ECU Health team members Melanie Porter and DeAnna Edwards pose for a photo.

ECU Health is proud to announce that the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) awarded Melanie Porter, administrator of hospital operations, and DeAnna Edwards, manager of hospital operations, the Healthier Communities award for their work in the Statewide Patient Movement Coordination Team. This award recognizes collaborative work by NCHA member organizations to promote health and well-being by addressing an identified community need.

COVID-19 has put a strain on health care systems across the globe and here in North Carolina. Throughout the pandemic, hospitals and health systems have worked tirelessly to advance new approaches to promoting more equitable health outcomes for patients, families and communities. Among these innovations, the Statewide Patient Movement Coordination Team emerged.

ECU Health team members Melanie Porter and DeAnna Edwards pose for a photo.

The Statewide Patient Movement Coordination Team is a group of individuals at transfer centers across North Carolina who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure critical patients needing higher levels of care were transferred or those facilities given additional clinical support.

As part of this team, Melanie and DeAnna are both dedicated to living the ECU Health mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. Through their work, they ensure patients have quality care and are connected to the level of care and resources needed.

The Statewide Patient Movement Coordination Team assisted 35 facilities not formally connected with the 13 transfer centers across the state who had critical patients needing higher levels of care.

In total, this team reviewed 765 patient movement requests during the Delta and Omicron surges of COVID-19.

Please join us in recognizing Melanie and DeAnna for representing ECU Health and making a difference in the lives of those we serve.

Awards | Community | Health News

A community member has their blood pressure checked during a Community Pop-up event.

As a rural health care organization, we know there are many challenges to fostering a healthy community. That doesn’t stop ECU Health team members from finding creative solutions to bring health care outside the walls of our hospitals and clinics in eastern North Carolina and into the communities we serve.

KaSheta Jackson, DNP, RN, vice president of Health Equity and Social Impact at ECU Health, and her team developed Community Pop-Ups: A Rural Approach, an innovative health care delivery model implemented as community-based pop-up clinics across eastern North Carolina to address social and economic health care barriers.

This program makes health care both more accessible and approachable by directly providing preventative services, improving health care equity, and offering resources within communities with the greatest need.

Jackson was recognized earlier this year by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation) as the recipient of the 2022 ANA Innovation Award. The ANA Innovation Awards highlight, recognize and celebrate exemplary nurse-led innovations that improve patient safety and health outcomes. The innovation award also generated a $25,000 grant, which will fund future community health events.

Jackson said nurses are on the leading edge of connecting their fellow community members to health care and should feel empowered to innovate in that space.

“Our innovation has empowered many nurses to think and behave differently with regards to changing health care delivery and where care is delivered,” Jackson said. “By aligning the community and the health care system, we are addressing social, economic, equity, and population health, allowing us to meet our mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.”

Through partnerships with community leaders and other ECU Health team members, these clinics have evolved from solely offering health care screenings to providing COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, mental health resources, access to fresh produce and employment opportunities.

In 2021 alone, Community Pop-Ups provided care to more than 400 community members, identified acute diseases, provided numerous jobs, gave away 500 produce boxes, and delivered 500 health passports in rural locations across eastern North Carolina.

“We are following the model of doing health care on the outside to make health care better on the inside,” Jackson said during a July 2021 community health event in Farmville. “We’re working to address the social determinants of health, offering employment, trying to take care of the need for vaccines, taking health care into communities versus having people come to us – we’re taking services to those that need them.”

As these pop-up events evolve and grow, Jackson hopes they will help create a healthier eastern North Carolina, strengthen ties between community organizations and improve relationships between community members and health care providers.

“I am so excited to see our innovation become reality,” Jackson said. “The advice I would give to any nurse who wants to take their innovations from just an idea to action: be inquisitive, be nosey, ask questions, listen and it will be easy to make it happen.”

This is just one example of how Jackson and her team break down barriers to bring health care to the communities we serve. ECU Health also hosts a myriad of community events including: a foot clinic with Joy Soup Kitchen and Access East, which gives free foot care supplies to diabetic patients who visit the event, over-the-counter medication giveaways and Kids Eat Free with Sodexo, which provides free lunches and afternoon snacks for kids and teens up to age 18.

