Posts from the ‘professionalism’ category

Brigham Team Recognized for Role in Disaster Response

When a major flood caused by a burst pipe forced the closure of the labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care units at Boston Medical Center (BMC) temporarily last year, the Brigham and several other hospitals stepped up to ensure patient care remained the priority.

During a Quality Rounds presentation in Bornstein Amphitheater last month, BMC clinicians spoke about the flood and reflected on the disaster response and lessons learned. 

A critical piece to the emergency plan for BMC was the safe and timely transfer of patients out of the affected units to area hospitals, including the Brigham, for care. At the end of Quality Rounds, the Brigham was presented with an award from BMC in recognition of the assistance staff provided during the flood incident. 

Karen Fiumara, PharmD, BCPS, executive director of Patient Safety at Brigham Health, said the Brigham teams that responded to this challenging situation were “nothing short of remarkable.” 

“While continuing to safely care for their existing patients, they welcomed this group of BMC patients and their loved ones to the Brigham with open arms and provided them with exceptional care,” Fiumara said. “This was one of those amazing stories that makes you proud to be part of the Brigham community.” 

Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN, associate chief nursing officer for the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women and Newborns, echoed Fiumara’s thoughts.

“The Brigham comes together in a crisis like no other, and we care—not only about our patients but also those across the city and region,” she said. “It was our privilege to care for the women and newborns who were affected by the BMC flood last year, and we stand ready to serve if called upon by our obstetric and newborn colleagues again in the future.”

Strengthening the Brigham Experience

bwh values logoLast summer, faculty and staff were invited to share their impressions of the Brigham’s organizational culture through the Brigham Experience: Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Assessment survey, focus groups, interviews and more. The message was clear: Our foundation and our people are strong, and we have opportunity to do even better, together.

The assessment revealed that Brigham Health has numerous strengths and areas of opportunity that will help grow the current culture to become even more transparent, diverse, inclusive and innovative.

Our strengths include our status as a leading academic medical system; our history and reputation; our shared passion for patient care; our progress in restoring financial health; and our ability to come together in a crisis.

Our areas of opportunity include the need for a more unifying vision and inspiring purpose statement that connects with all members of our workforce; the elimination of competition where there should be collaboration; more transparent and forthright communication; more diversity in leadership positions; a culture of respect and inclusion in every part of the organization; and a shift from a top-down structure to an empowered, shared decision-making approach.

Another takeaway from this effort was that the Brigham Health values as previously defined—collaboration, empathy, inclusion, integrity and professionalism—did not fully resonate with all faculty and staff. Building off feedback from across the Brigham, hospital leaders sought to redefine the institution’s values so that they better reflect who we are as a community.

The result is four newly articulated values:

We care. Period. We embrace a culture of shared humanity and dignity, where our diverse community of patients, families and employees all feel welcome, cared for and valued.

We create breakthroughs. It’s in our DNA. Since our founding, we’ve been discovering ways to make tomorrow better—for the health of people, here and around the world.

We’re stronger together. We all play a role. We take pride in teamwork, partnership and community. We value everyone’s contributions. We find inspiration in each other.

We pursue excellence. Because our patients deserve our best. We share a passion for learning and continuous improvement.

These four values also represent the theme of Brigham Bulletin’s 2019 calendar (published on the reverse side of this issue).

Looking ahead, hospital leaders are creating a “culture squad” to address the opportunities identified in the assessment and will then articulate behaviors that represent our aspirational culture.

Visit BWHPikeNotes.org and stay tuned for more information about our culture work.

Standing Room Only: Nursing Dreams Becoming a Reality

PCAs preparing to go to nursing schoolMany of you have already heard about the four amazing Brigham patient care assistants (PCAs) who received the inaugural Neskey Educational Opportunity Fund Scholarships, which provide full-tuition support to University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston for PCAs who aspire to have a career in nursing. David and Sharon Neskey established the fund to honor the extraordinary care they received from a PCA here. As it turns out, the day we announced those four recipients was just one piece of what would become my One Shining Moment this year.

Weeks earlier, I had the pleasure of attending an information session about the scholarship. Considering that this was a new program, I set my expectations accordingly, thinking six to eight attendees would have been a good showing for our first year. Little did I know how incredible the response would really be. About 40 PCAs came to the session, brimming with enthusiasm about the next potential step in their careers. I was also amazed that attendees were at all stages of thinking about their future as nurses—some had completed all the academic prerequisites and were ready to start at UMass, while others who had never taken any formal steps for continued education viewed this potential scholarship as the push they needed.

Linda S. Thompson, DrPH, MPH, RN, FAAN, dean of UMass Boston’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was so inspired by the program that she attended the information session and spoke of how her own professional beginnings looked very similar to those in the room. The most moving part of the event, though, was that when I looked at that group of PCAs, I saw the future nurses of the Brigham, who will one day inspire the next generation that follows them. I can’t wait to see the amazing things they will do in the years to come.

