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.

Meng-Keong Choo, M.D., and the Pediatric Emergency Department

Meng-Keong Choo, M.D., and the Pediatric Emergency Department

Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center

Interim Chair, Pediatrics

During a recent surge, the pediatric emergency department staff cared for patients with severe respiratory and medical illness. Meng-Keong Choo and pediatric nursing leadership led the team through this challenging time with steady hands and innovative thinking. Countless boundaries were tested and many out-of-the-box ideas were shared and implemented by the pediatric team to solve problems.

A fast-track triage area was set up in a nonclinical space to help decompress the waiting room. Team members stepped up to the task of caring for patients at the intensive care unit (ICU) level who stayed in the emergency department for days due to lack of pediatric ICU beds. Through all this, the nursing and physician teams shared insights and what they learned to best care for their patients. The pediatric emergency department also revamped its staffing models, and individuals from other departments volunteered to assist with patient care. During the surge, care was provided to nearly 3,000 patients and their families — double the norm for the winter months.

Jenny Dolan, M.D., and the Anesthesia and Critical Care Team for the Conjoined Twins

Jenny Dolan, M.D., and the Pediatric Anesthesia and Critical Care Teams

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Surgery on siblings with complex congenital defects requires meticulous planning and practice. Pediatric anesthesiologist Jenny Dolan developed a detailed plan for two anesthesia teams working synchronously and in close cooperation to help ensure the highest level of safe anesthesia care. She worked with Anna Varughese to choreograph the movement and roles of anesthesia team members in adjacent operating rooms, including lead anesthesiologists in each suite who work closely with fellow anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and anesthesia technicians. An application coordinator led the information technology teams in both suites so that all data from physiological monitors for both patients were collected and transferred to the electronic medical record. The teams worked well together to prepare for and carry out these detailed plans.

Kevan Salimian, M.D., Ph.D.

Kevan Salimian, M.D., Ph.D. and the High-Sensitivity Troponin Transition Team

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Director, Pathology and Clinical Labs

Kevan Salimian effectively led the transition to high sensitivity troponin testing at Johns Hopkins Bayview, which went into effect in July 2022. To ensure a seamless transition, he partnered with a multidisciplinary team from cardiology, emergency medicine, hospitalist medicine, nursing, information technology and clinical informatics. He engaged his colleagues to develop accelerated diagnostic protocols that aid in rapid “rule out” of myocardial infarction for patients in the emergency department and inpatient setting. Dr. Salimian also developed and organized the distribution of educational materials, and he led information technology workflow design and implementation.

The work completed by Dr. Salimian and this team affects 30 to 50 patients each day. Before the transition to high sensitivity troponin testing, patients needed troponins drawn at zero, three and six hours to rule out myocardial infarction (MI). With the new, enhanced workflow, MI can be ruled out for some patients within an hour, resulting in a huge improvement of length of stay and resource use in the emergency department.

Michael Crocetti, M.D., and the COVID-19 Testing/HEPA Room Implementation Team

Michael Crocetti, M.D., and the COVID-19 Testing/HEPA Room Implementation Team

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Chief of Pediatrics

In 2022, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP) leadership identified a pressing need to capitalize on more efficient COVID-19 testing capabilities for patients at all JHCP primary care offices. Following Michael Crocetti’s clinical guidance and advocacy, the JHCP COVID-19 testing/high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) room implementation team (Mindy Berger, Lou Brungard, Amy Fisher, Nichole Jantzi, Mickayla Karikari and Nicole Weyant) used its skill sets to launch the re-imagined JHCP office-based COVID-19 testing process in time for the fall 2022 viral season. This new process and accompanying infrastructure allowed more patients to be safely seen in primary care offices for respiratory illness. Since this project’s launch in June, the team successfully installed HEPA rooms, prepared infrastructure and trained staff. Additional key collaborators in this tremendous effort are members of the JHCP clinical education, clinical operations and lab teams, in addition to the Johns Hopkins Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, which provided support and guidance. Only a few months into the implementation, countless patients with respiratory symptoms who previously would not have been able to meet in-person with their primary care physicians and providers have been evaluated in JHCP offices.

Christopher Gocke, M.D., and the Stand-Alone COVID Testing Lab

Christopher Gocke, M.D., and the Stand-Alone COVID Testing Lab

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Director, Division of Molecular Pathology

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2020, Christopher Gocke led a team of more than 60 staff members, including about 15 who were redeployed into lab roles from other areas, to set up a new testing laboratory to process saliva tests for SARS-CoV-2 on the fifth floor of the Preclinical Teaching Building. Their work had tremendous impact during the next two years. The more than 770,000 samples they resulted came from asymptomatic Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System faculty and staff members and students, and were critical to helping to keep Johns Hopkins campuses safe — from East Baltimore to Homewood to St. Petersburg, Florida.

The lab team’s work was largely hidden from public view. A Johns Hopkins staff member or student would walk up to a kiosk, print a label and place the saliva sample in a drop box. Within a short period of time, the result would arrive in the person’s MyChart and explain the next steps — including whether the person could attend classes, work or visit family, or if isolating was necessary. Dr. Gocke and his team handled and processed each specimen with extraordinary care and delivered high quality, accurate and timely results. The team’s work through the saliva lab, which closed in December 2022, helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 and possibly saved countless lives.

Nadia Eltaki, M.D., and the Emergency Department Provider Team

Nadia Eltaki, M.D., and the Emergency Department Provider Team

Sibley Memorial Hospital

Medical Director, Emergency Department

During the last three years, the Sibley Memorial emergency department (ED) clinical team has banded together to face adversity while serving on the front-line of the pandemic and weathering the difficulties of the current health care climate. As the front door of the hospital, the ED team collaborates with the nursing team and every hospital department — and it does so with grace, confidence and calibrated clinical acumen, all while embracing the Johns Hopkins Medicine core values. Tireless advocates for their patients, the members of the ED team work around the clock to safely determine the disposition of patients safely by collaborating with other services to help ensure they receive the highest quality and safest care. The team has faced myriad challenges — illness, burnout, employer transitions and staffing shortages — and has done so as a family. ED team members clearly demonstrate that they have the best interests of patients, the hospital and the community in mind with everything they do, and they bring their hearts and passion to work every day.

Steven Wilks, M.D., Medical Director, Alicia Gopman and the Palliative Care Team

Steven Wilks, M.D., Alicia Gopman, C.R.N.P., and the Palliative Care Team

Suburban Hospital

Suburban Hospital’s palliative care team — currently comprised of a physician, nurse practitioner and social worker — works with patients who have chronic illness and their loved ones to help provide relief and improve overall quality of life. This includes a variety of activities ranging from sharing information with patients about their illness and treatment options to honoring religious and spiritual preferences.

The team, led by Steven Wilks and Alicia Gopman, works closely with physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other staff members to help meet the complex needs of some of Suburban’s sickest patients. Despite these challenges, the team is always willing to take the time to meet with patients and families to compassionately walk them through some of the most difficult decisions they will ever have to make.