ColumbiaDoctors Thanks Award Winners as Patient Safety Takes the Spotlight

April 11, 2018

Several faculty and staff members earned special recognition as part of ColumbiaDoctors’ new Patient Safety Recognition Award Program, as safety took the spotlight in a series of events during National Patient Safety Week in March.  Among the top honorees was Jennifer Loftus, director of clinical operations in the Department of Neurology, as the first ever recipient of ColumbiaDoctors inaugural Unsung Hero in Patient Safety Award!    


“We can never say thank you enough to everyone who creates a safer environment for our patients, and we welcome the opportunity to show appreciation for our dedicated clinicians and staff,” said Shunichi “Nick” Homma, MD, MHCDS, ColumbiaDoctors chief medical officer.  “Everyone at ColumbiaDoctors can agree that patient safety is a vital goal for all of us who provide care in the FPO practices.”

Award-winners included:

  • “Above and Beyond” Award.  This celebrates team members who go the extra mile to provide service that is above and beyond expectations. Winners include Maria Pellicone, RN, nurse coordinator in the Department of Radiology, for January 2018, Rosa Oquendo-Torres, LPN in ColumbiaDoctors’ Harkness 2 practice, for February 2018, and Tara Vero, an RN at ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group in Goshen, NY, for March 2018.
  • “Great Catch” Award. This recognizes team members who intervene to prevent harm or potential harm to patients. Winners include MRI technologist Noreen Violante for January 2018; Kimberly Garcia, a physician extender in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, for February 2018; and professor of dermatology Robert R. Walther, MD, FACP, for March 2018.
  • Team Building Award. This quarterly prize honors individuals who are selected by their peers for consistently demonstrating teamwork in action and encouraging others to do the same. Recipients include Nanyamka Thomas, regional site manager for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Latrice Singleton, clinical team coordinator for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.
  • Leadership/Stewardship Award. This annual award honors any ColumbiaDoctors leader who fosters a just culture and supports a culture of safety. This year’s recipient is Marc Brown, MD, associate professor of radiology.
  • Unsung Hero Award. This annual award recognizes the person who has adopted a culture of safety and promotes a just culture consistently in ways that improve the work of their peers. This year’s recipient was Jennifer Loftus, director of clinical operations for the Department of Neurology.
  • Increased Reporting Award. This yearly award recognizes the department demonstrating the most-improved yearly reporting. Colleen Cullen, PsyD, clinical director & chief quality officer of the Department of Psychiatry, accepted this year’s Increased Reporting Award on behalf of her department.

During the week of March 11, patient safety took center stage at ColumbiaDoctors in recognition of National Patient Safety Week. To bring safety awareness to the attention of both healthcare professionals and the public, the faculty practice hosted several events, including:

  • Conducted an opioid overdose prevention training in partnership with Columbia University School of Nursing
  • Participated in the Children’s Hospital of New York Safety Fair
  • Distributed giveaways including badge pulls, hand sanitizers, and stickers to ColumbiaDoctors employees to celebrate their efforts toward keeping patients safe

ColumbiaDoctors’ Twitter and Facebook followers also saw our social media campaign designed to educate the public about actions they can take to engage in their healthcare and promote their own safety. Facebook posts and tweets spotlighted safety topics such as the importance of reading every document before any medical procedure, keys to hand hygiene, and important questions to ask your doctor after receiving test results.
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