Ron M. Walls, MD
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brigham Health

The Power of Hand Hygiene

La’Lena Etheart BSN, RN, PCCN and staff

From left: Nina Jordan, La’Lena Etheart, Michelle Lafferty and Reba Dookie

I recently went back to school for my master’s degree in Nursing Administration. I had to design a brochure as part of an assignment, and I decided to make a brochure about hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection. I thought of the idea to have real nursing staff in my visuals, and my amazing coworkers on Shapiro 9/10 were more than willing to help! This picture is the cover photo of my brochure, which was titled “The Power Is in YOUR Hands!”

La’Lena Etheart BSN, RN, PCCN
Nurse in Charge, Shapiro Cardiovascular Center 9/10

Making the Magnet Magic Happen

Maddy Pearson and nursing staffMy One Shining Moment for 2018 represents the culmination of many shining moments for the Department of Nursing and our entire Brigham community. After a journey led by our clinical nurses that inspired pride about the exceptional care we provide, our patient outcomes and our interprofessional collaboration, we officially received the news that Brigham and Women’s Hospital achieved Magnet designation.

That announcement, which we heard via a phone call broadcast live in Bornstein Amphitheater, moved me to tears. I’ll never forget the joy and pride I saw on the faces of our Magnet champions and leaders as we learned that we had earned this prestigious designation, which represents the gold standard of nursing excellence and honors high-quality care delivered by multidisciplinary professionals.

We were recognized again in October at the Magnet conference in Denver in front of an audience of nearly 11,000 nurses from around the world. I will always cherish sharing that moment with the 130 Brigham staff who attended the conference.

Maddy Pearson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services

The ‘Antidote to Burnout’: Helping Underserved Communities

Jason Frangos and team

From left: Zachary Holcomb, John Mohs, Jason Frangos, Margaret Cavanaugh-Hussey, Toby Crooks and Diana Woody

I made my second trip to Shiprock, N.M., in November 2018 as part of the Brigham and Women’s Outreach Program. Working alongside the dedicated doctors and staff at the Indian Health Service hospital in Shiprock has truly inspired and motivated me in my life and work. Contributing much-needed clinical care to the Navajo community has re-energized me with a sense of meaning and purpose as a physician. Volunteering at Shiprock has been my antidote to burnout and has revitalized my spirit.

Jason Frangos, MD
Director, Program for Infectious Diseases of the Skin
Department of Dermatology

Rekindling a Special Bond with a Former Brigham Nurse

By far, my shining moment this year was the day I reconnected with my primary nurse, Vivian Kelley, RN, after 39 years! Vivian helped save my life back in 1979, when I came to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital for a bone marrow transplant. I had aplastic anemia (a rare and life-threatening blood disease) and spent two and a half months in an isolation room. Vivian was there at every turn—when I got my chemo and during the hundreds of hours that followed as I waited for my new immune system to mature. The photo in which I’m wearing a mask marks the day I went home. The other picture was taken when we reconnected this summer in Boston. Vivian moved to the West Coast a year after my transplant and continued practicing nursing until she retired. I credit Vivian’s intelligence, nursing skills and her calm, positive attitude for getting me through a terrifying time in my life. I’m so grateful we found each other again.

Jessica Keener
Associate Director, Proposal Management, Development Office

From a Harrowing Past Emerges a Brighter Future for Brigham Researcher

Morteza Mahmoudi

Morteza Mahmoudi displays the latest prototype of a novel skin patch designed to heal chronic wounds.

Morteza Mahmoudi, PhD, vividly remembers the fear and heartache he felt as a child growing up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. The armed conflict played out in the streets of his hometown of Tehran, where he says it wasn’t unusual to encounter a friend, neighbor or loved one suffering from traumatic injuries following a missile attack.

But just as clearly, Mahmoudi recalls what the voice inside him often said those days: Help people. Help heal their pain.

Now a biomedical investigator at the Center for Nanomedicine and the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Mahmoudi has spent the last three decades following that calling. It has propelled him to fulfill his life mission to ease suffering, no matter the obstacle.

“The war was a very hard period, but when I think about those days, I realize that kind of experience puts fuel in your motivational tank for the rest of your life,” he said. “From the time I entered university, I made the decision to use my past as a driving force for the future.”

As the winner of the seventh annual BRIght Futures Prize, Mahmoudi is especially hopeful about what tomorrow holds for patients around the world. The competition’s $100,000 award will support his project, “Time to Heal Chronic Wounds.”

Sponsored by the Brigham Research Institute, the BRIght Futures competition invites the Brigham community and the public to vote for one of three finalists whose innovative research is poised to transform medicine. This year’s competition garnered its largest-ever number of votes: 16,530. Mahmoudi was announced as this year’s winner during an awards ceremony at Discover Brigham on Nov. 7.

