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Elizabeth Johnson, MSHP
Director of Rehabilitation Services
Peterson Health

Elizabeth Johnson is currently the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Peterson Health in Kerrville, TX. She has more than 30 years of experience in managing rehabilitation programs including Inpatient Rehab Facilities (IRF), outpatient centers and contract management services. She currently serves as an Accreditation Surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Elizabeth has received various awards, including Administrator the Year and a Tenet Heroes nomination. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has been a strong advocate for improving patient experience by building better lines of communication between patients, families and the healthcare team. She has also been very active in developing support programs for patients to be successful after discharge. These services include follow-up clinics, support groups and peer mentor programs.

Elizabeth holds a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Texas State University and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Spanish from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.

Firas Zabaneh, MT, MBA
Director of System Infection Prevention and Control
Houston Methodist

Firas Zabaneh is the director of system infection prevention and control at Houston Methodist. After graduating with a degree in medical technology from the University of Iowa in 1986, Firas entered the health care field as a clinical microbiologist. He worked in clinical and research microbiology for 15 years prior to transitioning into the field of infection control. He held multiple management positions at a reference and research lab, as well as at a large academic medical center laboratory. In 2001 Firas began focusing on epidemiology, starting his career in infection prevention and control. He has maintained board certification in infection control and indoor air quality for the last 17 years. Since 2009, Firas has managed system infection control departments at two large health care systems, overseeing multiple facilities including hospitals, community emergency centers and clinics.

At Houston Methodist, Firas has a central role in the fight against COVID-19 in its eight hospitals. As a command center member, he is responsible for all personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance and training as well as infection control measures during this time.

Prior to joining Houston Methodist in 2015, Firas worked at St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System for 18 years. During his career, Firas was involved in multiple research studies focused on the prevention of communicable and health care associated infections. He leads numerous initiatives related to process improvement, indoor air quality, standardized work flow, emergency response, and high-consequence infectious disease response. He has extensive knowledge in specialized areas of infection control that include outbreak investigation, root cause analysis, total quality management, regulatory accreditation readiness, environmental hygiene, sterilization and high-level disinfection, and building design.

Karen Kendrick, MSN, RN, CPHQ
Vice President of Clinical Initiatives
Texas Hospital Association

Karen Kendrick currently serves as the Vice President of Clinical Initiatives for the Texas Hospital Association (THA). In this role she oversees a variety of quality improvement and patient safety programs while also providing support and a nursing perspective to the many other activities and initiatives within THA.

Ms. Kendrick has over 30 years of progressive nursing leadership and management experience in a variety of hospital settings. For the past 12 years her work has primarily focused on hospital quality and safety, including Culture of Safety programs, patient and family engagement, regulatory compliance, quality assurance/improvement activities, and risk management.


Robert S. Hendler, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Texas Hospital Association

Dr. Hendler currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for the Texas Hospital Association. He is a board-certified physician who has demonstrated success with improved patient quality outcomes, reduction in length of stay, utilization management, improved physician relations, and peer review processes.

Dr. Hendler has significant experience in quality improvement, safety culture and high reliability strategies. Working in healthcare for over 45 years, his proven management and leadership skills have assisted a variety of healthcare organizations achieve demonstrable improvement.


Ensuring a safe environment for patients, caregivers, and ancillary staff is job one for hospitals. The unique challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic required hospitals to create/recreate spaces and processes in the midst of a crisis. How might the lessons-learned inform environments of care in the future?

Hosted by: Texas Hospital Association

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