For more information, visit the Pop-Up Community Health Events page on our website.

Awards | Community | Featured | Health News

Safe Kids Pitt County and Ellen Walston were recognized as the Safe Kids North Carolina Coalition of the year by NC Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, and State Fire Marshall Brian Taylor.

The North Carolina Coalition of the Year award is based on the coalition’s positive outcomes of the child passenger safety program, medication safety programs and maintaining partnerships.

“It was a huge surprise,” Injury Prevention Program coordinator at ECU Health Medical Center Ellen Walston said. “Lisa Blackmon with Safe Kids NC said our social media really was the catalyst for winning the award. We post multiple times a week on our risk areas in injury prevention, and it’s just really important to use those quick soundbites to get the word out.”

Preventable injuries are the number one cause of death in kids in the United States, according to Safe Kids. That’s why Safe Kids Pitt County works to prevent injuries in children and adults through simple tips and safety checks. The Safe Kids Pitt County team strives every day to keep kids in eastern North Carolina safe and healthy and to meet ECU Health’s mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.

Safe Kids Pitt County and Ellen Walston were recognized as the Safe Kids North Carolina Coalition of the year by NC Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, and State Fire Marshall Brian Taylor.
Safe Kids Pitt County was recognized as the Safe Kids North Carolina Coalition of the year by NC Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, and State Fire Marshall Brian Taylor.

A “hallmark” program

Walston called the child passenger safety program the hallmark of the coalition’s work. The program began in the early 2000s and, along with pop-up opportunities for car seat inspections, Safe Kids Pitt County has a permanent checking station. The permanent station is located at the Winterville Fire Department and is available on the third Friday of each month, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

“To me that parent’s expression of appreciation is priceless,” Walston said. “When they walk in, they just have that look of ‘I don’t know how in the world to put this seat together. Will you please help me?’ Then when they leave, you ask them ‘Are you confident in being able to put this seat in yourself?’ You just see that anxiety just melt away. That to me is the most comfort, knowing that we’ve made a difference.”

More than half of car seats are not used or installed correctly, according to Safe Kids. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.

The child passenger safety program also covers free child safety seat checks when someone has received a violation, citation or ticket. The child and parent will receive one-on-one education to help ensure correct car seat installation, and the program also offers hot car safety information sessions, as well. For more information on this program or general car seat inspections, contact Walston at 252-847-8532.

Medication safety

Medication safety was another key driver for the award, and Operation Medicine Drop is an event that helps the public dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. The event serves to protect children, our community and the environment. Medicines are the leading cause of child poisoning, and proper disposal of medications can largely prevent them from happening. The valuable education sessions offered throughout the community on medication safety help to reduce unintentional poisoning from prescription medications, which is on the rise in North Carolina.

Walston said the opportunity to connect with families and children is vital to the program’s success.

“We have a lot of anecdotal affirmation from children on this kind of education session,” Walston said. “I will see children in the store and they’ll say, ‘Miss Ellen, you came to my school and talked about fire safety’ or ‘You were at the park in Winterville and taught us about medication safety.’ Just making those contacts is so important, we never know when we’re planting that seed. Those children can go home and tell their siblings and tell their families what they’ve learned.”

Key Partnerships

Working with a small internal team makes it crucial to have great partnerships, Walston said. Safe Kids Pitt County primarily partners with Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children, ECU’s TEDI BEAR Children’s Advocacy Center and the Pitt County Health Department. Other partners include Greenville Fire Rescue, Winterville Fire Rescue, Pitt County Sheriff’s Department and Greenville Police Department.

“We’re so blessed with partnerships. I cannot do this work alone,” Walston said. “I just enlist partners, I’ve learned to delegate, I ask for help when I need it. We’re a small team but mighty and we get a lot done.”

Walston also shared appreciation for ECU Health Medical Center, the lead agency for the Safe Kids Pitt County coalition.