For the past 10 years, Mahmoudi has been working to develop a skin patch to heal chronic wounds that the body is unable to repair on its own, such as bedsores and diabetic wounds. There is no effective treatment for these types of wounds, which can easily become infected and sometimes lead to amputation or even death.

Mahmoudi’s patch is made from multifunctional nanofibers – fibers that are 1,000th the diameter of a single human hair – that mimic most of the skin’s characteristics. They are engineered to deliver a cocktail of healing biomolecules and immunotherapeutic nanoparticles to a wound site. These unique properties can help cells reach the site of a wound and create new blood vessels. Meanwhile, the nanoparticles detect and help fight infections while also lessening inflammation. The BRIght Futures Prize funding will help advance the project from the lab bench to clinical trials so that it can be rigorously tested in humans.

A Long Road

Once he got the idea for the patch, Mahmoudi soon realized how ambitious an endeavor creating it would be. It demanded expertise in four highly complex, distinct scientific fields: materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering, nanomedicine and cell biology. Undeterred, Mahmoudi earned a degree in each one (a bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and post-doctorate, respectively).

“The time in which I was working on bachelor’s and master’s was extremely hard, as in addition to my university courses and research, I had to work over 70 hours per week as a high school teacher to support my family at the time,” Mahmoudi recalled. “The motivational fuel and my old friend – my internal monologue – gave me the stamina to make it through those days and continue my scientific activities while also taking care of my immediate family.”

He kicked off his research career at universities in Ireland, Switzerland and the U.S., advancing his understanding of science and medicine as he chipped away at the project’s protocols and prototypes.

“I was like a scientific nomad,” he said. “Ten years ago, the crosstalk between different experts was not great – not like today – so that’s why I had to train in different medical and engineering fields.”

Each part of the patch – its precise structure and physical, chemical and mechanical properties – took years to perfect.

“I would say that this was one of the hardest projects I’ve ever done because it took a lot of time, and I could have easily given up many times, but I kept going,” he said. “My long-term collaborators and I made a huge number of prototypes. We haven’t yet published anything on this topic, as I believe that the scientific community and patients would benefit from the A-to-Z story, rather than progressive reports. We needed to make sure our final prototype was error-free, and we are now at that stage.”

Being part of the Brigham’s highly collaborative clinical and research community has been a tremendous gift in advancing this work, Mahmoudi said.

Today, he is excited to see the project move one step closer to changing outcomes for patients with chronic wounds, thanks to the BRIght Futures Prize.

“If I can reduce the pain of one patient, even for one minute, I have done my share. But if these patches can help many lives, that would be my ultimate dream,” Mahmoudi said. “This prize opens the way to that.”

Brigham Health’s Strategy in Action: Scalable Innovation
Learn more about our strategic priorities at BWHPikeNotes.org.

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Celebrating PAs: Delivering Care with ‘Warmth, Dignity and Respect’

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Ever since the first physician assistant (PA) was hired at the Brigham in the early 1980s, PAs have played an important role on care teams here. Today, the Brigham is the fifth-largest employer of PAs in the country, with more than 400 PAs throughout 37 departments. On Oct. 11, PAs from across Brigham Health and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) were recognized for their many contributions during the annual Physician Assistant Services Week event and awards ceremony.

To kick off the event, Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, MD, MBA, chief medical officer and senior vice president for Medical Affairs of Brigham Health, highlighted the vital role of PAs in care delivery. Physician assistants conduct patient exams, diagnose conditions, prescribe medications, assist in surgery and more.

Eappen noted PAs’ recent achievements, including advocating for rebranding our “Find a Doctor” directory as “Find a Provider” to include PAs and nurse practitioners. In addition, he applauded PA Services’ new peer-to-peer program, which connects new physician assistants with experienced PAs from other departments.

“These efforts have begun to pay dividends and have been very well-received,” said Eappen, adding that PA Services has earned two Partners in Excellence Awards, a Brigham Education Institute Inaugural Education Grant and the Employer of Excellence Award from the Academy of Physician Assistants’ Center for HealthCare Leadership and Management.

Jessica Logsdon, MHS, MHA, PA-C, senior director of PA Services, thanked physician assistants for their tremendous contributions to not only the Brigham but also their profession. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside you to care for our patients,” she said. “I would also like to thank our colleagues across the organization, both administrative and clinical, for the continued support you have provided as we continue to find our place within the health care system.”

Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD, reaffirmed the crucial role of PAs in multidisciplinary, team-based care: “Tonight, we celebrate our extraordinary PAs, who deliver personalized, passionate care with warmth, dignity and respect. Thanks to all of you, the Brigham continues to be a beacon of hope for people everywhere.”

Recognizing Excellence

During the event, several BWHers were honored for their commitment to excellence in patient care.

