CCHHS Appoints New Directors to Lead Security and Life Safety Departments

The Cook County Health & Hospitals System has appointed Richard Cinfio as the new Director of Public Safety & Security and Lezah Brown-Ellington, PhD, MSPH, CHMM, to the position of Director of Life Safety.

Rich Cinfio comes to CCHHS from California where for the last four years he was the Director of Security and Environmental Services; and Emergency Manager for NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield and Vacaville.

Cinfio is a frequent public speaker on hospital security, incident command and human behavioral threat assessment in clinical environments. Rich developed “The First 15-Minutes” Hospital Incident Command System, recognized by the Joint Commission as a Best Practice, and “The Menu Approach” to human behavioral threat assessment, victim empowerment and threat mitigation.

He has conducted more than 150 human behavioral threat assessments and served as a consultant/instructor for active shooter defense, conflict resolution and facility defensibility.  Cinfio co-developed the “Block, Talk and Walk” personal self-defense system specifically designed for clinical and non-clinical staff. He has served as incident commander for numerous large-scale events including two United States Presidential visits.

Cinfio’s previous experiences include serving 30 years in law enforcement where he retired as a Commander.  In addition, he worked for Stanford University in their public safety department. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Law Enforcement Command College, the West Point Leadership Program and San Jose State University.  He has completed two human behavioral threat assessment programs, the Stephen Covey Leadership Institute and If Disney Ran Your Hospital.

“I feel very fortunate to be part of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System team. Contributing to a culture of safety for patients and staff is what I value most,” said Cinfio.

Brown-Ellington comes to CCHHS with over 26 years of experience in the occupational and environmental health field. She has served as a Federal OSHA compliance officer, health and safety officer and director in healthcare at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and Loyola Medical Center; as well as positions in private industry.

Brown-Ellington has experience in developing compliance programs for healthcare pertaining to The Joint Commission requirements that encompasses all levels of exposures and responsibilities. She will provide leadership and oversight to the Environment of Care Program which will address The Joint Commission, OSHA, EPA and other regulatory agency requirements.

Brown-Ellington earned her Bachelors of Science in Industrial Hygiene from Purdue University, her Masters of Science in Public Health in Industrial Hygiene from the UIC School of Public Health (UIC/SPH) and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences from the UIC/SPH.