“I really want to emphasize a big thanks to ECU Health Medical Center for being here for us since 1995,” Walston said. “They provide all the technical support for me to be in this role – my office, the hours that I designate. We’re really blessed. A lot of hospitals are lead agencies but [other coalitions] don’t get the same support that I’ve received from the hospital.”

Past Recognitions

This is the second time Safe Kids Pitt County has received North Carolina Coalition of the year, first taking home the award in 2010. Other past recognitions include Safe Kids NC Outstanding Outreach Initiative and NC Child Passenger Safety Outreach Program of the Year award in 2016, as well as Walston earning Coordinator of the Year in 2013.

Learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide here.

Awards | Community

Washington, N.C.ECU Health Beaufort Hospital – a campus of ECU Health Medical Center has been designated as a primary stroke center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart/Stroke Association, recognizing the hospital’s preparedness and expertise to care for stroke patients. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the state, resulting in more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. With this designation, all ECU Health hospitals are equipped to provide advanced stroke care in communities across eastern North Carolina.

“Stroke certification from The Joint Commission represents ECU Health Beaufort’s commitment to provide high-quality stroke care to not only patients experiencing stroke symptoms, but to all of our patients,” said Debra Hernandez, president of ECU Health Beaufort. “We are proud of being designated a primary stroke center. The commitment and diligent work of team members across all levels and services made this a reality.”

As a primary stroke center, ECU Health Beaufort can treat and stabilize patients experiencing an acute stroke and care for more complex patients. As part of stroke readiness by all hospitals in the ECU health system, this certification is symbolic of a comprehensive stroke network capable of meeting the needs of all patients across eastern North Carolina.

“Achieving stroke certification for all nine hospitals has been our goal since launching an intentional focus on improving stroke care in eastern North Carolina seven years ago,” said Barry Bunn, chief of medical staff and regional medical director of emergency services, ECU Health. “At the start of this process, ECU Health began a pathway of certifying all of the ECU Health hospitals with some level of stroke certification by the Joint Commission. Stroke certified hospitals were prevalent west of I-95, but there were few certified hospitals in the eastern part of the state. Now, we can proudly say that patients across the region will have access to high-quality stroke care, regardless of where they live.”

Because time is one of the most important factors in treating stroke, it is vitally important to provide stroke care close to home. ECU Health Beaufort’s stroke certification increases proximity to quality care in the Washington area, which reduces the risk of mortality, permanent brain damage and other side effects including memory loss, difficulty speaking and potential paralysis.

During the certification process, ECU Health Beaufort was evaluated on performance measures in stroke care, including education for patients and families on stroke risk factors and recognizing symptoms of stroke. Other performance measures included staff education on stroke protocols and the appropriate prescription of medications to address stroke risk factors such as elevated cholesterol and blood pressure.

The severity and likelihood of having a stroke in North Carolina is significantly higher than the rest of the country as a whole. Eastern North Carolina is at the center of many strokes, often called the buckle of the stroke belt. North Carolina is about 8 percent worse for stroke mortality than the national average, and in eastern North Carolina, that risk is even greater.

“With all hospitals in the ECU Health system now stroke certified, a patient will be offered life-saving care regardless of the patient’s proximity to any of ECU Health’s hospitals and depending upon what additional treatments are needed, can be transported to a location with more extensive services when the patient is stabilized,” said Jay Briley, president of ECU Health Community Hospitals. “This system-wide stroke certification helps fulfill ECU Health’s mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.”

Awards | Neurology | Press Releases

Team members from ECU Health pose for a photo after earning a Board Quality Leadership Award.

The 2022 ECU Health Board Quality Leadership Award winners were recognized at the ECU Health Board of Directors meeting on June 28. These winning teams are shining examples of excellent work in driving the quality goal of zero harm, creating exceptional experiences and improving patient outcomes.

Team members were required to submit projects that demonstrated at least two of the following criteria:

  • Quantifiable improvement in an organizational quality priority with sustained excellence over time
  • Demonstrable empathy and compassion in patient care
  • Implementation of innovative solution to patient care problem
  • Community outreach that addresses social determinants of health in a meaningful way

Nineteen nominations were reviewed by the committee. Congratulations to the winning teams:

Team members from ECU Health pose for a photo after earning a Board Quality Leadership Award.