Kaitilin Mahoney, PA-C, and Ian Dunn, MD, of the Department of Neurosurgery, received the PA/MD Team Award for their exceptional interprofessional education and practice. In a letter of support, neurosurgeon Linda Bi, MD, PhD, wrote, “Their passion for clinical care constantly reignites their peers to refocus on the beauty of medicine that captured us.”

William Hung, PA-C, of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, received the Preceptor Award for exemplifying the attributes of a master educator and for being an outstanding model for PA students. In a nomination letter praising Hung’s extensive clinical knowledge and professionalism, Thoracic Surgery colleagues Jon Wee, MD, Namrata Patil, MD, MPH, and Evan Hall, PA-C, highlighted his passion for teaching and mentorship.

Adriana Penicaud, PA-C, of DF/BWCC, received the Distinguished PA Award, which recognizes a PA for excellence in patient care; dedication to the institutional mission, vision and core values; continued professional development; demonstrated leadership; and/or service in the community or profession.

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Going Above and Beyond Each Day: Pathology Labs Celebrate Successful Surveys

Cyprian Odeke

Cyprian Odeke runs quality control for the COBAS 8000 in the Chemistry Laboratory.

The Department of Pathology laboratories were recognized by surveyors from two accrediting bodies – The Joint Commission (TJC) and the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) – for their extraordinary performance in quality and safety following two surveys in May.

The survey results are the latest in a long tradition of excellent marks from both entities. Particularly significant was the flawless report from the ASHI, which surveyed the Tissue Typing Histocompatibility Lab and concluded there were no findings to address – a rare outcome for an organization as large as BWH.

“Our staff’s commitment to service excellence, professionalism and team spirit came through loud and clear to the surveyors,” said Milenko Tanasijevic, MD, MBA, vice chair for Clinical Pathology and Quality. “They go above and beyond for every specimen and demonstrate their dedication to our patients every single day, regardless of whether a survey is occurring.”

During the four-day, unannounced TJC visit, which takes place every two years, surveyors evaluated compliance with laboratory standards in the labs, patient care areas, select on-site ambulatory practices and select off-site locations across BWH.

“The surveyors were so complimentary the whole time they were here. They commented on how incredibly professional and knowledgeable our staff are,” said Denise Fountain, MS, MT(ASCP)SBB, CQA(ASQ), director of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance in Pathology.

Sara White

Sara White checks cell growth in a tissue culture on an inverted microscope in the Cytogenetics Tissue Culture Laboratory.

For the first time, TJC surveyors evaluated the labs using a new scoring methodology, The SAFER Matrix, which weighs instances of noncompliance by risk and magnitude. Surveyors identified a small number of findings to be addressed – fewer than most hospitals the size of BWH – and praised the staff for their professionalism, commitment and attention to detail. Since the completion of the survey, the BWH labs have addressed all findings from the report.

The ASHI survey, which also takes place every two years, praised the cutting-edge testing and highly advanced, specialized services provided by the Tissue Typing Histocompatibility Lab, Tanasijevic said.

“These successes are especially impressive given the pace of innovation in the field, and every BWHer should take pride in the outcomes of both surveys,” said Jeffrey Golden, MD, chair of Pathology.

“For example, five years ago, we rarely sequenced tumors. Now we look at the genome of most tumors to help inform how each patient should be treated,” Golden added. “When you factor in the regulatory changes that come with adoption of these new technologies, these surveys can be extremely challenging. But the remarkable commitment of our staff, no matter what challenges they face, ensure that we continue to be a high-quality, safe laboratory that provides the very best care for our patients.”

Brigham Health’s Strategy in Action: Highest-Quality, Safe Care
Learn more about our strategic priorities at BWHPikeNotes.org.

‘Truly Exceptional’: BWHers Honored at 22nd Annual PIE Awards

From left: PIE Award winner Sholonda Alexander celebrates with Valerie Moals-Phillips, who nominated her for the honor.

When the Urgent Care Center waiting room at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center in Foxborough was at capacity one day, Eva Wood, a practice coordinator, wanted to do something to comfort patients as they waited to be seen.

She offered drinks and snacks and provided regular updates about expected wait times. These thoughtful gestures helped to ease patients’ minds amid the stress of an injury or illness.

Wood was among several individuals and teams honored with 2017 Partners in Excellence Awards (PIE) during the Feb. 20 ceremony. This year, awards were presented to a total of 65 individuals from BWH, the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, as well as 374 members of 33 project teams. The annual awards recognize employees for their outstanding contributions to Partners HealthCare’s mission.

Another PIE Award recipient was Johann Brown, a dosimetrist (radiation planning expert) in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Brown was nominated for his tireless efforts to ensure patients receive timely care.

“Johann epitomizes the phrase ‘going over and above one’s duties.’ Johann has worked weekends, evenings and early mornings to be sure all treatment plans are done on time and patient treatments are never delayed,” colleagues wrote in his nomination. “He is unreservedly committed to his team and patients.”

