“A seismic effect” on patient care

The 2017 Professional Staff awards recognize outstanding contributions by OHSU providers

July 18, 2017

It's as if the award criteria were written with them in mind: consistently asks why things are done a certain way; uses that question for motivation to create positive change; implements the change; and, includes all disciplines in the care of patients.

Transgender Health Program providers and staff with Dean Anderson

This OHSU Professional Staff award recognizes innovation in new models of clinical care and interdisciplinary teams. And this year's awardees are the OHSU School of Medicine faculty members and physicians of the Transgender Health Program:

Presented July 6, the OHSU Professional Staff awards are given annually to recognize outstanding contributions by members of the provider community at OHSU. Julia Lager-Mesulam, L.C.S.W., director of the OHSU Partnership Project, nominated the THP team for the innovation award, which upholds creativity and faculty engagement to drive change.

Although the THP officially launched in January 2015, it began taking shape several years before then when a group of dedicated professionals and community members met to create a program unlike any other at OHSU – and one of few in the nation at that time. "One of the strongest pieces to this program is the collaborative effort on the part of these providers," said Lager-Mesulam, in her nomination. "They have dedicated countless hours to the continued implementation of the program to increase service delivery to the transgender and gender nonconforming community."

The THP is more than a conduit to primary care or surgical services for trans women, trans men, gender nonconforming and non-binary individuals. Its staff and providers are ready advocates, working on issues as specific as how to recognize name and gender change in the electronic health record to writing opinion pieces about the potential impacts of federal reform on the trans community. They also act as the primary referral center for the Pediatric Endocrinology Trans Clinic at OHSU, and will provide accompaniment to medical visits whenever it's requested.

Their work includes better serving the transgender and gender nonconforming community at OHSU; the THP has advocated for inclusion of health benefits for transgender employees and evaluated gender neutral bathroom and accessibility improvements. Providers affiliated with the program come together frequently for advisory and committee meetings, as well as monthly multi-disciplinary team meetings to consult on surgical patients. Dr. Milano – who first gained experience with transgender patients as a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco – said the OHSU program has had "a seismic effect" on improving quality of care for transgender patients. (Read more in Bridges, the School of Medicine alumni magazine.)

Additional Professional Staff awards were presented to the following clinicians:

Dr. Jacob Luty receives a 2017 Professional Staff awardJacob Luty, M.D., house officer in internal medicine, received the award for clinical quality and systems-based care. As co-chair of the Housestaff Quality and Safety Council, Dr. Luty is a leader in resident-based quality improvement projects and encourages council members to apply their work toward improving systems at OHSU Hospital.

When it comes to professionalism at OHSU, this year's awardee was compared to a Buddha by nominators for her "wisdom, experience, knowledge and remarkable listening skills." Barb Bonnice, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.-B.C., is director of professional practice in nursing administration. She arrived at OHSU in 2010 with a vision to support nurses in enacting their professional standards set forth by the American Nurses Association and actualize their nursing scope of practice. She collaborated with nurses across the organization to create a nursing role description aligned with those professional standards.

Barb Bonnice receives a 2017 Professional Staff awardThe award for outstanding contribution to the missions of education and research in the clinical setting went to Erin Gilbert, M.D., M.C.R. '14, assistant professor of surgery, OHSU School of Medicine. Her nominators wrote: "Time and again, residents who have had the opportunity to work with her discuss how it was Dr. Gilbert who helped develop their confidence in the O.R. as junior residents and hone their clinical judgement on the wards."

Ann Wood, M.S., P.A.-C., instructor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, was recognized for improving the culture of service excellence at OHSU. Her nominator wrote: "She completes some of the most in-depth education conducted by providers, making complex medical concepts accessible and understandable, while spending significant time at the bedside with the patients. Whenever I am in the room when she does teaching and assessments I think: WOW! I learn so much about how to talk to patients from Ann."

"I'd like to congratulate the recipients of this year's Professional Staff awards. It's important to take time to recognize our colleagues, and I thank the nominators for so clearly articulating the exceptional effort of these honorees," said Renee Edwards, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the OHSU Professional Board and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, OHSU School of Medicine. "These awards are a clear reminder of the dedication and innovation OHSU clinicians put into their work each and every day."

Dr. Erin Gilbert receives a 2017 Professional Staff award PA Ann Wood receives a 2017 Professional Staff award

Pictured, top: Staff and providers of the Transgender Health Program with School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson (in white coat) include (left to right) Amy Penkin, Jess Guerriero, Dr. Kara Connelly, Dr. Paula Amato, Julia Lager-Mesulam, Dr. Daniel Dugi, Dr. Jens Berli, Dr. Christina Milano and Dr. Lishiana Shaffer. Not pictured: Drs. Carol Blenning and Juliana Hansen.

Pictured: Paul Flint, M.D., professor and chair of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, and immediate past chair, OHSU Professional Board, presents Professional Staff awards to: Dr. Jacob Luty (second from top); Barb Bonnice (middle); Dr. Erin Gilbert and Ann Wood (bottom, left to right).