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Armstrong Award for Excellence in Quality and Safety

The Armstrong Award for Excellence in Quality and Safety award is presented to the physician who partners with patients, families, colleagues and staff members to optimize patient outcomes and eliminate preventable harm.

Nia Jewell Leak, M.D., and the obstetrics and gynecology team

Howard County General Hospital: Nia Jewell Leak, M.D., and the obstetrics and gynecology team

As a team, the obstetrical department decided to address the rising percentage of cesarean sections performed on first-time pregnant women. Within a year, the department was able to reduce its overall C-section rate from 37.7% to 32%, and the first-time pregnant patient rate from 31% to just above 26%. The collaborative effort included nursing support and physician education and patient education, and was informed by data. The success of the project benefits the patient clinically, reduces hospital costs and length of stay, addresses the pain medication epidemic, decreases complications and potential for Maryland Hospital Acquired Conditions, and fosters earlier bonding with newborns.

Nia Leak and Team

Colin Moore, M.D.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital: Colin Moore, M.D., pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute

As a representative from the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute (CBDI) to the Health Informatics Core at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Colin Moore has championed numerous initiatives to leverage the electronic medical record as a modality to improve safety and quality. By partnering with pharmacy colleagues, Dr. Moore transformed the approach to chemotherapy order writing. He took the initiative to develop more than 500 order sets according to standards of care established by umbrella consortia, resulting in a dramatic reduction in chemotherapy order writing-related errors. He serves as a ballast of safety and quality for the CBDI, advancing these core principles at all levels of discourse, from patient-level discussions to team meetings to institute-wide meetings and beyond.

Colin Moore, MD

Jonathan Zenilman, M.D.

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center: Jonathan Zenilman, M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases

Having created the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center chapter of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Jonathan Zenilman strengthened it by developing a program that offers grants for research projects in patient safety. These projects have helped create a community of faculty members devoted to patient safety research and resulted in implementation of programs that are increasing patient safety at Johns Hopkins Bayview. The geriatric surgery program is a prime example of how Dr. Zenilman-sponsored research grants have improved the safety of older patients undergoing abdominal surgery.

Jonathan Zenilman, MD

Colleen Leavitt, M.D.

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians: Colleen Leavitt, M.D., office medical director, East Baltimore Medical Center

Colleen Leavitt thinks critically about the vulnerable patient population in East Baltimore. She carries out quality improvement initiatives with metrics in mind for a very complex practice panel. For example, she worked on streamlining staff-provider communication to increase Pap smear screening completion. Dr. Leavitt also serves on a utilization review committee, which works to ensure both quality and value for patients.

Colleen Leavitt, MD

Steven Frank, M.D.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Steven Frank, M.D., medical director, Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Program

Steve Frank has spent the past several years implementing highly effective interventions to protect patients from unnecessary blood transfusion, one of the top five overused procedures in U.S. hospitals. Beyond improving the care delivered to thousands of Johns Hopkins patients, Dr. Frank has generously given of his time to educate other hospitals about the importance of avoiding unnecessary transfusion as part of the High Value Practice Academic Alliance.

Steven Frank, MD

Michael Brennan, M.D.

Sibley Memorial Hospital: Michael Brennan, M.D., anesthesiologist

As leader of the Code Blue Committee, Michael Brennan works diligently and relentlessly to streamline and standardize care for the most critically ill patients. In this interdisciplinary committee, Dr. Brennan has spearheaded multiple projects, bringing together individuals across several departments in an effort to deliver the best and safest care during a rapid response or code blue. He has seen the committee — and Sibley as a whole — through several institutional changes that have affected how code blues are run, with a constant focus on quality improvement.

Michael Brennan, MD

Mauro Sarmiento, M.D.

Suburban Hospital: Mauro Sarmiento, M.D., Critical Care Unit

Mauro Sarmiento has developed and managed multiple programs within the institution that have significantly contributed to the quality and safety of care provided at Suburban Hospital. Dr. Sarmiento has been the lead physician on the sepsis/TREWS (Targeted, Real-Time Early Warning System) initiative, and through his leadership, Suburban has continued to improve the care provided to patients with sepsis. Dr. Sarmiento has also taken the lead clinical role in developing the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program at Suburban Hospital. This is a new therapy that will be provided to patients locally to avoid the risks of a dangerous transport.

Mauro Sarmiento, MD

View the other 2019 Clinical Awards recipients