Every year the Patient Safety Movement Foundation identifies the most influential advocates in patient safety and honors them with the Humanitarian Award at the annual World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit. This award recognizes leaders who have made significant progress in eliminating preventable patient deaths so that we can reach our shared goal of zero by 2020.

2016 Humanitarian Award Winners

Dr. Patrick H. Conway, MD, MSc

As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Conway oversees vital programs that serve the more than 130 million Americans who receive health care services through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. He and his team work to improve quality, affordability, access, and health outcomes. In 2014, Dr. Conway was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Dr. Conway, in receiving the award said, “I am honored and humbled to receive the patient safety movement humanitarian award.  I look forward to continuing to help improve patient safety across the nation.”

Dr. Dave Mayer, MD 

Dr. Mayer is Vice President of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in the mid-Atlantic region. He oversees the infrastructure for clinical quality and its operational efficiency and designs, and directs system-wide activity for patient safety and risk-reduction programs. Under Mayer, MedStar has been at the vanguard of embracing transparency in communications with patients and families when something goes wrong in treatment. Recently, MedStar worked with the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop and pilot a toolkit for their Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) program. In receiving the award, Dr. Mayer said, “It’s an amazing honor to be recognized by Joe Kiani and the Patient Safety Movement, to be honored with other recipients who have worked so hard to reduce medical harm.  I am humbled to be included with such a wonderful group.”

Annamarie Saarinen

Ms. Saarinen is the CEO of the Newborn Foundation. She has been recognized by the Patient Safety Movement for spearheading the national effort to ensure all newborns are screened for the most prevalent birth defect, critical congenital heart disease (CCHD), which afflicts one in every 100 newborns. The Newborn Foundation is the first national organization focused on leveraging health, medtech, and biotechnology to improve outcomes and reduce disparities specifically for newborns. Through her work, 99% of babies are now screened for CCHD in the US every year. In receiving the award, Ms. Saarinen noted, “I am surprised and humbled to receive the Humanitarian award from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation. I am grateful for the work Dr. Granelli has done in heart disease which has created a strong platform for the Newborn Foundation to help improve and save the lives of babies. It has been an incredible opportunity to work with the Patient Safety Movement and the other advocates toward this end.”

Dr. Anne de-Wahl Granelli, PhD, MBA

Dr. Granelli has spent the last decade researching CCHD screening and it is because of her work that organizations like Annamarie Saarinen’s, the Newborn Foundation, have been able to successfully create policies across the US and the world to ensure that babies don’t leave the hospital without being screened. Dr. Granelli received the award in conjunction with Annamarie to show the great work that has been accomplished in 2016 through continued research. Dr. Granelli said, “I am so honored to be a recipient of the Humanitarian award. It is truly amazing. It has also been a privilege to work with Annamarie Saarinen, and to have such an impact on the lives of babies with critical congenital heart disease.”

2015 Humanitarian Award Winners

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Barbara Boxer is a forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment and her State of California. She is a strong proponent of life-saving medical research and wrote bipartisan legislation to accelerate America’s contribution to combat global HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Since becoming aware of the number of preventable deaths in the US, Senator Boxer has been a strong champion of patient safety.  In 2014, Senator Boxer wrote to 283 California acute care hospitals asking them to respond with the actions they are taking to reduce the most common medical errors, leading to the first publication of this report in April of 2014. Senator Boxer visited multiple hospitals in California to bring attention to patient safety and the work that must be done to eliminate preventable deaths.  To date, more than 90% of hospitals have responded to her inquiry and Senator Boxer continues to champion zero preventable deaths in hospitals.

Alicia Cole

Alicia Cole is a survivor of multiple Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs). She is an incredible patient advocate who shares her story with healthcare professionals, legislators and medical students across the country. Alicia collaborates regularly with numerous patient safety organizations including the Patient Safety Movement Foundation to help eliminate harm from preventable hospital acquired infections.  She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients (ASAP), an organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of the epidemic of hospital acquired infections, mentoring new patient advocates and counseling with other Survivors of Necrotizing Fasciitis and other medical harm.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were honored for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts (ACA).  Not only has their work allowed more people to have access to healthcare, but through the new payment incentives, over 50,000 lives have been saved.

Prof. Kai Zacharowski

Professor Kai D. Zacharowski, MD, PhD, FRCA holds the position of the Ordinarius and is the Director of the Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Therapy at the University Hospital Frankfurt. His latest hypothesis and research on blood management which was presented for the first time at the World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit, promises to save countless lives, and reduce costs.  The innovative model to reduce pre-opertive anemia is focused on three core concepts: identifying patients at risk for needing transfusion, increasing their hemoglobin level before surgery, minimizing the risk of hitting levels that require blood transfusions. He also released the findings of this groundbreaking study demonstrated up to 20% reduction in red blood cell transfusion, risk of acute kidney injury, and overall costs, without any negative impact to patient safety. The study is pending peer review.

2014 Humanitarian Award Winners

Tom Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, Executive Director & CEO, American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)

Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, President & COO, University of Vermont Medical Center

Anna Noonan, RN, Vice President, Jeffords Quality Institute, University of Vermont Medical Center

2013 Humanitarian Award Winners

Robin Betts, MBA-HM, RN, Assistant Vice President Quality & Patient Safety, Intermountain Healthcare

Jon Carlson, Director, Respiratory Care Services, Mercy Hospital, Buffalo

United States Senator Tom Harkin

Michael A.E. Ramsay, MD, FRCA, Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology,
Baylor University Medical Center; President, Baylor Research Institute