Celebrating Clinical Excellence

Clinical Awards winners
Published in Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Spring 2023

The Johns Hopkins Medicine Clinical Awards are an opportunity to celebrate physicians and care teams who lead the way in providing outstanding patient care through their commitment to innovation, collaboration and patient safety.

Nominees for the 2022 awards at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital were honored at an April 4 gathering.

“The 64 nominations received this year all reflect the excellent care provided to patients at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital,” says Joseph Perno, M.D., chief medical officer and vice president, medical affairs.

“A committee of physicians from multiple specialties, nurses and hospital leaders selected a winner in each category from among these outstanding nominations. It is an honor to celebrate the award recipients.”

Luis Rodriguez, M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Tri-chair, Institute for Brain Protection Sciences Safety and Quality Council

Armstrong Award for Excellence in Quality and Safety: Luis Rodriguez, M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Tri-chair, Institute for Brain Protection Sciences Safety and Quality Council

Looking to expand the pediatric neurosurgery team’s ability to recognize and address trends regarding quality metrics related to surgical outcomes and pre-surgical and post-surgical care, Rodriguez developed a new approach for analyzing data and, if a safety event occurs, identifying and addressing probable cause. To launch this process, he created an expanded set of metrics to be monitored, designed a dashboard and spent many hours entering data. His detailed work led to development of a robust electronic version of the dashboard that includes demographic information such as preferred language, ethnicity and ZIP codes. The dashboard provides ready access to data that can be used to analyze trends and adjust a protocol or technique. The goal is to identify patients at higher risk for complications, to be able to intervene before surgery and lower the rate of complications and readmissions, leading to improvement in outcomes and patient satisfaction. These efforts have helped the team prevent surgical site infection, reduce unplanned returns to the operating room and continue to enhance patient care.

Alfred Asante-Korang, M.D., Director, Transplant Cardiology and Heart Failure, Heart Institute

Best Consulting Physician: Alfred Asante-Korang, M.D., Director, Transplant Cardiology and Heart Failure, Heart Institute

As the leader of the pediatric heart transplant and heart failure program, Asante-Korang has shared his expertise with the Heart Institute team and with colleagues in many pediatric subspecialties for more than 20 years. He rounds in the cardiovascular, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and he is a consulting physician on other units including the emergency department, bone marrow transplant/oncology, the infusion center and dialysis units. He also sees patients in clinic, performs heart catheterization and biopsies, and participates in clinical research. Clinical staff members and leaders praise Asante-Korang for the exceptional care he provides. “Dr. Asante-Korang is compassionate, has attentive listening skills, and communicates effectively and with genuine concern for his patients and has a passion to heal,” a colleague says. “He always gives 100% effort to the hospital and the heart transplant and heart failure program.”

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

Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork: Jenny Dolan, M.D., and the Pediatric Anesthesia and Critical Care Teams

Surgery on siblings with complex congenital defects requires meticulous planning and practice. Dolan, a pediatric anesthesiologist, 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, M.D., 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.

Team members: Jenny Dolan, M.D., Hannah Bello, R.N., Deb Bill, R.N., Sherry Coakley, C.R.N.A., Michelle Cooper, M.S.N., R.N., Nathan Dean, M.D., Allison Fernandez, M.D., Lauren Freedman, C.R.N.A., Kenneth “Mike” Jones, Cer. A.T., Katherine (Katie) Khokhar, C.R.N.A, Tuli Mukherjee, C.R.N.A., Eric Newcomer, R.R.T.-N.P.S., Amy Otte, R.N., Amish Patel, M.D., Gerson Rodriguez-Fazzi, M.D., Jibin Samuel, M.D., Liz Satterfield, Cer. A.T., Cassaundra Sellers, R.N., Marilyn Soto, R.R.T, Tisha Spence, M.D., Byron Waller, Cer. A.T., Scott Watkins, M.D., Michelle Wolff, R.N., Anna Varughese, M.D., Kristen Yoquelet, C.R.N.A., Remy Zais, R.N.

Allison Fernandez, M.D., Assistant Professor Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Excellence in Service and Professionalism: Allison Fernandez, M.D., Assistant Professor Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Fernandez, along with Richard Elliott, M.D., co-founded the hospital’s pediatric pain service and has participated in many other such endeavors with clinical colleagues. The pain and Child Life teams recently worked together to develop a virtual reality program that helps children in pain through distraction. Fernandez is also active in quality improvement and safety initiatives, faculty development and physician well-being programs, and she is co-chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity Committee. At the national level, Fernandez works with senior female anesthesia leaders to share lessons learned through experience and to mentor female anesthesiologists. She also started the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Women of Impact in Anesthesiology lecture series, and with the support of Esteban Lugo, M.D., and other team members, she helped translate the organization’s critical events checklist into Spanish. The checklist also serves as the Pedi Crisis app, a tool for teaching medical students, residents and fellows. This work has allowed Spanish-speaking anesthesiologists globally to use the critical events checklist during events and to assist in training anesthesia residents and fellows to respond to an emergency.

Fauzia Shakeel, M.D., and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit CUSP Team

Innovations in Care: Fauzia Shakeel, M.D., and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit CUSP Team

Shakeel, a neonatologist, is the physician champion for the comprehensive unit-based safety program (CUSP) team in the hospital’s Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The team takes an out-of-the-box approach to safety initiatives and the challenge of communicating with over 200 NICU staff members. Shakeel and the team expanded a hospital-wide CUSP initiative on preventing “stealth orders” — an accidental and temporary lapse in communication among a physician, nurse and respiratory therapist. The CUSP team provided education, developed a clinical decision tree and verification statement, and shared these strategies frequently to help ensure timely delivery of the correct care to patients. Other innovations include devising a label for intravenous tubing to improve the accuracy of infusion orders, and developing a concise handout — 5 Things to Know — to enhance communication and shared knowledge on the unit. Shakeel and her CUSP colleagues continue to demonstrate their commitment to patient safety by involving NICU staff members in these efforts.

Team members: Fauzia Shakeel, M.D., Holly Ball, R.N., Katie Bryant, R.N., Melissa Chiaputti, M.S.N., R.N., Paul Danielson, M.D., Erin Fellows, R.N., Alicia Klingensmith, R.N., Julia Krzyzewski, R.T., Kristel Lassiter, A.R.N.P., Amy Salvant, R.N.

Heinz Chavez, M.D.

William A. Baumgartner Physician of the Year: Heinz Chavez, M.D.

Chavez joined the general pediatric and adolescent medicine program in 2006, and families and colleagues appreciate his commitment to personalized care, particularly for children with special needs. He often stays late into the evening calling families or reviewing a study, and he devotes many hours to helping parents navigate the health care system and find solutions. In 2022, he developed a complex telemedicine program to provide follow-up visits for patients with medically complex cases, and he encourages teachers, home health nurses and other members of the child’s care team to take part in the appointments. Families that are juggling multiple medical appointments truly appreciate this convenience. Chavez also enjoys teaching and is a preceptor for nurse practitioner students from Johns Hopkins and local universities. He also works with residents in the general pediatrics clinic and at an affiliated nursery, and he has been an invited speaker at pediatric conferences outside the United States in collaboration with the hospital’s international medicine office.

“It is an honor to work with all of our Clinical Excellence Award nominees and recipients as they push the boundaries of excellence in clinical care,” says George Jallo, M.D., vice dean, physician-in-chief and medical director of the Institute for Brain Protection Sciences. “We are grateful for their ongoing commitment to provide outstanding care every day.”