Johns Hopkins All Children's Heart Institute

Restoring Your Trust in Our Heart Institute 

Heart Institute: Update on new team members

We have recently welcomed new members to the Heart Institute team. Michael Puchalski, M.D., joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s earlier this year to serve as co-director of the Heart Institute and medical director of cardiology.

He was previously associate director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He also served as director of noninvasive imaging for cardiology after building the Fetal Heart Center and starting the cardiovascular MRI program. He was director of quality improvement for the Heart Center at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and medical director of outpatient services at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Riverton, Utah.

Dr. Puchalski joins James Quintessenza, M.D., who returned last year to serve as co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of cardiovascular surgery.

Andrew Smith, M.D., MSCI, MMHC, recently started as medical director of the cardiovascular intensive care unit. He was previously medical director of the CICU, associate chief of staff and executive medical director for quality and safety at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.

Christopher Talluto, M.D., joined the cardiology team and is leading the Adult Congenital Heart Disease program, providing continuity of care to our young adult patients who are transitioning to adult care and expertise in congenital heart defects (CHD) for any adult with a CHD. He was previously an adult congenital cardiologist and a pediatric cardiologist at Fairfax Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, where he was head of the adult congenital heart disease program and co-director of the exercise physiology lab.

James Thompson, M.D., also joined the cardiology team and leads the Interventional Cardiology program. Prior to joining he was a pediatric cardiologist and medical director for Child Cardiology Associates in Fairfax, and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology of the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He has performed device closure of over 1,600 defects, serves as an industry proctor and teaches other physicians device closure techniques, and leads research on new devices.

Jessica Laks, M.D., also joined the Heart Transplant program team this year. A pediatric cardiologist who specializes in heart failure and transplantation, she was previously a pediatric cardiologist at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario.

Courtney Wein, D.O., who specializes in pediatric and fetal cardiology, joined the team in late 2020. She sees patients at the hospital’s Outpatient Care location in Tampa, which provides patients with cardiology care closer to home. She completed a residency in pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, followed by a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami with additional training in fetal echocardiography at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital in New York City.

Gibson Dunn Recommendations

In December 2018, following a series of Tampa Bay Times articles concerning serious incidents involving the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Heart Institute, the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins Medicine established a Special Committee to review potential deficiencies that may have contributed to these incidents and to develop recommendations to address and correct any deficiencies. The Special Committee retained Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to undertake an external review to identify deficiencies at JHACH and JHHS and to make recommendations in connection with its observations to assist the Special Committee in carrying out its mandate.

Read the Recommendations

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