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News Release

ISMP Executive Vice President Allen Vaida Announces Retirement

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), an ECRI affiliate, has announced that Executive Vice President Allen Vaida, PharmD, FASHP, will be retiring at the end of March 2021. Dr. Vaida has been an integral part of the ISMP leadership team for decades, and has had an immense impact on patient safety, the practice of health-system pharmacy, and ISMP. He will be succeeded by Rita Jew, PharmD, MBA, BCCPS, FASHP, as ISMP's new vice president of operations. 

Dr. Vaida served as an ISMP trustee from its incorporation as a nonprofit organization until joining the staff in 2000 as executive director. Before that, he had a more than 20-year career in pharmacy and healthcare management, including serving as chief operating officer of Mercy Suburban Hospital in Norristown, PA where he implemented operational, patient safety, and high reliability practices. He has a long history as a medication safety advocate and was appointed the first chair of the Center for Proper Medication Use at the Pennsylvania Society of Health System Pharmacists, which co-sponsored the first fellowship in medication safety with ISMP. Dr. Vaida was a member of the inaugural U.S. Pharmacopeia Safe Medication Use Expert Committee from 2000-2005, and served on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Drug Safety and Risk Management and Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committees, the International Advisory Board of the Union of Risk Management for Preventive Medicine, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's National Collaborative for Improving the Clinical Learning Environment as well as its Patient Safety Task Force.

He also has published, presented, and consulted extensively on error prevention, healthcare outcomes, interdisciplinary collaboration, and hospital systems and management. He is on the editorial board of Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare and Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety. His past teaching appointments include clinical assistant professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, adjunct assistant professor at Temple University School of Pharmacy, and adjunct associate professor for the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University and Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Vaida has worked internationally on medication safety issues as well, with the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Medication Safety Network (IMSN), and given presentations in Japan, Europe, and the Middle East.  He has been interviewed for national radio, print, and television news stories and programs, including interviews on “The Early Show” with Julie Chen and “Good Morning America” with Diane Sawyer. He has won numerous awards, including the Sister Gonzales Lecture Award and Pharmacist of the Year award from the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists.  

"Allen has been an invaluable asset and a true leader in medication safety," says ISMP President Michael Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD (hon.), DPS (hon.), FASHP. "He will be sorely missed for his vision, collaborative spirit, and integrity. He has helped ISMP build a reputation as the gold standard for medication safety information and served as a mentor and role model for countless healthcare professionals."

Dr. Rita Jew, ISMP’s new vice president of operations, is a nationally recognized pharmacy executive and expert in hospital technology, medication management strategy, and operations. She has held leadership positions at several well-known children’s hospitals and health-system pharmacies, including University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She was most recently a principal at her own consulting practice, RKJ Health Partners, focusing on medication safety, pharmacy operations, pharmacy finance, specialty pharmacy, and sterile compounding as well as coaching and leadership training. She is a board-certified pediatric pharmacy specialist, Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Jew has published and presented on a wide range of pharmacy issues, including co-authoring a book on extemporaneous formulations for pediatric, geriatric, and special needs patients. She has served as Director-at-Large of the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists Board and President of the Delaware Valley Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (DVSHP). Her many honors and awards include a Children’s Hospital Association Honorable Mention in the Race for Results for improving patient safety by optimizing smart pump utilization, Friend of Nursing Award from the Association of California Nurse Leaders, Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists, and the Jonathan Roberts Award from DVSHP.

“I am incredibly proud to be joining ISMP and helping advance its crucial work to improve medication safety around the globe,” says Dr. Jew. “Allen Vaida leaves huge shoes to fill, but I am committed to our shared vision based on research, education, and advocacy. The future of healthcare is leading us toward increased use of technology and automation to prevent errors, and I am excited about the potential to protect patients, support healthcare practitioners, and create a safer future for us all.”

For more about Dr. Jew and the other medication safety experts on ISMP’s staff, visit: Staff | Institute for Safe Medication Practices (


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