Among the teams honored with a PIE Award was Spiritual Care Services. The department was nominated for its work in training more than 100 medical students in the basics of Spiritual Care since 2016, as well as collaborating with Psychiatry and presenting at joint Psychiatry and Spiritual Care rounds to enhance collaboration, learning and continuity of care between the two departments.

Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD, shared words of pride and gratitude with recipients for their work and dedication to patients, their families and each other.

“The commitment and loyalty you demonstrate to the Brigham is truly exceptional,” she said. “You inspire me every day. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Paula Squires, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, senior vice president of Human Resources, served as the ceremony’s emcee and reflected on the extraordinary efforts of this year’s recipients.

“Because of all of you, we are and will remain one of the finest hospitals in the world,” said Squires. “Every day, your passion, purpose, skill and innovative spirit touch the lives of those in our BWH community. For that, we are all deeply grateful and proud. I’m thrilled we can celebrate the spirit of excellence today.”

View a recording of the webcast.

A Picture of Devotion, Compassion: Bornstein Portrait Honors Seltzer

Steven and Rochelle Seltzer, with his chair portrait

Steven Seltzer, MD, FACR, chair emeritus of the Department of Radiology, has spent decades studying images of the body. But when he reflects on his 40-year career at the Brigham, it’s not the body that comes to mind but a feeling: love.

“Love is the secret sauce that makes everything possible, and I have been so fortunate and grateful to have received love in spades – from my family, from Radiology, from colleagues and leaders at BWH,” said Seltzer, also the Philip H. Cook Distinguished Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. “All of this love has inspired me to be the best I can be.”

Seltzer expressed his appreciation during a ceremony celebrating the unveiling of his portrait in Bornstein Amphitheater on Nov. 17. The portrait honors his contributions in medicine, science and education as the fourth chair of the Department of Radiology, a position he held from 1997 to 2016.

Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD, praised Seltzer for his exceptional leadership in Radiology by expanding the department’s clinical services and research while also serving as a beloved mentor.

“It is often said that one needs to be a triple threat, demonstrating excellence in clinical care, research and teaching. But in today’s world, you must be a quadruple threat because you also have to be good at the business of academic medicine. Steven has shined in all four of those areas in an extraordinary way,” Nabel said.

Addressing Seltzer directly, Nabel thanked him for his many years of service and devotion to the Brigham. “We are thrilled to honor you today, and we will continue to honor you for many decades to come with your portrait here in Bornstein,” she said.

Seltzer joined the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1976 as a Radiology resident. Reflecting on his memories of orientation day, also held in Bornstein, he recalled how intimidated and even star-struck he felt back then.

“I own the books published by just about everyone whose portraits are on the walls and know of their enormous impact on our medicine,” he said. “I’m sure that not in my wildest dreams did I consider for a microsecond that I might spend my entire professional career at this institution and one day have my portrait take its place in this pantheon.”

During his time as chair, Seltzer expanded Radiology services throughout Brigham Health. Under his tenure, the department established the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging and the first-of-its-kind Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite.

In addition to his role in the department, Seltzer also served as chair of the Board of Trustees in the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization. Outside of BWH, he serves as a visiting scholar in Economic Studies at the Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institution, and has served in leadership roles in numerous radiological organizations.

“Throughout it all, I’ve admired Steven’s tremendous dedication,” said his wife, Rochelle. “I’ve seen how much he’s loved every dimension of his work, and I’ve been inspired by the many times he created a big vision for moving things forward and patiently, deftly worked until those great visions were realized.”

Caring and Dedication, at Work and Home

Just as impressive as Seltzer’s professional achievements are his warmth, humility and gentleness as a clinician, colleague and friend, said Martin Samuels, MD, DSc(hon), FAAN, MACP, FRCP, FANA, chair of the Department of Neurology and director of the Program in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience.

To illustrate how Seltzer embodies these qualities, Samuels shared a story about confiding in his longtime friend and colleague during a health scare. Following some routine bloodwork, Samuels feared the results suggested he might have pancreatic cancer. “’Let’s settle it right this minute,’” Samuels recalled Seltzer saying with tenderness and compassion.

“He took me by the hand, literally, to the CT machine, put the IV in and performed the scan,” recalled Samuels. “As soon as those films came out, he gave me the thumbs up and said there was nothing wrong. It was an incredibly important therapeutic interaction by a great doctor.”

Addressing his father directly, Seltzer’s son Daniel spoke of how he always put family first despite his many obligations.

“No matter how busy you got – no matter how many clinical cases, emails or management headaches awaited you back at the office – you skillfully shut off your work life every time you came home,” Daniel said. “Now as a father myself, I draw inspiration from my memories of how you balanced your personal and professional life, Dad. I strive to be every bit as devoted to my family you have been to me.”

Q&A: Brigham PA Shares Passion for Profession, Education

National Physician Assistant (PA) Week is held every October to honor physician assistants’ substantial role in improving health. PAs are involved in nearly every facet of care at BWH.

