Gilman assumes post of NIH Clinical Center chief executive officer
Decorated general with extensive management experience hits the ground running
Dr. James K. Gilman, a retired United States Army major general and cardiologist, took the helm of the NIH Clinical Center on Jan. 9, and was quick to make an impression on staff with his affable, positive demeanor and confident, efficient and yet consensus-oriented leadership style.
Gilman hit the ground running by participating in a Clinical Center Hospital Research Board meeting in his first week, followed soon thereafter with three "Meet the CEO" meetings in Masur Auditorium (at times to accommodate all shifts) and touring several departments. He plans to conduct regular town halls. Gilman's approach early on is biased toward listening first, and he emphasizes the importance of valuing staff at all levels, especially those on the front lines.
Gilman's priorities for the Clinical Center are clear. In a nutshell: "My focus is setting a high bar for patient safety and quality of care including the development of new hospital operation policies," Gilman asserted. A regular at the morning patient safety huddle in the Medical Board Room (See related content on page 7), he is committed to ensuring that the Clinical Center follows the principles of high reliability organizations, an area in which he has much experience.
On March 22, Gilman joined Dr. Peter Pronovost, senior vice president of Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, to present a special Grand Rounds focusing on patient safety. Gilman spoke on "Macro Medical Errors and the Just Culture," and Pronovost spoke on, "Working Toward High Reliability."
Once the federal hiring freeze lifts, Gilman plans to round out his leadership team, including hiring a COO who would oversee both clinical and operational functions.
Before his appointment to the NIH, Gilman was executive director of Johns Hopkins Military and Veterans Institute in Baltimore, Md., a position he assumed following his retirement from the Army in 2013.
Gilman is a highly decorated leader from his outstanding, decades-long service in the Army, with rich experience commanding numerous hospital systems, and who had oversight of all medical research and development for the Army while commanding the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in his final assignment.
Gilman hails from tiny Hymera, Ind., and after graduating from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a degree in Biological Engineering in 1974 he went to Indiana University School of Medicine and received his MD in 1978.
He graduated from the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians.
Well-travelled and an avid reader — recently completing Ron Chernow's tome "Alexander Hamilton" — he admits the tasks ahead, coupled with his new commute, may cut into some of his personal hobbies, but he doggedly finds time to safeguard his own health through regular exercise.
Gilman and his wife Jeffri are the parents of three adult daughters. They also have one grandchild who is in kindergarten this year.
With the arrival of Gilman, Dr. John I. Gallin transitioned his attention full time to new roles as the NIH associate director for Clinical Research and chief scientific officer of the Clinical Center.