Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork

The Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork award is presented to the physician, nurse and/or team who engages colleagues in shared decision-making, fostering cooperation and open communication.

HCGH Observation Unit Team

Vanessa Ruales, M.D.

Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center

Vanessa Ruales, Hospitalist
Observation Unit Team

The length of stay (LOS) for observation of patients is an important metric in measuring the efficiency and quality of care for patients in observation status. The longer the LOS, the less efficient decision-making and diagnostic assessments are — a long length of stay often occurs when observation units do not follow protocols that prioritize efficient and accurate diagnoses. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanessa Ruales and Pauline Esoga, nurse manager for the observation unit at Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center, worked with the entire observation unit team to bring the observation LOS down to under 36 hours, which is a national target and goal. The pandemic disrupted their standard work, but they returned to it in the observation unit in September 2021. Within two months, they had their length of stay back down to the target level — and they did it with the pandemic still ongoing. This speaks to great teamwork and sterling change management.

Tracheostomy Team

Joana Machry, M.D., Neonatologist, and the Tracheostomy Team

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Joana Machry, M.D., Neonatologist
Tracheostomy Team, Maternal, Fetal and Neonatal Institute

Joana Machry and the tracheostomy team have made significant contributions to improving respiratory care of neonates through development of practice guidelines, education and engagement. Dedicated to caring for a highly complex and vulnerable population of infants, they embrace a culture of consistent participation and collaboration. Their commitment to improving patient safety, the rate of complications and transition of care at discharge is an example of what can happen when a multidisciplinary team works together with a shared vision to improve patient care. Talented and determined, Dr. Machry and the team have turned a “someday” mission into a remarkable today reality.

Tobacco Treatment Team

Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S., and the Tobacco Treatment Team

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Panagis Galiatsatos, Director of the Tobacco Treatment Clinic

Founded in 2018, the tobacco treatment clinic offers a personalized and personal approach to smoking cessation. In addition to medications that help address nicotine cravings, patients receive counseling, check-in calls from nurses and the opportunity to attend support groups. The tobacco treatment team also facilitates low-dose computerized tomography scans for those who should receive lung cancer screenings based on current guidelines. What’s more, Dr. Galiatsatos and the team have taken the clinic into the community. Communities in public housing have benefited from the smoking cessation clinic, although this work is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team also teaches cessation methods to health care professionals and community health care workers, with a goal of deploying smoking clinics throughout Maryland.

Hagerstown High Risk Care Coordination Team

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Carol Dodson, C.R.N.P., and the Hagerstown High Risk Care Coordination Team

Carol Dodson, Nurse Practitioner, Family Medicine

Carol Dodson and the Hagerstown high risk care coordination team, embody the essence of patient- and family-centered, team-based care. The team, which integrates a small high acuity/risk panel (SHARP) nurse practitioner, a practice nurse and nurse care managers, guides patients who are high risk through today’s complex health care environment with compassion, humility and dedication. What makes this unique team so effective is its integration of provider-led care via the SHARP program, with traditional care coordination resources. The SHARP nurse practitioner co-manages a small panel of patients who are high risk, providing extended visits, immediate access and close follow-up in conjunction with the patients’ usual primary care providers. The work of Dodson and the team has improved health metrics — most notably, the A1C control measure improved from 22.3% in 2020 to 14.5 % in 2021 (lower is better). These team members’ close collaboration allows each to function at their highest level, greatly benefiting patients at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in Hagerstown who are high risk.

OHS/COVID Vaccination Team

Clarence Lam, M.D., and the OHS/COVID Vaccination Team

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Clarence Lam, Associate Faculty, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine

Clarence Lam took on his interim executive director role just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. He quickly became an integral part of the Department of Health, Safety and Environment, helping to form the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center (JHCCC) within a few days. Beginning as a small operation but quickly growing to serve the entire health system and university, JHCCC screens employees and students for COVID-19 symptoms, refers them for testing when needed and helps to keep the workforce strong by protecting employees, students and patients.

Dr. Lam’s leadership was also instrumental in opening the COVID-19 vaccine clinics for employees across the health system. Under his leadership, as of March 8, Johns Hopkins Medicine and its affiliate hospitals have successfully given more than 102,000 vaccines to staff members and students. Dr. Lam also unified and standardized operations at the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) offices across the health system and established clear communication with leaders and faculty and staff members. Additionally, he has improved OHS by pursuing ways to speed up onboarding, working on lean assessments, improving turnaround times for new hire processing and finding more ways to leverage technology.

Hospitalist Team

Atena Kamali, M.D., and the Sibley Hospitalist Team

Sibley Memorial Hospital

Atena Kamali, Medical Director, Sibley Hospitalist Team

The Sibley Memorial Hospital’s hospitalist team is a cohesive, collaborative group that serves as the backbone for the care of so many patients. The group stepped up to the demands of the pandemic at its height and resurgence, and provided compassionate, quality care with dedication to clinical excellence. This strong team of clinicians has withstood the stresses of a pandemic while growing and flourishing as a group.

Pharmacy Team

Jennifer Raynor, R.Ph., and the Pharmacy Team

Suburban Hospital

Jennifer Raynor, Director of Pharmacy Services

Over the course of the pandemic, Jennifer Raynor and the pharmacy team have been nimble in their approach to patient care, particularly during the pandemic. Pharmacy leadership created new-and-improved workflows, and also implemented its own daily incident command, which ran seven days a week for a total of four months during the initial COVID-19 and omicron surges. As the patient numbers surged — at the start of the pandemic and during omicron — so did demands for pharmacist clinical knowledge and medication support. Raynor and her team worked with the health system to ensure Suburban Hospital had adequate amounts of remdesivir, respiratory and pain medications, and other essential medicines. They increased par levels of medications and increased staff so that they could manage the workload changes in real time.

Later, knowing they would be involved in vaccinating the community and employees for many months, providing COVID-19 vaccine boosters, and setting up a monoclonal antibody infusion site, the team adopted a strategic mindset. Key staff members worked around the clock to support the detailed workflows and track vaccine expirations for local and health system initiatives. While half of the clinical pharmacists covered the seven-day operation of the vaccine clinic, the remaining clinical pharmacists worked together to maintain coverage for all patient care units.