Awards Honor Exceptional Care, Innovation at Essential Hospitals

June 23, 2022

America's Essential Hospitals

America's Essential Hospitals recognizes work by member hospitals to improve population health, quality, and COVID-19 care.

Even with the challenges and heavy costs of COVID-19, our hospitals found ways to innovate, improve care, and target upstream factors that affect health”
— Kalpana Ramiah, DrPH, MSc
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, June 23, 2022 / -- America’s Essential Hospitals, whose more than 300 members care for low-income and other marginalized people, today recognized seven member hospitals for outstanding work to improve health care quality and population health and to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association announced the 2022 Gage Award recipients at a luncheon at its annual meeting, VITAL2022, in Boston.

“Even with the challenges and heavy costs of COVID-19, our hospitals found ways to innovate, improve care, and target upstream factors that affect health,” says Kalpana Ramiah, DrPH, MSc, America’s Essential Hospitals’ vice president of innovation and director of Essential Hospitals Institute, the association’s research and education arm.

This award recognizes activities to improve the quality of care or mitigate threats to patient safety.

Winner: Memorial Healthcare System, in Hollywood, Fla., for its work to replace traditional sternal precautions with a mindful movement program, Keep Your Move in the Tube, to reduce the need for post-acute care among open-heart surgery patients.

“We are honored to receive the Gage Award from America’s Essential Hospitals. This award is a testament to the dedication, compassion, and ingenuity of our rehab team,” says Peter Powers, CEO of Memorial Regional Hospital. “Because of their efforts, open-heart patients have greater freedom of movement and increased functional independence. This evidence-based practice can be adopted by any caregiver at no cost for the betterment of patients everywhere.”

Honorable Mention: Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), in San Francisco, for its Social Medicine program. ZSFG launched this program, in partnership with the University of California San Francisco, to meet patients’ psychosocial needs at the point of care while reducing non-acute emergency department visits and inpatient days.

“Our Social Medicine Team has provided ground-breaking, person-centered holistic care, involving our patients, staff, and the community,” says ZSFG CEO Susan Ehrlich, MD, MPP. “Winning this award is not only a huge honor for our organization but also a way for us to share what we have learned on our journey to advance equity and put patients at the center of all we do. We are honored by and grateful for this award.”

This award recognizes activities focused on social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, homelessness, language barriers, and other socioeconomic factors.

Winner: Harris Health System, in Houston, for developing a diabetes patient registry and community health worker home visit pilot program to work with disengaged patients with uncontrolled diabetes.

“Our Community Health Worker Home Visit Program epitomizes the critical work that happens beyond the walls of our facilities. Their work, led by our Population Health Department, ensured patients who struggled to manage their diabetes would not be abandoned during the pandemic,” says Harris Health President and CEO Esmaeil Porsa, MD. “These patients needed our help even more when access to primary care providers proved to be very difficult, and our staff rose to the challenge. This recognition not only validates but motivates us to continue our cross-sector approach to improve all our patients’ health and well-being.”

Winner: The MetroHealth System, in Cleveland, for its Institute for H.O.P.E. school health program to meet community needs for asthma management, well-child exams, immunizations, and other primary care and mental health screenings and services.

“The passionate caregivers in MetroHealth’s School Health Program have turned a great idea into something revolutionary,” says MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD. “They have expanded the traditional model of school-based care to address behavioral health, prevention, and the nonmedical factors that affect the health of our kids. The Gage Award is a tremendous honor for them and proof of the hope they provide to students every day.”

This award highlights innovative practices, projects, and programs related to the coronavirus pandemic. This temporary category captures creative solutions for the current or potential future pandemics within the hospital or in its community. Winners include:

— Harborview Medical Center, in Seattle, for its partnership with Public Health—Seattle & King County to improve access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination for low-income and minority populations, people with limited English proficiency, and people experiencing homelessness.

— University Medical Center of El Paso, in El Paso, Texas, for its work to administer 327,000 COVID-19 vaccines through a central hub site, four neighborhood health clinics, a mobile health clinic, and two county jail facilities. UMC also staffed Texas’ first binational COVID-19 vaccine effort between El Paso and its sister city, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

— University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston, Texas, for its work to help physicians and patients interpret test results for SARS-CoV-2, including with a compendium of expert interpretive commentary and a supporting application that applies these comments to tests and delivers them to physicians and patients.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has advanced policies and programs that promote health, health care access, and equity. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, education, and leadership development. Communities depend on essential hospitals for care across the continuum, health care workforce training, research, public health and health equity, and other services. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead all of health care toward better outcomes and value. Learn more at

Carl Graziano
America's Essential Hospitals
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