine physician and aspired to one day run an emergency department. I was in a leadership role very early in my career and was addressing issues, improving processes and systems, and improving outcomes, long before I realized one could have a career focused on quality and patient safety. Through a series of fortuitous opportunities and excellent mentorship, my interest in quality and safety strengthened and my career trajectory changed. I’ve been very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to grow in different positions in quality and safety work. And I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing that experience to Nationwide Children’s to lead the outstanding program here.
Q: What is our organizational responsibility to make quality and safety a priority?
A: We owe it to our patients and their families to provide a safe place for them to get the best possible care. We owe it to our staff to provide the safest place for them to work. No one should come to work and get hurt — whether that’s from slipping on a wet floor or being injured by a patient or harassed by a family member. Ensuring safety is at the core of Zero Hero and what we do here at Nationwide Children’s. And we’ll continue to make that a priority. Additionally, we need to evolve and grow quality beyond safety. We owe it to our community and our patients — whether they are from around the corner or across the globe — to continue to be one of the best children’s hospitals in the United States. We must continue to study and refine care delivery, further strengthen our population health activities, and do our part to address racism and health inequities to ensure the best outcomes for all children.