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The CPS Team

Meet the team of patient safety experts.

Passion Is Found Here

The team of experts at the Center for Patient Safety are some of the most passionate in the industry. With a diverse background focused on improvement methodologies and patient and provider safety practices, each member brings a robust set of skills that complements the rest of the team as well as every one of our clients. We are dedicated to adaptable practices and easy-to-implement programs.  We've been where you are and we know the hurdles. We are here because we want you to be successful.

Kathryn Wire, JD, MBA, CPPS, FASHRM

Executive Director

Kathryn has extensive experience managing risk and safety functions in acute care, including academic, tertiary and critical access, physician practices of all sizes, long-term care, and regional health systems, including the initiation of programs within large health systems. For ten years, she led her own consulting firm, sharing expertise in those areas. She has volunteered her time and leadership skills for numerous roles, including speaking and writing, for the American Health Lawyers Association, the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management and local chapters of those organizations. She is a certified Just Culture trainer and has worked with a number of organizations to integrate Just Culture and shared accountability into their safety culture journey.

Michael Handler, MD, MMM, FAAPL

Medical Director

Dr. Handler is the medical director for the Center for Patient Safety. As chief medical officer, Dr. Handler serves as liaison between the organized medical staff and administration, which advances the clinical practice of medicine for the campuses. He previously served as VPMA/chief medical officer for SSM St. Joseph Hospital Lake St. Louis in Lake St. Louis, MO from 2007 through 2017. Dr. Handler has been a physician in the state of Missouri since 1985. He operated a private Obstetrics and Gynecology practice in suburban St. Louis from 1989 through 2007. Dr. Handler also served as house obstetrician from 2001 through 2017 in SSM hospitals and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.Dr. Handler earned his medical degree at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and completed his residency in ob/gyn at St. Louis University. He earned his Master of Medical Management degree from Tulane University. He is a physician advocate and enjoys working with medical staff leadership to improve physician engagement and involvement in initiatives especially as they relate to quality and safety in the hospital setting.

Dr. Brian Froelke, MD, FACEP, FAEMS

EMS Medical Advisor

Dr. Froelke graduated from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine in 2002, graduated from his Emergency Medicine Residency at Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital in 2006 as chief resident, and was the inaugural fellow in EMS at Washington University graduating in 2007. Dr. Froelke is board certified in Emergency Medicine and holds a subspecialty certification in EMS. He is the Medical Director for EMS as well as the Community Health Access Program at Christian Hospital. He has served as the regional EMS Medical Director for the East Central Region since 2007, has served as the State EMS Medical Director for Missouri from 2013-1016, and is the President of the Interstate Disaster Medical Collaborative. Dr. Froelke accepted his newest role as EMS Medical Advisor to the Center for Patient Safety in 2017.

Eunice Halverson, MA, CPPS

Patient Safety Specialist

Eunice Halverson maintains a passion for improving patient safety. As such, in her role as Patient Safety Specialist for the Center, she enthusiastically assists organizations to improve their patient safety culture and processes. She also leads the Center’s Patient Safety Organization program by providing participants with education, data analysis, and sharing trends and practices to improve patient safety across the continuum of health care. She brings 35 years of leadership and hands-on experience working for a large health care system, focusing on patient safety, quality, risk management, performance improvement and regulatory and accreditation compliance. The last 11 years of her full-time career were spent as Corporate Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality. As a member of the first healthcare Baldrige recipient, she presented at numerous national, state, and local conferences and meetings. Eunice holds a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management Services from Webster University and is a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer. She served as a Malcolm Baldrige examiner for five years and was a member/chair of the Overseer Board for the Midwest Excellence Institute from 2001 – 2017. Known for her long-standing leadership in patient safety and quality initiatives, she was the recipient of the Missouri Hospital Association’s Quality Professional Award in 2008 and the Missouri Governor’s Award for Quality by the Excellence in Missouri Foundation in 2009.

Alex Christgen, MBA, CPPS, CPHQ

Data Services Manager

Alex Christgen is the Data Services Manager for the Center for Patient Safety, and has over 20 years of strategic planning, management, process improvement, team building, and culture change experience in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. She has been with the Center since 2011, overseeing the Center’s operations as Executive Director from 2015 to 2019. Alex’s current role provides a more hands-on approach into the Center’s data functions for PSO services and culture measurement. Formerly, Alex was a safety director for a manufacturing plant where she was introduced to Six Sigma quality improvement. She has since worked in a hospital and for the Department of Health and Senior Services in the regulatory division in the state of Missouri. She has years of experience in quality and performance improvement, survey assessment development, academic research and analysis. Alex also has Malcolm Baldrige experience, developing two award-winning applications for organizational performance excellence in healthcare. Alex holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbia College and she is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety and a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

Jennifer Uhlik

Project Manager

Jennifer Uhlik is the Survey Program Manager for the Center for Patient Safety and has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare consulting, project management, and process improvement, including more than 5 years in culture change orientation and healthcare organization culture measurement support. She has been with the Center since 2015, overseeing the Center’s survey operations. She is the administrative power for all patient safety culture surveys, working closely with client organizations in every state and among every care discipline.

Debby Vossenkemper, MBA, CPHQ

Patient Safety Consultant

Deborah (Debby) A. Vossenkemper, MBA, CPHQ, is a consultant for the Center for Patient Safety with more than 40 years in patient safety and quality roles, including SSM Health System Vice President Patient Safety and Quality (18 hospitals) from 2013 until her retirement in 2018.

Amy Vogelsmeier, PhD, RN

Patient Safety Researcher/Analyst