Internationally recognized for the use of simulation to advance health care quality and safety, Dr. Komal Bajaj was recently tabbed the newest member of Harvard University’s Center for Medical Simulation (CMS) Board of Trustees.
Bajaj, 41, is chief quality officer and clinical director of simulation at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. She is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and she was previously an adjunct faculty member at CMS.
“CMS has made a positive impact on both simulationists and patients globally, including catalyzing my own journey in this space more than a decade ago,” Bajaj said. “I’m honored to join the board of trustees of this trailblazing organization and advance its mission of using simulation to improve safety, quality and education in health care.”
Bajaj grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and in the late 2000s moved to NYC where she did a fellowship in reproduction genetics at Einstein Hospital. She quickly fell in love with that field and realized her calling was helping mothers and babies through research and simulation.
The simulation program launched at Jacobi in 2010 and for the past decade, she has not only impacted patients’ lives, but Bajaj and her colleagues have helped the program garner attention nationally as it was recognized by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
“I was very serious about delivering high-quality services to this diverse patient population,” she said to the Bronx Times. “I love being able to be a part of a patient’s life during an important part of their life.”
Since the Bronx has a high amount of women of color and Black women are three to four times more likely to die during pregnancy, Bajaj felt it was crucial to study how she can help improve the numbers in these communities.
The doctor compared her job to that of a basketball player. She said they don’t just play games and go home; they practice every day.
So by having a simulation program, she and her colleagues can reenact situations with babies and moms several times a day in hopes of finding a solution.
“Health care teams, they’re playing in the NBA finals every day,” she said.
Bajaj explained that the program at Jacobi has grown so much that it has an initiative with the city examining how to reduce life-threatening complications in pregnant women of color.
“As chief quality officer my goal is to equip our health care team to take the best care of patients and themselves,” she commented.
According to Bajaj, being tabbed a new board of trustee for the CMS at Harvard is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The program was established in 1993 and she hopes to help make it even better.
“They’re the pioneers in the field,” she said. “I’m really glad to be a health care professional in the Bronx.”