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Thomas H.

Professor, Medicine
Professor, Bioethics and Humanities
Associate Chair, Department of Medicine, Patient Care Quality, Safety and Value
Director, UW Medicine Center for Scholarship in Patient Care Quality and Safety

Education & Training

  • MD, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1990)
  • Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine, Barnes Hospital, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (1990–1993)


  • Elected to 3-Year Term on Council, Society of General Internal Medicine (2010)
  • President, Society of General Internal Medicine Northwest Region (2009)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research (2008)
  • SGIM Physician-Investigator of the Year Award (2008)
  • SGIM Best Published Research Paper of the Year (2004)
  • Fellow, American College of Physicians (2004)
  • Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholars in Bioethics Award (2003)
  • Marion E. Smith Junior Faculty Research Award (2003)
  • David E. Rogers Junior Faculty Education Award (2002)
  • Samuel L. Goldstein Leadership Award in Medical Student Education (2001)
  • SGIM Initial Mentorship Award (2000)
  • Milton W. Hamolsky Junior Faculty Award (1996)
  • Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program (1993–1995)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (1986)


Dr. Gallagher's research explores the interfaces between healthcare quality, accountability, and communication. Over the last twenty years, he has led a variety of qualitative and quantitative research projects addressing the optimal response to adverse events and errors in healthcare, work that has supported the development of what are known as Communication and Resolution Programs (CRPs). CRPs are comprehensive, principled, and systematic programs for preventing and responding to harm events in healthcare. This body of research was recognized in 2017 with the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Achievement, presented by the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission. Dr. Gallagher recently received a 4-year, $4 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to partner with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital on an ambitious research project to detect cases of delayed diagnosis of cancer in real time and respond to these situations with patient support and learning. His research also seeks to promote more effective approaches to professionalism and self-regulation, specifically addressing the challenges of ensuring the safe practice of physicians as they age.  

In addition to this scholarship, Dr. Gallagher built and leads a national program to advance the implementation of highly reliable CRPs, the Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement (CAI). The CAI supports a variety of initiatives to support healthcare organizations with their work on CRPs; promotes CRP-related policy at the federal, state, and local levels; and drives CRP innovation. 

Research Interests

  • Ethical and communication issues in conflicts of interest
  • Research ethics
  • Disclosure of medical errors and adverse events

Selected Research Projects

CRP Certification: Promoting Accountability and Learning after Adverse Events

Communication and Resolution Programs (CRPs) are a rapidly emerging innovation for promoting patient-centered accountability and learning following adverse events. CRP Certification involves a panel of CRP experts and patient advocates reviewing voluntarily submitted CRP cases to determine whether the response contained all the CRP key elements (early event reporting, disclosure to patient, event analysis and prevention planning, resolution with patient, disseminated learning). Cases meeting this standard will be “CRP Certified.” This project will conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the CRP Certification Program including a descriptive analysis of the cases presented for review and their disposition; reviewing state board of medicine records to describe how the boards responded to CRP certified cases; and conducting key informant interviews with institutional risk managers, liability insurers, board of medicine members, patient advocates, and participating physicians to explore their perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the CRP Certification Program.

Detecting, Addressing and Learning From Patient-Perceived Breakdowns in Care

The goals of this project are to develop, implement, disseminate, and evaluate a program for detecting, addressing, and preventing patient-perceived breakdowns in care.

CRP Certification: A Novel Approach to Accountability and Regulation Following Medical Error

This project will launch and evaluate the Communication and Resolution Program (CRP), a novel approach to balancing professional self-regulation and public oversight in the response to medical error.

The Collaborative for Accountability after Medical Injury

Communication and Resolution Programs (CRPs) have started to spread nationally. Following adverse events, these programs conduct a rapid investigation of what happened, provide a full explanation about the event and apology to the patient, proactively make an offer of compensation to the patient if the care was found to be unreasonable, and ensure that lessons learned are integrated back into care delivery to prevent recurrences. The Collaborative for Accountability after Medical Injury is poised to bring CRPs to scale in the US and beyond. This project aims to strengthen and spread CRPs across the country by providing mentorship and guidance on best practices; create a policy environment that supports, rather than inhibits, CRPs; and cultivate the growing community for CRP pioneers everywhere.


publication highlights