Weathering the pandemic together

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July 31, 2020

Weathering the pandemic together

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge here at home and across the nation, the people of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center are working together across units and disciplines to develop and implement strategies for preparedness, response, and recovery.

In health care, we are being careful stewards of both our supply chain and our financial resources, and we continue working to ensure the ongoing confidence of our patients and their loved ones. Our discovery and public health teams are involved in meaningful research and initiatives that are helping make inroads into global understanding, prevention, and equitable treatment of the virus. And across the entirety of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, we are collaborating closely with our peer health systems and with state and local governments; leveraging the goodwill and support of our community; and above all, focusing on our wonderful people.

Obviously, we still have a long road ahead in terms of eradicating the pandemic and recovering from its toll on our institution, our community, and our country. But I want you to know that we are devoting everything we have to this effort and that I have full confidence in our ability to make real progress together.

Thank you for your patience and your support in helping us get through this challenging time, together.

Driving culture change and improvement through relationships

The Infection Prevention team at Emory University Hospital Midtown leveraged their diverse, complementary expertise and a relentless focus on relationship-building to enhance perception of the infection prevention and control (IPC) function at their facility and reduce healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates.

Two years ago, the newly re-structured Emory Midtown IPC team set a goal to increase both their visibility and their partnership with the hospital’s clinical units. “We needed to change perception of the IPC function and be viewed as partners,” Infection Prevention Manager Jill Holdsworth said. 

Relationship-building became a guiding principle for the department, starting with ensuring that relationships within the IPC team were strong. As the first non-nurse infection preventionist at Emory, Holdsworth saw value in a diverse IPC team and sought candidates with a variety of backgrounds. All team members participated in interviews to ensure new hires would be a good fit, and the resulting team works exceptionally well together.

This relationship-focused approach was applied to the broader organization as well. The IPC team conducts daily rounding on all units, actively engaging with front-line team members. “You need to be on the floor every day, even if it’s just for staff to see you,” Paul Gentile said.

The team created an HAI-focused multi-disciplinary steering committee with IPC team members and nurses co-leading specific HAI reduction groups. These groups develop and implement standardized, apparent-cause HAI analysis templates to identify common failure modes and implement corresponding, targeted interventions.

Over the past two years, Emory Midtown has achieved significant HAI reductions, including a 50 percent decrease in catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Importantly, the organizational perspective on the IPC function has also improved significantly.

“This team changed the entire culture of how the hospital views the IPC program,” Emory Healthcare’s Infection Prevention Program Director Kari Love said.

In brief
EUH ranked No. 1

For the ninth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Emory University Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Georgia and metro Atlanta in its 2020-2021 Best Hospitals guide. (Emory University Hospital includes Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital and Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods.) Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital ranked No. 2 in Georgia and metro Atlanta, while Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked No. 5 in Georgia and metro Atlanta. Read more.

New director of Emory MBNA Stroke Center

Charles Michael Cawley III has been named director of the Emory MBNA Stroke Center. He succeeds Daniel Barrow, who has led the Stroke Center since its inception. Barrow is the Pamela R. Rollins chair and professor of the Department of Neurosurgery and chief of the neurosurgery service at Emory Healthcare. Cawley is a professor of neurosurgery and radiology and is the section chief and director of endovascular neurosurgery and interventional radiology for Emory Healthcare.

New director of Winship Clinical Trials Office

Amy Overby has been named the new director of the Clinical Trials Office at Winship Cancer Institute. Overby joins Winship from the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she served as the associate director for research administration and director of the Clinical Research Office. Overby will lead a team of more than 180 clinical research professionals and manage Winship's portfolio of over 300 ongoing trials.

Expansion at Winship Johns Creek

Winship at Emory Johns Creek Hospital (EJCH) has opened a new state-of-the-art infusion pharmacy and is expanding the infusion center. "Our renovations will add several new exam rooms and infusion chairs, and increase our capacity to treat up to 16 patients in our exam rooms and 26 patients in our infusion treatment areas simultaneously," says Jason VanGalder, director of operations, Winship at EJCH.

Vandana Niyyar, professor in the Division of Renal Medicine, received the 2020 Distinguished Clinical Service Award from the American Society of Nephrology.

Nanette Wenger, professor emeritus in the Division of Cardiology and founding consultant of Emory Women’s Heart Center, is the recipient of the American Heart Association’s 2020 Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award.

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