Chioma Tomlinson

Chioma Tomlinson, MMS, PA-C II, who practices Internal Medicine and Primary Care at Brigham Circle Medical Associates, is one PA making a difference in the lives of patients, colleagues and trainees.

“Having had the good fortune of watching Chioma practice and teach medical trainees, I’m struck by how effective she is at immediately establishing rapport,” said Charles Morris, MD, MPH, associate chief medical officer and an attending physician at Brigham Circle Medical Associates. “She was the first PA in our practice, so she often was introducing not only herself in the exam room but also her profession. Her ability to quickly forge a connection is a skill at which she excels and then leverages to provide a superlative level of care.”

In this Q&A, Tomlinson shares why she loves her job and her commitment to helping educate the next generation of PAs.

What’s your favorite part of your work?

CT: Our team-based approach. It’s a pleasure for me to get to know many of our patients almost as well as their physician does. This dynamic helps us provide better continuity of care. It’s a privilege to be there as someone who can step in and is as invested in the patient’s overall health as their physician when issues arise that need immediate attention or that require frequent visits.

Why did you choose primary care?

CT: I value the relationships we have with our patients in primary care. Our ability to consistently provide quality care for any number of medical and/or psychosocial issues is often tethered to our ability to establish caring and trusting relationships. One example is management for illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. Staying healthy for these patients often requires not only regularly taking medication but also making significant lifestyle modifications. I try to find common ground and talk to patients about how we can help them live their best lives.

You’re also a preceptor. What do you enjoy about educating PA students?

CT: I love what I do and enjoy sharing that fulfillment with students. I’m fortunate in that I teach students from a few local programs. It’s a nice opportunity to give back to the community that has given me so much. It’s inspiring to remember how much we learn during those didactic years and how stressful – but exciting – that time can be. I also like challenging students to think through the many ethical and professional issues in medicine and how they impact our practice as PAs.

What’s your advice for new PAs and PA students?

CT: It’s important for all of us to make sure our profession stays strong by honoring those who came before us, supporting those around us and fostering those who come after us. I encourage PAs to find a meaningful way to stay active in our community. Teaching, publishing, advocacy or trailblazing new opportunities are just a few examples of ways to stay engaged. Lastly, take pride in the fact that we’re part of a larger medical community with the common goal of providing the best care for our patients.

BWH Takes a Stand Against Workplace Bullying

From left: Annie Lewis-O’Connor, Dave Corbin and Henrietta Menco

Workplace bullying takes many forms, but they all have one thing in common: Abusive behaviors contribute to a hostile work environment that can lead to physical, emotional and even professional harm for the targets of abuse, witnesses and the bullies themselves.

That is why bullying must be dealt with seriously and swiftly – especially in a setting where patient care is at stake – asserted speakers during a recent panel discussion, “Diversity and Inclusion Rounds: Workplace Bullying.”

“Bullying is symptomatic of a larger issue around inclusion and respect,” said Sabrina Williams, MBA, chief diversity and inclusion officer and interim vice president of Human Resources, who served as moderator for the Oct. 2 event.

The event follows a recent announcement to all staff, jointly signed by hospital leadership, condemning workplace bullying and kicking off an anti-bullying campaign.

Williams opened the discussion by sharing Human Resources’ definitions of four types of abusive conduct: workplace bullying, lateral violence, microaggressions and cyberbullying. Each represents a pattern of behavior, intentional or sometimes unintentional, that inflicts harm on an employee or group of employees through physical or verbal actions or via posts on social media sites.

“Some people think workplace violence is physical, but that isn’t true. Bullying is a form of workplace violence,” said panelist Dave Corbin, director of Police, Security and Parking.

“It could affect a whole unit or department – silently eating away at everyone, including bystanders.”

Maddy Pearson, MSN, MA, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services, recalled how several staff members mentioned to her when she joined the Brigham earlier this year that bullying and intimidation have been a problem in some areas. In one instance, a care team member no longer felt safe voicing an opinion about patient care after having been repeatedly bullied by a colleague.

“That was a tipping point for me,” Pearson said. “That scenario is never OK.”

Identifying and Shutting Down Bullying

While some instances of bullying are easy to spot, others are subtle, speakers explained. Panelists Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PhD, NP-BC, MPH, founder and director of BWH’s Coordinated Approach to Recovery and Empowerment (C.A.R.E.) Clinic, and Henrietta Menco, LICSW, CEAP, quality manager of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), used a role-play exercise to show how workplace bullying can unfold in less obvious ways.

Next, they explained and demonstrated a strategy for responding to bullying: Describe, Express, Suggest and Consequences (DESC). The conflict-resolution model uses direct, neutral language to express how the victim interpreted the situation, why it was problematic and an alternative way the exchange could have occurred.