Improving Blood Pressure in Control
Aimed to improve blood pressure control, less than 140/90, in ACO hypertensive patients to 75% within the fiscal year, as measured by Care Evolution.

  • David Lewis, MD
  • Penny Coltrain, BSBA, MBA
  • Wendy VanLandingham, BSN, RN, LSSBB
  • Nicole Lewis
  • Sharonda Nicholson-Bradley, RN
  • Gail Scheller
  • Faith Garrett
  • Robbie Webber
  • Sherry Bowers
Team members from ECU Health Duplin Hospital pose for a photo after earning a Board Quality Leadership Award.

Curbing Contamination: Reducing Blood Culture Specimen Rejection
Aimed to improve patient outcomes by achieving and sustaining a hospital-wide blood culture (BCX) specimen contamination rate of ≤ 3%.

  • Krista Horne, MSN, RN
  • Christine Miller, MBA, RN
  • Elizabeth Lanier, MLT
  • Sharlene Blizzard, BSCLS, MLS (ASCP)CM
  • Ashley Sholar, MBA, BSN, RN
Team members from ECU Health Medical Center pose for a photo after earning a Board Quality Leadership Award.

For the Love of the Line – Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI) Reduction Project
Aimed to decrease CLASBI by 5% by at ECU Health Medical Center by April 2021.

  • Erin Pearson, BSN, RN, QNS
  • Jamie Hall, BSN, RN, CIC, IP
  • Takisha Williams, MSN, RN, NPD-BC
  • ECUHMC Nurse Leadership, Physician Leadership
  • ECUHMC Supply Chain
  • ECUHMC Professional Development Specialist Team
  • ECU Health Infection Control
  • ECU Health Performance Improvement/ Quality Analytics

Thank you to all the nominees for their hard work and dedication. This is one example of our teams reinforcing our mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina and pursue excellence in our values and Quality imperative.

Awards

Philip Rogers and Dr. Michael Waldrum pose for a photo after a press conference unveiling ECU Health's new logo.

Dr. Mike Waldrum, ECU Health CEO and dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University was recently named to Business North Carolina’s 2022 Power List. ECU Chancellor Dr. Philip Rogers was also named to Business North Carolina’s 2022 Power List in the Education section.

This yearly list names the most influential leaders in the state of North Carolina across various industries. The awarded leaders are nominated for this list based on their influence as strong leaders.

“This recognition represents the tireless work ECU Health team members do every day to serve the region and educate the future physicians for North Carolina,” said Dr. Waldrum. “At ECU Health, we strive to become a national model for rural health delivery by providing high-quality care to the region we proudly call home. Our regional health care organization, combined with the Brody School of Medicine, strengthens our shared mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. ECU Health will continue to innovate and provide high-quality care to those we serve.”

Philip Rogers and Dr. Michael Waldrum pose for a photo after a press conference unveiling ECU Health's new logo.

We are proud to have strong leadership moving ECU Health forward to meet the joint mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina by training the providers of tomorrow, collaborating with community partners to solve complex issues and bringing clinical innovations that improve the lives of those who proudly call this region home.

To read the Business NC Power 100 List article, please visit https://businessnc.com/2022-power-list/.

Awards | Featured | Health News

Dr. Julie Kennedy Oehlert and Dr. Kamilah Williams were inducted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame.

Two Vidant leaders were recognized on Friday, March 18 and inducted into the East Carolina University (ECU) College of Nursing Hall of Fame along with seven other recipients.

Dr. Julie Kennedy Oehlert, chief experience officer at Vidant Health, and Dr. Kamilah Williams, administrator for nursing professional practice, development and clinical education at ECU Health Medical Center (VMC), were each honored last week after being nominated by colleagues and accepted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Williams is a 2005 graduate of the ECU College of Nursing and an eastern North Carolina native. She said she is proud to serve the community she calls home and the induction was a great honor.

