Clinical Awards Honor Excellence and Innovation at Johns Hopkins All Children’s

The Johns Hopkins All children’s Clinical Award nominees and recipients maintained their commitment despite new challenges posed by the pandemic.

Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D.

Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D.

Published in Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Spring 2021

Johns Hopkins health experts have shared their knowledge and expertise throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, physicians, nurses and care teams have done outstanding work providing safe and compassionate care under extraordinary circumstances.

Amid these intense efforts, the annual Johns Hopkins Medicine Clinical Awards were postponed by several months and the award categories reduced from six to three, with a strong focus on recognizing individuals and teams who navigated the COVID-19 crisis with professionalism, enhanced focus and an unwavering commitment to patients.
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital honored its 2020 Clinical Award nominees and winners in each category during an April 6 virtual celebration.

“Despite the challenges presented to us by the pandemic, our nominees and winners continued to push the boundaries of excellence in clinical care,” says pediatric neurosurgeon George Jallo, M.D., vice dean and physician in chief at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. “It is a privilege to celebrate you and the work you have done, especially during such a trying year.”

Chief Medical Officer Joseph Perno, M.D., and Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer Angela Green, Ph.D., R.N., recognized the nominees before announcing the winner in each category:

Excellence in Service and Professionalism: Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D.

Katzenstein directs the pediatric psychology, neuropsychology and social work programs and is co-director of the Center for Behavioral Health. When the pandemic limited outpatient visits, she and her team pivoted to telehealth and increased encounters by nearly 35% over the previous year to meet the increased needs due to the pandemic. They shared protocols on these care transitions with other children’s hospitals and published on the topic. Katzenstein and team also kept the psychology and neuropsychology interns and fellows in place to serve patients.

During 2020, Katzenstein voluntarily accepted the additional role of director of social work and raised the bar for delivery of these services. Throughout the year, her leadership and flexibility helped the Center for Behavioral Health continue to meet patients’ needs during an exceptionally stressful time.

Innovations in Clinical Care: Jason Smithers, M.D., and the Esophageal and Airway Treatment (EAT) Program Team

Jason Smithers, M.D. (center) with Michael Wilsey, M.D., and Scott D. McKinley, D.O., of the Esophageal and Airway Treatment (EAT) Program TeamJason Smithers, M.D. (center) with Michael Wilsey, M.D., and Scott D. McKinley, D.O., of the Esophageal and Airway Treatment (EAT) Program Team

Smithers, a pediatric general surgeon, is widely recognized as a leader in complex esophageal and airway surgery. He is the founder and leader of the esophageal and airway treatment program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and has introduced new concepts, procedures and treatment paradigms in the care of these patients. His innovations have been published throughout surgical literature. Patients from across the country come to Johns Hopkins All Children’s for this unique care, and Smithers has been invited around the United States and the world to teach and demonstrate his techniques.

This award recognizes Smithers and the entire team, which includes physicians from pediatric surgery, pulmonology, gastroenterology and otolaryngology, along with nurses and other specialists, working together to provide this innovative care and meet each patient’s individual needs.

William Baumgartner Physician of the Year: Dipti Amin, M.D.

Dipti Amin, M.D.Dipti Amin, M.D.

Amin is the chief medical informatics officer and continues to practice pediatric hospital medicine. Throughout 2020, she helped lead the implementation of a new electronic medical record system for the hospital and ensured the project remained on track despite the many challenges posed by COVID-19. She also continued to serve as an attending physician during this time. She appreciates the support of her colleagues on the medical informatics team—Catherine Major, M.D., Mary Brothers, APRN, and Scott McKinley, D.O. — and Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Aruna Jagdeo, M.B.A., B.S.N.

Amin is respected throughout the hospital as a tireless advocate for improving clinical care. She provides valued leadership in numerous quality, safety and information forums. This year, she will celebrate 30 years of service at the hospital and continues to make important contributions. An appreciative colleague describes her as “an oracle of pediatric medical knowledge and a phenomenal physician who has been a pillar of our successes at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.”

Johns Hopkins All Children’s President Thomas Kmetz thanked the nominees and winners for serving as role models in quality of care, patient safety and innovation.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate outstanding caregivers in so many areas where you are using your expertise to make this a better organization and provide a better experience for our patients,” he reflects.

“I have had the privilege of getting to see excellence all the time—all over the place each day. Thank you for leading the way.”