Eduardo Salas receives 2023 Eisenberg Award for individual achievement in improving health care quality


The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum (NQF) have announced that Eduardo Salas, the Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Professor in psychological sciences at Rice University, is a recipient of the 2023 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for individual achievement.

Eduardo Salas.
Eduardo Salas. Photo credit: Rice University/Jeff Fitlow

The Eisenberg Awards recognize major achievements by individuals and organizations that improved patient safety and health care quality.

Salas is recognized for his tremendous body of work across 40 years designing, developing and evaluating evidence-based principles and tools to help health care organizations create a culture of teamwork and safety. Most notable is his development of TeamSTEPPS™ (Team Strategies & Tools to Enhance Performance & Patient Safety), a coordination and teamwork framework that has been adopted by 70% of U.S. hospitals to help reduce medical errors.

“I am truly honored and humbled by this recognition,” Salas said. “There is nothing more fulfilling in one’s career than to have an impact on people’s lives.”

His work has reinforced focus on critical areas such as strategy design to facilitate adoption of team principles in high-stress, high-stakes environments and the use of innovative technologies such as medical simulation to advance the science and training of teamwork in health care environments.

He is well known for the translation of science into evidence-based best practices, which he has used to provide practical advice on topics including designing and deploying medical team training, creating a safety culture and managing and evaluating teamwork.

Salas is also a prolific scholar and has published more than 420 journal articles, authored two books, edited 36 books and 247 book chapters and bestowed hundreds of presentations. His work has been cited more than 133,000 times.

The Eisenberg Award panel acknowledged Salas’ tremendous impact in his field, denoting that the TeamSTEPPS approach and framework were pioneering and revolutionary to how team-based care is provided. TeamSTEPPS is now considered fundamental to quality and safety. The Eisenberg Award panel described Salas’ work as “visionary,” “trailblazing” and “incredibly influential.”

“Each year, the Eisenberg Awards showcase innovative health care quality and patient safety efforts that have had a significant demonstrable impact on improving patient outcomes and reducing avoidable health care harms,” said Dana Gelb Safran, president and CEO of NQF. “The work of this year’s individual and institutional recipients embodies the legacy of Dr. Eisenberg, who was a visionary pioneer and changemaker committed to translating research into real-world delivery system improvements that ensure safe, reliable and effective care for every patient in every setting. The Joint Commission and NQF are proud to recognize these outstanding innovators as we continue to honor Dr. Eisenberg’s enduring contributions to our field.”

To learn more about the achievements and strategies of each awardee, visit The Joint Commission and NQF websites. The achievements of each awardee will also be featured in a special issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety later this year.

Launched in 2002, the awards honor the late Dr. John M. Eisenberg, MBA, former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. An impassioned advocate for health care quality improvement, Dr. Eisenberg was a founding member of NQF’s board of directors.