Dr. Julie Kennedy Oehlert and Dr. Kamilah Williams were inducted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame.
Photo Courtesy of East Carolina University

“I’m so humbled and proud to be a Pirate nurse,” Dr. Williams said. “I’m proud to give back to my community here in eastern North Carolina, where I grew up as a young child. It’s an honor to serve and care for the population that I grew up with. I’m just grateful.”

Dr. Williams is tasked with developing nurses in her role at Vidant. Under her leadership, VMC achieved accreditation for the Nurse Residency Program and has developed an International Nurse Fellowship Program.

She said she loves what she does and is happy to give back to her profession and region through her role.

“When I think about the mission of our organization and being able to improve the health of the people here in eastern North Carolina, it’s exactly why I do what I do,” Dr. Williams said. “As a young child, I always knew I wanted to be a nurse and be able to give back to my community. Now in my role, to be able to help develop future nurses, it’s just a humbling experience.”

Dr. Julie Oehlert has used her experience as a nurse to improve the experience of patients, families and Vidant team members across eastern North Carolina. Dr. Oehlert came to Vidant and eastern North Carolina in 2016 and said the recognition made her feel at home.

“For me, I was so humbled and excited to be recognized with other Pirate Nurses,” Dr. Oehlert said. “I came from outside of Vidant but my heart is with Vidant and ECU. I feel welcomed into this community. I was so overwhelmed when I was nominated and accepted.”

Dr. Oehlert said she is proud to be part of a health system with so many Registered Nurses as leaders in different areas. With nurses in non-traditional roles lending their health care expertise and compassion for patients and families, the nursing heart can be seen in many facets of the health system.

“I don’t get to work directly with nursing but the nursing heart of all the leaders that have RNs behind their name, is pretty darn special at Vidant,” Dr. Oehlert said. “Many of our presidents and executives have that RN heart and that means we are always caring about our communities, we always have a holistic view on care and I love that.”

With the nine inductees for 2022, the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame that started in 2011 has grown to 150 members.

One of the past inductees on hand for the event was Dr. Daphne Brewington, senior vice president nurse executive at ECU Health Medical Center.

“It’s just been an amazing night and both Dr. Williams and Dr. Oehlert are so deserving of this award,” Dr. Brewington said. “I’m so proud that they have been inducted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame. I was inducted in 2018 so it’s just really special and surreal to be able to support colleagues that are on this journey as well.”

Inductees into the Hall of Fame also help fund a scholarship for ECU College of Nursing students, which has raised $170,000 throughout the years to support the next generation of nurses.

Learn more about the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame on ECU’s website.

Awards | Featured | Nursing

Student winners of the 2022 Quality Improvement Symposium Award pose for a photo.

The 6th annual Unified Quality Improvement Symposium was held virtually on Feb. 2. The symposium featured 23 projects related to quality improvement, patient safety, population health and interprofessional practice from Vidant Health and East Carolina University (ECU).

Nearly 130 participants attended the virtual symposium, during which academic and community physicians, health professionals, health care teams, residents, fellows and students had the opportunity to present their work in systems improvement and practice redesign to an audience of peers and health system leaders.

Dr. Mike Waldrum, CEO of Vidant and dean of the Brody School of Medicine, set the tone for the day during his opening remarks when he stated, “Quality is about caring, and caring is about love.”

Accepted presentations were divided into four categories: podium, quick shot podium, poster and works-in-progress poster presentations. The winners are:

Student winners of the 2022 Quality Improvement Symposium Award pose for a photo.

Photo Courtesy of ECU News Services
Left to right: Kiane Douglas, LINC M3, Tejal Naik, LINC M4, and Gary Allen, LINC M3.

