Note: As of November 30th, 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholars program has closed.

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Michael D. Howell, M.D., M.P.H. (RWJ)

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
2009-2012 Cohort
Project Title:  “Preventing the Need for Rescue Care:  Averting Acute Inpatient Decompensations”

About the Project:

The project’s overall goal was to reduce the need for emergent, reactive inpatient rescue care by designing, implementing, and testing a system of care that predicts – and adjusts clinical resources to match – each patient’s projected future risk of acute clinical decompensation.


Michael D. Howell, M.D., M.P.H. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Medicine. Before entering medicine, he consulted in materials purchasing workflow analysis and automation for the company which built most of the space shuttle.  This longstanding interest in putting the right person in the right place at the right time flowed naturally into his current research focus on using near-real time risk prediction to optimize clinical resources for time-sensitive and error-prone diseases, with a particular interest in protocols which rapidly alter provider staffing.  Recent areas of focus include rapid response teams, protocol-based sepsis care, and hospital-acquired infection prevention approaches.

His Physician Faculty Scholars Program project, “Preventing the Need for Rescue Care: Averting Acute Inpatient Decompensations,” represented a logical extension of this prior work. 
Dr. Howell received his undergraduate degree in Asian Studies from Rice University and attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. Following internship, residency, and chief residency in medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), he completed subspecialty training in the Harvard Combined Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and BIDMC, as well as a Masters of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Today, Dr. Howell’s clinical, administrative, teaching, and research activities align around the care of critically ill patients and patients with incipient critical illness outside of traditional ICUs. He is the Associate Director of Medical Critical Care at BIDMC and also serves as the Director of Critical Care Quality in the Silverman Institute for Health Care Quality and Safety. He is the Research Director of BIDMC’s newly formed Research Core for InSIGHT (Integration of Standard Information Gathered using Healthcare Technology), which helps researchers and quality improvement teams leverage the vast array of data available in today’s healthcare world for clinical epidemiology, operations research, and quality improvement.

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