Meet the team of quality professionals who share the HQI vision for patient safety and quality, which will serve as a vehicle to harmonize efforts and accomplishments, and in so doing, lead the nation in high quality, safe and reliable health care, resulting in greater value and better health.


Barbara Abeling, PhD, MS, RN
Safety and Reliability Clinical Advisor

Barbara has over 25 years of experience in health care. She spent many years providing direct patient care, primarily in obstetrics, before transitioning to clinical informatics. Barbara brings a wealth of knowledge regarding the electronic health record on topics ranging from the end-user workflow perspective to data extraction. Barbara has experience with both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She obtained her Masters and her PhD in Nursing Science Healthcare Leadership from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.

(916) 552-7614

Asma Ahmad
CHPSO Coordinator

Asma has over 15 years of administrative coordinator experience, including ten years supporting executives. Her experience includes project coordination, documentation control, and database management. She has a strong background in customer service. Asma supports HQI and CHPSO with member contract and database management, and team calendar coordination, presentation development and travel arrangements.

(916) 552-7651

Jenna Fischer, CPPS
Vice President, Regional Quality Network

Ms. Fischer joined the HQI staff through her work at the  Hospital Council of Northern and Central California. Prior to her work at the Hospital Council, Ms. Fischer worked at Lumetra Healthcare Solutions, formerly the California Quality Improvement Organization, where she was the Director overseeing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) statewide hospital, nursing home, and home health improvement initiatives.  In this position her role focused on facilitating quality and patient safety improvement projects, and managing and growing business and community partnerships and coalitions.  Ms. Fischer has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare managing quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.

(925) 746-5106

Boris Kalanj, MSW
Director, Cultural Care and Experience

Boris Kalanj joined HQI in March 2014 as Director of Cultural Care and Experience. His background includes leadership in the design and direction of patient experience programs in public and private hospital systems, and leading organizational strategies in diversity, language access, cultural competence, and care equity. Mr. Kalanj’s Master’s of Social Work from the University of Minnesota and his deep frontline experience provides expertise to connect patient, family and community needs and preferences to hospital care and services.

(916) 552-7694

Scott Masten, PhD
Director, Performance Analytics

Scott Masten joined HQI in 2016 to help develop the Hospital Quality Intelligence Initiative (HQI2) data warehouse and advance our data processing, analysis, and reporting capabilities, as well as provide statistical consulting, program evaluation, and education for member hospitals.

(916) 552-7557

Steve Pon, MBA
Project Manager

Steve Pon is a project manager with HQI, heading up Hospital Quality Intelligence Initiative (HQI2). He has over 25 years of experience in the areas of business, education, and military. He came to HQI in 2017 from California Department of Public Health (CDPH), where he headed the statewide ELR project to convert laboratory reporting  to public health agencies from paper to electronic laboratory reporting (ELR). Steve earned a BS from the United States Naval Academy and MBA from Drexel University.

(916) 552-7647

Julia Slininger, RN, BS, CPHQ
Vice President, Regional Quality Network, Hospital Quality Institute

Ms. Slininger has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare Performance Improvement, Patient Safety, Risk Management, Infection Control, and Team Building- helping providers improve processes and outcomes. Facilitating peer-to-peer learning between healthcare teams, she has led several Collaboratives in the state of California, focused on a variety of goals including Patient Safety, Infection Prevention, Surgical Care Improvement, Readmissions Reduction and Team Communications.

(213) 538-0766

Theresa Wheat
Director of Operations

Theresa is Director of Operations for HQI. She is a proven leader with recognized experience optimizing productivity and efficiency through holistic management of business operations, finances, administration, logistics and corporate support services. She joined the Hospital Quality Institute in 2015 and has over 25 years of experience and award-winning results in both the transportation and media research industries and successful leadership of local, national and international teams.

(916) 552-7600