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Dr. Vaidyanathan wins 2012 Cecil Award

Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, MD, is the winner of the 2012 Arthur B. Cecil, Jr., MD Award for Excellence in Healthcare Improvement. Dr. Vaidyanathan was chosen from among five nominees for her work in developing a palliative care program for Shore Health System. Palliative care is a coordinated approach of physical, emotional and spiritual care with the goal to relieve suffering for patients with advanced illnesses.

The Cecil Award for Excellence in Healthcare Improvement is named for Arthur B. Cecil, Jr., MD, a surgeon who practiced at Memorial Hospital from 1950 until 1988. The award was established to recognize Dr. Cecil’s commitment to using grand rounds to share the latest developments in the field of medicine.

“Physicians are lifelong learners and they want to share what they learn with their colleagues,” says Michael Tooke, MD, chief medical officer for Shore Health. “Today, the Cecil Award recognizes physician leaders for their contributions to educating and engaging physicians and other members of the healthcare team in quality improvement initiatives that continuously enhance the care available to our patients.”

Dr. Cecil’s son, Arthur Cecil, III, presented the award to Dr. Vaidyanathan on October 18 at a special ceremony at the Tidewater Inn in Easton. Mr. Cecil, who serves on the Shore Health Patient Quality and Safety Committee, says, “Tonight we pay tribute to everyone who provides patient care at Shore Health. This award is one of many ways that Shore Health recognizes the teams of people who are committed to caring for patients.”

Rosa Mateo, MD, and Paul Monte, MD, were finalists for the Cecil Award along with Dr. Vaidyanathan. Dr. Mateo, an infectious disease specialist, was cited for her role in eliminating healthcare associated infections through the Target Zero initiative. Dr. Monte, a specialist in hospital medicine, was cited for leading the venous thromboembolism risk assessment and prophylaxis initiative.

The other 2012 Cecil Award nominees were cardiologist Scott Friedman, MD, and pediatrician Elizabeth Wroth, MD.

An internal medicine specialist, Dr. Vaidyanathan serves as the medical director for Shore Home Care and Hospice. Certified by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine, she is a resource for patients and their families when they face the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of life-limiting and chronic illnesses.

Brian Childs, PhD, director of clinical ethics and spiritual care for Shore Health, nominated Dr. Vaidyanathan for the Cecil Award. He comments, “I applaud Lakshmi for her tireless and dedicated leadership in the creation and implementation of a comprehensive palliative care program. This program has had an impact on patients in need of a reduction in the distress that accompanies diagnoses such as end-stage dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary disease.”

Dr. Vaidyanathan comments, “I chose palliative care as a specialty because I want to do more than diagnose and treat medical conditions. I want to help patients understand their condition so that they can set goals and make good choices.”

Dr. Vaidyanathan adds, “Palliative care is more of the right kind of care; it is not less medical care. The program we have at Shore Health brings together physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains, who communicate among themselves and with patients and their family members to coordinate care.”

For more information about the Shore Health palliative care program, visit www.shorehealth.org/services/palliative/

Photo:Brian Childs, PhD, (left) director of clinical ethics and spiritual care for Shore Health, nominated Dr. Lakshmi Vaidyanathan for the 2012 Cecil Award to recognize her role in creating and implementing a palliative care program for Shore Health.

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