News Release


The MPL Association Elects James Q. Swift as Board Chair, Appoints Three New Officers

(Rockville, MD, May 7, 2020)—James Q. Swift, DDS, FACS, director and chair of OMS National Insurance Company (OMSNIC) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Fortress Insurance Company,has been selected to serve as the chair of the Medical Professional Liability Association (MPL Association). He is the first dentist to serve as chair of the organization.

Serving since 2014 as director and chair of OMSNIC, a medical professional liability insurance company with 100% specialization in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Dr.Swift is also a professor in the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.

Dr. Swift is a former president of the American Dental Education Association as well as former President of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Dental Education Association. In 2015, he received the Robert V. Walker Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Dr. Swift practices full-scope oral and maxillofacial surgery in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

“The MPL industry faces unprecedented change and challenge, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold,” said Dr. Swift. “I look forward to working with the Association board members, its member companies, affiliate partners, and staff during this historic time. The work of the MPL Association to advance and defend the interests of its members and to promote the quality delivery of healthcare is more critical now than ever.”

In addition to naming Dr. Swift its chair, the MPL Association—the leading international organization representing the MPL insurance community—elected three new board members to 3-year terms.

Sarah E. Scher, JD, RN,is chief executive officer of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) and of the Mutual Protection Trust (MPT). Ms. Scher, who has an extensive leadership background in healthcare, law, patient safety, risk management, captive insurance, and medical professional liability, directs all CAP businesses, which provide access to medical professional liability protection, patient safety education, and risk management services. Prior to joining CAP in February 2015, Ms. Scher was corporate vice president of risk management and insurance, president of the Advocate Physician Partners Risk Purchasing Group, and chair of Advocate Insurance SPC for Chicago-based Advocate Health Care, Illinois’ largest health system.She also serves on the MPL Association CEO/COO Section. Earlier in her career, Ms. Scher was a registered nurse and worked in hospital emergency rooms.

Christopher D. Smith, MCIC Vermont president and chief executive officer, has more than25 years of experience in the medical liability insurance industry beginning at Arthur Andersen, LLP, where he served as a consultant to several large insurance companies. Later at EMCOL, Ltd., he provided consulting services and helped manage several large alternative risk insurance programs. He assumed his current position at MCIC in 1995, and subsequently led the company’s expansion and business practice improvements to become one of the nation’s largest and most successful medical liability insurance companies. MCIC includes Johns Hopkins Health, Yale Health, Cornell Health, Columbia Health,and Rochester Institute of Technology Health. Mr. Smith chairs the MPL Association Hospital-owned Liability Section.

Gerald Zarlengo, MD, became the chairman/CEO of COPIC Companies in January 2019. Prior to this, he served as a member of COPIC’s Board of Directors since 2009 and was the founder/partner of Midtown Obstetrics & Gynecology in Denver. Dr. Zarlengo received his medical degree from the University of Colorado Health Science Center and completed his residency at Saint Joseph Hospital. Dr. Zarlengo also served as medical director of Perinatal Services at Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System and Medical Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Saint Joseph Hospital. In addition, he is a fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and serves on the board of directors for Colorado Physician Health Program and the Zarlengo Foundation. Dr. Zarlengo was a member of the MPL Association Fellows Leadership Class of 2017-2019 and currently serves on the Continuing Education Advisory Committee.

The MPL Association Board of Directors also appointed John H. Mize, CEO of SVMIC, to serve as vice chair and Christine Tomkins, MD, CEO of the Medical Defence Union, to serve as secretary.

“We are gratified to have these leaders offer their extensive expertise and knowledge to the MPL Association,” said MPL Association President and CEO Brian K. Atchinson. “We look forward to working with them as we continue to advance the mission of the organization and its members.”


The MPL Association is the leading international association representing medical professional liability insurance companies, risk retention groups, captives, trusts, and other entities with a commitment to the quality delivery of healthcare. MPL Association members insure nearly 2 million healthcare professionals around the world—doctors, dentists, nurses and nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers—including more than two-thirds of America’s private practicing physicians. MPL Association members also insure 2,500 hospitals and 9,000 medical facilities globally.

Susan Beach

Vice President of Marketing & Communications

301.947.9000, ext. 1212