Distinctions

A smile-worthy honor

Pediatric patients from 30 countries wrote more than 200 letters successfully nominating David Weinstein, M.D., M.MSc., a UF College of Medicine pediatrics professor, for the United Nations-recognized Order of the Smile humanitarian award. One of just 10 awardees worldwide this fall, Weinstein was honored for his efforts to help children with glycogen storage disease, or GSD, a rare condition that prevents the body from properly processing sugar; and for his work to help disadvantaged patients who do not have reliable access to health care. “I am very honored to receive this recognition,” said Weinstein, director of the UF Glycogen Storage Disease Program, which is the largest of its kind in the world. “Knowing the support of my patients was the driving force of my nomination makes this particularly special for me.” The Order of the Smile honor puts Weinstein in the company of distinguished awardees such as Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

 

A way to say ‘gracias’

The Jacksonville Jaguars honored a College of Medicine-Jacksonville pediatrician in September for her efforts to eliminate health disparities in the Hispanic community. Patricia A. Solo-Josephson, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics, was presented with the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award at the Jaguars’ Sept. 30 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. One person in each of the 32 NFL cities was chosen for the award. Solo-Josephson and Laura N. Beverly, M.D., a UF assistant professor of pediatrics, received a grant in 2009 from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help study some of the issues facing Hispanic immigrants, especially concerning medical care. The physicians both practice at the Duval County Health Department’s Beaches Family Health Center, where nearly 40 percent of their patients are Hispanic.

 

Recognizing quality

A+ performance

Shands at UF and Shands Jacksonville have scored the highest grade for patient safety in a national rating system. In November, both hospitals received an “A” Hospital Safety Score from the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on reducing preventable medical errors. A nine-person panel of patient safety experts oversees the Hospital Safety Scores, which are calculated twice each year. An A to D or F grade is assigned based on 26 measures of publicly reported safety data. About 30 percent of scored hospitals nationwide received an A. Shands at UF and Shands Jacksonville both went up two letter grades since June.

Avoiding infections

The 4 East surgical intensive care unit at the Shands Cancer Hospital has been recognized for its low central line infection rates. The honor comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Critical Care Societies Collaborative, a multidisciplinary organization composed of four major U.S. societies with an interest in critical care. Shands is the only facility in Florida to receive the award, and one of 12 nationwide. “Our SICU team is proud to accept this national award,” said Lynn Westhoff, M.S.N., M.H.A., R.N., clinical leader in the unit. “It signifies our staff commitment to outstanding patient care and outcomes.” The Shands 4 East SICU is able to keep infection rates low by educating all staff members and following up with individuals to ensure compliance, Westhoff said. The staff has overseen almost 14,000 central line cases since the unit opened in 2009. Of those, none has resulted in infection. In comparison with the national average, 4 East SICU averted 19 central line infections, saved two lives, avoided 38 inpatient days and saved an estimated $760,000.

Reporting errors

In November, the Sebastian Ferrero Office of Clinical Quality and Patient Safety won second place in a national competition aimed at reducing medical errors. Held by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the competition required multidisciplinary teams to create an application that simplifies the reporting of “adverse events” in health care. Adverse events are medical errors that harm — or potentially can harm — a patient. Most hospitals, including Shands, track adverse events. The resulting data, which includes relevant information about the patients and events, is collected and analyzed to make system improvements.

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