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Robert M. Wachter

Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Robert Wachter is professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Associate Chairman of UCSF's Department of Medicine, and Chief of the Medical Service at UCSF Medical Center. He was also the first elected President of the Society of Hospital Medicine, the fastest growing physician professional society in the U.S. He has published more than 100 articles and three books in the areas of clinical epidemiology, health policy and economics, medical education, and ethics. His 1996 New England Journal of Medicine article entitled "The Emerging Role of Hospitalists in the American Health Care System," coined the term "hospitalist" and defined the new specialty. He edits the field's leading textbook, Hospital Medicine, and directs UCSF's 17-member hospitalist program. He is also a national leader in the field of medical errors and patient safety. He is editor of "AHRQ WebM&M" (, a case-based patient safety journal on the Web, and "Quality Grand Rounds," a case-based series on errors in the Annals of Internal Medicine. He was project director of Making Healthcare Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices, produced for AHRQ and published in 2001. Nearly 100,000 copies of the report were distributed. His book on medical errors (written with Dr. Kaveh Shojania), Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America's Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes, was recently published by Rugged Land. He recently received one of the 2004 John M. Eisenberg Awards, the nation's top honor for contributions to the field of patient safety.