Outstanding podium presentations

  • “Increasing Reconciliation of Outside Clinical Information during Hospitalizations at Vidant Health Hospitals” – Gary Allen, M3, LINC Scholar; Rose Jones, BS; Gregory Knapp, MD; Jessica Setzer, MBA
  • “For the Love of the Line CLABSI Reduction Project” – Erin Pearson, RN; Amy Campbell, PhD; Jamie Hall, BSN, RN; Takisha Williams, MSN, RN, NPD-BC


The quick shot podium award

  • “Improving Self-Management of Healthy Weight Related Goals at the Pediatric Healthy Weight Clinic” – Tejal Naik, fourth year medical student, LINC Scholar​


Outstanding poster award

  • “A QI Project to Decrease Suboptimal Patient Transfers from the NICU to the Special Care Nursery” – Kiane Douglas, third year medical student, LINC Scholar

Congratulations to all the winners and those who submitted and presented projects. As one of Vidant’s three imperatives, quality is an essential component in our ability to fulfill our mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.

View the day’s presentations and learn more about the symposium.

Awards | Health News

The 2022 Individual Award for ANA Innovation Awards

SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation) announced the winners of the 2022 ANA Innovation Awards sponsored by Stryker, a leading global medical technology company. The ANA Innovation Awards highlight, recognize and celebrate exemplary nurse-led innovations that improve patient safety and health outcomes.

Winner of the Individual Nurse Award:

Dr. KaSheta Jackson developed Community Pop-Ups: A Rural Approach, an innovative health care delivery model implemented as community-based pop-up clinics across eastern North Carolina to address social and economic health care barriers. This program makes health care both more accessible and approachable by directly providing preventative services, improving health care equity, and offering resources within communities with the greatest need. This is done through a system-level collaboration at Vidant Health with community-focused intervention. Through partnerships with community leaders and other Vidant Health team members, these clinics have evolved from solely offering health care screenings to providing COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, mental health resources, access to fresh produce, and employment opportunities.

Dr. KaSheta Jackson poses with the 2022 Individual Award for the ANA Innovation Awards.

Community Pop-Ups have been held in a variety of informal community settings, including baseball fields, farms, and parks, to build trust and improve community engagement. Designed and led by nurses, Community Pop-Ups follow the tenets of a holistic nursing care plan, addressing the community’s physical, mental, and environmental needs. In 2021, Community Pop-Ups provided care to more than 400 community participants, identified acute diseases, provided numerous jobs, gave away 500 produce boxes, and delivered 500 health passports in rural locations across Eastern North Carolina. In 2022, Community Pop-Ups plans to make a more substantial impact in the communities it reaches and establish a model for addressing the social determinants of health through qualitative data.

Winners of the Nurse-led Team Award:

A multidisciplinary team of frontline nurses developed the RediStik® Wearable Simulation Task Trainers. They identified educational gaps in the lack of realistic, versatile, and engaging training tools for nurses to learn skills in peripheral intravenous (PIV), Port-a-Cath, and Central Venous Catheter (CVC) care and maintenance. Nurses and other health care professionals are trained to insert peripheral and central venous catheters to administer fluids, draw blood, and deliver medications. The RediStik® innovation offers nurses the opportunity to have hands-on practice while receiving real-time feedback from instructors via zoom. Nurses have access to a system of individual and wearable simulation trainers as well as immersive skills videos filmed from the nurses’ point of view, which are accessible on YouTube® and through a QR code found on the RediStik® Kits.

The RediStik® Wearable Simulation Task Trainer project exceeded initial design goals and has proven to be an asset to the nursing community, according to survey data. Prior to training, 15% of nurses surveyed said they were “confident” on starting PIV lines. After training, 96% of nurses surveyed were “confident”. Nurse confidence and patient outcomes improved not only in Houston, Texas, but in Sub-Saharan Africa through Texas Children’s Hospital’s partnership with the Global HOPE (Hematology Oncology Pediatric Excellence) initiative, which is dedicated to treating and dramatically improving the prognosis for children with cancer and blood disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. The funds from this award will support the distribution of the RediStik® trainers to additional health care systems and nursing schools both locally and internationally.

“The 2022 ANA Innovation award winners have proven that nurses are able to make incredible strides and improve health while navigating turbulent times.  These nurses created solutions that scaled beyond their organizations, into their communities, and globally,” said ANA Vice President of Nursing Innovation, Oriana Beaudet, DNP, RN, PHN. “Nurses are the conduits of positive change across health care through their work and advocacy, which was solidified by the Gallup ranking as the Most Honest and Ethical Professions for the 20th consecutive year.”