“The person isn’t always open to the feedback, but it’s worth the effort to try,” said Leo Buckley Jr., executive director of Business Operations for Patient Care Services and Nursing, who attended the event. “Sometimes, when you call people out on this behavior, they’re awakened by it.”

Bystanders, who can also use the DESC model, should feel empowered to speak up on behalf of victims when they witness one colleague bullying another, speakers noted.

“These are tough and difficult conversations, but we all have a voice, and when we don’t use our voice, we’re giving permission for these behaviors,” Williams said. “Our goal is to provide our staff with tools and resources to help them find and use their voice in a productive manner when these situations occur.”

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‘They Have Been Our Role Models’: Residents Honor Nurses

Internal Medicine residents celebrate their nurse colleagues for their commitment to collaboration and excellence.

When a patient in the Integrated Teaching Unit on Tower 10BA had an allergic reaction to a medication, his care team rushed in to help. Amid the flurry of activity in trying to help the distressed patient, one nurse’s compassionate, calming presence made a lasting impression on Simin Lee, MD, MBA, a first-year resident on rounds.

That nurse was John Solman, RN, who was one of eight Brigham nurses honored during the 17th annual Internal Medicine Nursing Awards on June 8. Residents established the awards to recognize nurses for their commitment to care and mentorship.

“I looked around and John was there, ready to help. He said to me, ‘It’s going to be okay,’” Lee said. “He’s consistently demonstrated that same compassion, warmth and strength with his patients and the people he works with.” Addressing Solmon directly, she added: “It’s such an honor and pleasure to learn from you.”

Jessica Hoy, MD, a third-year resident, nominated nurse care coordinator Caroline Melia, of Brigham and Women’s Primary Care Associates at South Huntington, for the award. “She single-handedly manages our most complex patient cases and navigates the complicated medical system for both patients and providers,” said Hoy. 

Sarah Brown, MD, a fourth-year resident, says the nurses she works with are invaluable mentors in her own education.

“They have been our role models and have taught us a lot of what we know about being physicians and being part of a care team,” said Brown, who served as emcee for the ceremony. “We honor not only the nurses who were nominated for these awards, but also all of the nurses who care for our patients and for us throughout our years of residency.”

Eleven winners were selected from 59 nominees at BWH, BWFH and the Boston Veteran’s Administration Health System hospital in West Roxbury, where Internal Medicine residents rotate.

BWH Recipients:

Monica Crowley, MSN, RN
Cardiology, Shapiro 9/10

Stewart Fenniman, RN
Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Shapiro 9 East

Lindsey Mansfield, BSN, RN, PCCN
General Medicine Services, Tower 14CD

Caroline Melia, RN
nurse care coordinator, Brigham and Women’s Advanced Primary Care Associates, South Huntington

Alice Morrison, MSN, RN
nurse care coordinator, Care Coordination

Maria Schaller, RN
Medical Intensive Care Unit, Tower 3BC

John Solman, BSN, RN
Integrated Teaching Unit, Tower 10BA

Nori Vincitorio, MSN, RN
Oncology/BMT, Tower 6A

Haas-Kogan Honored With HMS Professorship

Daphne Haas-Kogan

On May 9, Daphne Haas-Kogan, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), was selected for the Radiation Oncology Professorship at Harvard Medical School (HMS). The professorship pays tribute to her lifelong commitment to the field of radiation oncology.

During a celebration held in HMS’ Gordon Hall, Haas-Kogan said she was “eternally grateful” to be chosen.

Haas-Kogan, who joined DF/BWCC in 2015, explained that one of her aspirations in life has always been to treat children with cancer.

“Looking at all of you today, I know with certainty that you are granting me this wish in spades,” said Haas-Kogan to family, friends, colleagues, trustees, donors and others at the event. “I am honored and so genuinely and deeply privileged to be part of your team. I get excited when I think about how we can change the world together. I cannot wait to change the world with you.”

Endowed professorships are the highest honor HMS confers on its faculty, held by less than 3 percent of the school’s 11,000 faculty members.

Before being presented with a framed citation, Haas-Kogan was introduced with remarks from George Daley, MD, PhD, dean of HMS; her three children, Shira, Yonatan and Maetal; former colleague Sean McBride, MD, MPH, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD.

Nabel, who helped recruit Haas-Kogan to DF/BWCC, thanked her for her leadership and commitment to patients.

“Daphne is a brilliant physician-scientist who cares deeply about her patients,” Nabel said. “She’s also a very thoughtful and collaborative leader who brings a depth of experience, not only in patient care, research innovation and teaching, but also administratively. The chemistry was a perfect fit.”

Haas-Kogan’s children thanked their mother – addressing her as their “Ima,” which translates to “mother” from Hebrew – for being a role model they look up to every day.

“Through every fiber of my mom’s being runs a ceaseless passion, evident to anyone who spends five minutes with her, for helping and supporting those less fortunate,” said Maetal Haas-Kogan. “Ima, thank you for teaching me the meaning of integrity and honor as you embark on this incredible journey.”

