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Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor, Ph.D, MPH, CPPS

Director & Principal Investigator, FIRST

Dr. Taylor has been trained in the field of injury prevention and control, and uses its principles to address safety issues in healthcare and first responder industries.

Within healthcare organizations, she investigates safety and quality issues in both patient and provider populations. Her research focuses on system design for patient safety surveillance and the association between organizational culture and injuries to patients and nurses.

In an effort to comprehensively study patient safety, Dr. Taylor’s research unites evidence from the fields of injury prevention and control, quality improvement, and occupational safety. She employs an integrated public health approach to these issues through the study of patients, healthcare workers, and the policy environment. As an epidemiologist, she asks, "Do the associations between organizational climate and nurse injury extend to patients?" As a policy analyst, she asks, "What non-punitive policy alternatives to quality improvement might be possible to address growing patient and provider patient safety concerns?" As an injury professional, she asks, "How will the United States conduct the surveillance of patient safety events so we can assure the public of accurate statistics?"

For first responders, Dr. Taylor applies her surveillance and safety climate expertise to the U.S. fire and rescue service, investigating the relationship between safety culture and injury risk. This has been a natural extension of her patient safety work as many of the factors that impact medical care are found in the fire service. She served as the consultant epidemiologist to the International Association of Fire Chiefs' (IAFC) National Near-Miss Reporting System from 2007-2011, a fascinating system through which firefighters report hazards they observe in their environment.

Dr. Taylor’s recent grant awards include (3) FEMA Assistance to Firefighter grants to develop model firefighter nonfatal injury surveillance systems and a survey to assess safety climate and its relationship with firefighter injury.  She completed a NIOSH RO3 grant to apply machine learning algorithms to narrative text data from the IAFC Near-Miss system.

Prior to her academic appointment, Dr. Taylor served 15 years in state government, hospital quality management, and the basic sciences. She welcomes queries from, and extends mentoring to, students who are considering careers in these environments. Past positions include: the Chief of Health Statistics and Data Management for the State of New Hampshire, and Project Director of the CDC-funded program to establish emergency department data systems for injury surveillance at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.