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Lillian S. Kao, M.D., M.S.
Associate Professor, Surgery
University of Texas Medical School at Houston
2006-2009 Cohort
Project Title: "Prevention of Surgical Site Infections"

About the Project:

This study addressed latent and active errors linked to current instances of non-compliance of quality improvement programs, and the development and assessment of an intervention program, both aimed at reducing adverse outcomes from surgical infections.


Lillian S. Kao, M.D., M.S. is Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She graduated from the Integrated Premedical-Medical Program at University of Michigan. After completing a residency in general surgery, she completed a fellowship in gastrointestinal surgery at University of Washington in Seattle and a fellowship in surgical critical care at UT Houston. In 2002, she joined the faculty at UT Houston and at Lyndon Baines Johnson General Hospital, one of two county hospitals in Houston, Texas. She is currently also the co-director of the Center for Surgical Trials and Evidence-based Practice (C-STEP) and Vice-Chair of Quality for the Department of Surgery at UT Houston.

Dr. Kao’s main research interest is the prevention and treatment of surgical infections. One of her ongoing clinical projects is a trial of two glycemic control regimens in patients with necrotizing soft tissue infections, and she received the Surgical Infection Society Foundation for Research and Education Junior Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to pursue pilot data. She currently has an NIH K23 career development award to pursue a multi-center trial in this patient population. Another interest of hers is the prevention of surgical site infections, which are a significant problem resulting in worsened patient outcome and increased health care expenditures. In particular, she is interested in applying rigorous research methodology to quality improvement efforts to reduce surgical site infections, from using Bayesian methods for interpreting existing data and for guiding quality improvement efforts to using advanced observational study designs to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions as indicated by the strength of the evidence.

Dr. Kao’s Physician Faculty Scholars Program project was entitled "Prevention of Surgical Site Infections." She performed multiple studies on compliance with antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines and surgical site infections at two large safety-net hospitals in Houston, Texas. These studies included an evaluation of barriers to compliance with antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines, identification of predictors of non-compliance, and performance of a staggered cohort study of an intervention package to improve compliance at the two hospitals.

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