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‘40 Under 40’ Lists Honor Brigham Staff

Some “40 under 40” honorees, from left: Aiden Feng, Peter Chai, Sarah Collins, Jayender Jagadeesan and Jeff Greenberg. See the complete list of BWHers at the end of this article.

Recently, 13 rising stars in science, medicine and innovation at the Brigham were named on two separate “40 under 40” lists for their work to improve health care. The lists were compiled by Medtech Boston, an online publication highlighting medical innovation, and the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), a research and educational organization that strives to prepare the U.S. health system to provide optimal care for a diverse society.

Ten health care innovators from the Brigham were highlighted on Medtech Boston’s “40 Under 40 Health Care Innovators” list, which is made up of physicians, entrepreneurs, policy makers, students and others. Honorees were chosen for their commitment and contributions to improving health care.

Three BWHers received the NMQF’s 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health Awards, which honor influential, young minority leaders making a difference in health care.

Success comes in many forms, and the right career path isn’t always obvious at first, noted honorees. They advised up-and-coming health care professionals to pursue roles or areas of focus that align with their passions.

Internal Medicine resident Bradford Diephuis, MD, MBA, didn’t set out to become a physician; he started his career on Wall Street. It wasn’t until he became ill that he realized he wanted to help others heal. After graduating from Harvard Medical School last year, he joined the Brigham in July. Diephuis – who was recognized on the Medtech Boston list for his work here and for co-founding a digital health startup called Herald Health – knows he made the right decision to step into health care.

For Sarbattama (Rimi) Sen, MD, a neonatologist and researcher in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, being named to the “40 under 40” list by Medtech Boston was a great honor. At the Brigham, Sen’s research is focused on children of obese mothers and understanding why they face health and developmental challenges throughout their lives. She encourages her colleagues to find fields they are passionate about and roles that make them want to come to work every day.

“Once you find it, stick with it,” Sen says. “You might face a lot of challenges along your path, but never give up.”

‘This Is a Family’

Early-career BWHers honored on the two lists said the culture at the Brigham makes it the ideal place to follow their dreams. Sasha DuBois, MSN, RN, a nurse administrator who was among those recognized by the NMQF, says she’s grateful to be part of an institution that encourages professional growth.

Ever since walking through the doors of the Brigham 15 years ago as a high school junior in the Student Success Jobs Program, DuBois has felt empowered to carry out her dream of becoming a nurse. Whether she was interested in going back to school to earn her master’s degree or looking for new opportunities within the Brigham, DuBois said her colleagues have always been willing to lend an ear and offer advice.

“The support and encouragement I’ve received has been life-changing,” DuBois said. “This is more than just a job; this is a family.”

Health care innovator Aiden Feng, MD, MBA, an Internal Medicine intern and resident in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, noted how he tremendously values the opportunities and support he has received at BWH. Feng, who was named on the Medtech Boston list, is also the co-founder Pillo Health, a startup company that has developed a personal home health robot.

“As a physician, I’m here to make others’ lives simpler, happier and healthier,” he said. “In medicine, this goal can often get lost in the midst of making intricate diagnoses or building lengthy treatment plans. But I’ve found that the Brigham values a humanistic approach to health care and cares for the person in the patient.”

Vin Gupta, MD, MSc, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, whose primary research interests surround pandemic preparedness and responses to global health events, was included on the NMQF list. Also a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps, Gupta said his favorite part about working at the Brigham is the culture – one that fosters growth through an emphasis on creativity and provides fertile terrain for those interested in alternative career paths, such as health policy.

“To be a part of a community that recognizes that this type of path is encouraged and celebrated means so much to me,” Gupta said. “You can be a doctor anywhere, but it’s rare that an institution such as the Brigham will provide the intellectual and logistical space to perform multidisciplinary work.”

Medtech Boston 40 Under 40

Omar Badri, MD
Internal Medicine Residency Program; Harvard Combined Dermatology Residency Training Program

Peter Chai, MD, MMS
Department of Emergency Medicine; Division of Medical Toxicology

Sarah Collins, PhD, RN
Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care; Clinical Informatics Partners eCare at Partners HealthCare

Bradford Diephuis, MD, MBA
Internal Medicine Residency Program

Aiden Feng, MD, MBA
Internal Medicine Residency Program; Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

Amy Flaster, MD, MBA
Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care; Partners HealthCare Center for Population Health

Jeff Greenberg, MD, MBA
Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care; Brigham Innovation Hub

Jayender Jagadeesan, PhD
Department of Radiology

Ravi Parikh, MD, MPP
Internal Medicine Residency Program

Sarbattama (Rimi) Sen, MD
Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine

National Minority Quality Forum 40 Under 40

Sasha DuBois, MSN, RN
Nursing Services

Vinay Gupta, MD, MSc
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Latrice Landry, PhD, MS, MMSc
Department of Pathology