“As a loyal advocate and supporter of the nursing community, we are honored to partner with ANA and the Foundation as a proud sponsor of the ANA Innovation Awards,” said Stryker’s Vice President and General Manager, Jessica Mathieson. “This year’s winners truly embody the meaning of nurse-led innovation, and we can’t wait to see their ideas expand and grow.”

The 2022 individual nurse and nurse-led team, ANA Innovation Award recipients, will receive monetary prizes of $25,000 and $50,000, respectively. These funds support translational research, development, prototyping, production, testing, and the implementation of these innovations. The award winners will have one year to further develop their innovation and will share their outcomes and findings in 2023. The ANA Innovation Awards are sponsored by Stryker.

You can celebrate these incredible nurse innovators at the 2022 Navigate Nursing Webinar. All are encouraged to attend – nurses, communities, industry members, health care leaders, health systems, innovators, schools of nursing and public health, and nursing advocates. The 2022 Webinar expands upon how nurses can lead in new ways moving into the future.

You can also learn more about how ANA is supporting nurse-led innovation by visiting the ANA Innovation website, where you will also find a list of resources, upcoming events, and nurse-led innovation stories.

Awards | Community | Health News

For nearly two years, Vidant Health and Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University team members have demonstrated their resiliency and dedication to the patients and communities we serve throughout eastern North Carolina.

Vidant is proud to announce Dr. Nupur Sharma, senior resident physician in pathology in the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant, was awarded the David C. Leach Award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The Leach Award recognizes residents and fellows who have fostered innovation and improvement in their programs, advanced humanism in medicine and increased efficiency and emphasis on educational outcomes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Sharma has adapted and innovated to help her colleagues continue to learn. While the pandemic limited clinical interactions for medical students and residents, Dr. Sharma began an online reading group with nearly 100 participants for other residents on hematopathology, the study of diseases of the cells that make up the blood.

Based on notes from these group discussions, Dr. Sharma and her colleague Dr. Akanksha Gupta, a hematopathology fellow from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, co-authored a board-review book.

“The most important mission at ECU is to provide high-quality education to its students,” Dr. Sharma said. “We use innovative learning strategies and delivery methods to maximize access. Now, residents can access these modules anywhere, anytime, making learning flexible. My work in the form of this comprehensive curriculum and an easy-to-read, board-review book reflects that mission and provides students with an innovative approach to learning.”

Dr. Sharma will be honored during the virtual 2022 ACGME Annual Education Conference being held March 30 through April 1, 2022.

Dr. Sharma’s efforts to support her colleagues and fellow physicians is an example of the dedication Vidant team members continue to display in the care they provide in the midst of enduring an ongoing pandemic.

“I hope that my journey motivates students to see opportunity in adversity,” she said. “The idea is to find creative solutions to challenges in education. I hope medical students will find my story inspiring and consider it as a career choice.”

The David C. Leach Award was created in 2008 to honor Leach, the former executive director of the ACGME (1997-2007), and his contributions to resident education and physician well-being. This award acknowledges and honors residents, fellows, and resident/fellow teams and their contributions to graduate medical education.

Dr. Sharma’s innovative leadership is an example of how Vidant and ECU work together to meet the combined mission to improve the health of eastern North Carolina. Through high-quality, mission-focused initiatives, Vidant and ECU are building upon the shared vision of creating the national model for rural health care.

Dr. Philip Boyer recommended Sharma for the award alongside Dr. Ann Sutton, clinical associate professor in pathology and Sharma’s mentor.

“Dr. Sharma has made truly exceptional contributions to curriculum development and teaching with an impact both locally in Greenville and nationally and internationally,” Dr. Boyer said. “She is developing skill sets that will serve her well as a fellow and as an academic pathologist.”

Please join us in thanking Dr. Sharma for her innovative work and all health care heroes for their lasting legacy as leaders in our communities.

Awards | Covid-19 | Health News