Mar 22, 2021
Eric Wei, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, has been named to the Crain’s New York 2021 “40 Under Forty” list for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic. As an emergency medicine physician, Dr. Wei not only experienced the impacts of the pandemic from the frontline as he worked shifts in the emergency departments within the public hospital system, but he also played a critical role in the system’s response to the pandemic. His contributions included strategic planning to quadruple ICU capacity, reconfiguring emergency departments to accommodate the needs and patient volume demands of the pandemic, and leading the patient level-loading system that moved over 850 COVID-19 patients in the first NYC wave to ensure each hospital was operating safely considering high patient volumes. Dr. Wei also oversaw more than $35 million in donation to the public health system to help with employee accommodations, such as meals, transportation, and child care, and the expansion of the Helping Healers Heal program, aimed at supporting employees’ emotional and psychological well-being. Dr. Wei has been with NYC Health + Hospitals since 2018.
“I’m honored to be recognized on Crain’s “40 Under Forty” list, but the accolade wouldn’t be possible if I weren’t a part of a forward-thinking, healthcare organization that fosters creative, innovative problem solving and truly puts real people first,” said Dr. Wei. “As challenging as the pandemic was for all of us, I am eternally grateful for my incredible team and all my colleagues around me who helped keep the public health system going, and my family for their unwavering support through it all.”
During the first COVID-19 surge, NYC Health + Hospitals’ Helping Healers Heal (H3) program, which was launched in 2018 by Dr. Katz and Dr. Wei to help support healthcare workers through emotional and psychological trauma, second victimization, and burnout, was quickly scaled up. The expanded program encompassed unit-based wellness rounds, which include mental health experts and peer-support teams actively engaging employees working in areas heavily affected by COVID-19, H3 encounters that consisted of group debriefs, 1:1 peer support sessions, and wellness events, an anonymous behavioral health employee-only hotline, and the creation of respite/wellness rooms across the system to allow employees to take a break and engage in calming activities, such as meditation or crafting. Dr. Wei also helped to facilitate a Department of Defense partnership focused on combat stress management and resilience in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The system’s Office of Quality and Safety, which Dr. Wei oversees, also coordinated donations of more than $35 million during the COVID-19 pandemic to help fund services for staff, such as hotels for isolation, meals, laundry services, childcare, and more.
“There are few people more deserving of this recognition than Dr. Wei and I am grateful not only to have him as a colleague for all of these years, but that New York was able to benefit from his dedication, strategic thinking, resourcefulness, and commitment to quality, expert healthcare even in our most challenging days during the pandemic,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “What sets Eric apart from others is his generosity of spirit. While Eric was central to our COVID-19 response, his compassion perhaps shined the brightest – thinking of ways to provide frontline workers with hotels to help keep their families safe, or thinking of how to help employees launder their scrubs. NYC Health + Hospitals is lucky to have Eric on its team.”
Dr. Wei leads the Office of Quality and Safety, focused on fostering a culture of safety, building quality improvement capacity across all 40,000+ staff, aligning improvement efforts with system vision and strategic pillars, and becoming a data informed, high reliability organization. Dr. Wei also leads care experience, staff wellness, high value care, arts in medicine, spiritual care, data governance and analytics, emergency management, hospital police and security, and the Helping Healers Heal (H3) program. He is the fellowship director for the NYC Health + Hospitals Clinical Leadership Fellowship and launched Healthcare Administration Scholars Program (HASP) across 5 NYC Health + Hospitals sites. He is a practicing Emergency Medicine physician rotating through all 11 Emergency Departments in NYC Health + Hospitals. He serves on the board of MetroPlus Health and as faculty for the Greater New York Hospital Association/UHF Clinical Quality Fellowship Program.
Previously, he was the Interim Chief Quality Officer and Associate Medical Director for Quality, Safety and Risk for LAC + USC Medical Center in the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the second largest public safety-net system in the United States. In Los Angeles, Dr. Wei led lean teams in the emergency department and perioperative services, built the H3 program, created quality improvement capacity building programs, and led TeamSTEPPS and Just Culture implementation.
Dr. Wei received his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. He completed the combined MD and MBA program at University of California, Irvine in 2009. Dr. Wei completed his Emergency Medicine residency and the Healthcare Administration Scholars Program at the University of Michigan in 2013. He is Lean Healthcare, Six Sigma Black Belt, and TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer certified. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Wei was named in the Becker’s Hospital Review top 50 experts leading the field of patient safety in 2018 and 2020.