March 09, 2010

NICHQ Celebrates Tenth Birthday; Honors Outstanding Healthcare Leaders with Individual and Program Awards

Uma R. Kotagal, MBBS, MSc of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, honored with the 2010 Bergman Award at Annual Forum for Improving Children’s Healthcare; outstanding faculty leader, family leader, childhood obesity program and healthcare program in conference host state also awarded

Boston, MA, March 19, 2010—Last week at the Annual Forum for Improving Children’s Healthcare and Childhood Obesity Congress, which brought together hundreds of healthcare professionals, the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) celebrated its tenth birthday and honored several outstanding healthcare leaders with individual and programmatic awards.

In recognition of NICHQ’s 10th anniversary, this year’s theme was 10 years and growing to highlight the advancements made in pediatric healthcare over the last ten years by NICHQ and the pediatric healthcare community. This year, the Childhood Obesity Congress was joined with the Annual Forum for Improving Children’s Healthcare to allow participants to maximize their conference experience. The Forum centered around five topics: patient safety, childhood obesity, chronic conditions, quality improvement - linked to advocacy, equity in care and finance, and health information technology.

With both events combined, the agenda included presentations by more than 120 faculty leaders from around the world. The Obesity Congress included more than 10 sessions on best practices in childhood obesity assessment, prevention and treatment. The Annual Forum offered more than 30 sessions with options geared toward a variety of healthcare professionals, including: hospital personnel, nurses, quality improvement professionals, community-based organizations staff, family leaders, health information technology professionals and pediatric residents. Sessions covered subject areas such as how to leverage health information technology, measure patient safety, examine ambulatory care and primary care/medical home redesign, address quality improvement in pediatric emergency settings, assess healthcare equality and design robust residency programs.

At the awards dinner on Wednesday evening, Uma R. Kotagal MBBS, MSc, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, was presented with the 2010 Bergman Award, which recognizes individuals whose work has substantially improved the quality of care for children in the United States. NICHQ also announced the winners of the Faculty Achievement Award, the Family Leader Achievement Award, Spotlight on Excellence Award and Outstanding Contribution to a Childhood Obesity Program Award at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, GA during the general conference opening keynote and award reception.

Dr. Kotagal, who is the first female recipient of NICHQ’s Bergman Award, was chosen to receive the award for her children’s healthcare quality work. As Director of the Health Policy and Clinical Effectiveness Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Kotagal oversees the development of disease management teams and establishment of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Dr. Kotagal is also a practicing neonatologist and was previously the director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at the University Hospital and at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has published widely in neonatal outcomes research, including the first landmark paper on early discharge programs in the NICU setting. In addition to her hospital administration and research background, Dr. Kotagal has also been a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health and a visiting professor at Tufts New England Medical Center.

The NICHQ Bergman Award is named in honor of David A. Bergman MD who serves as a NICHQ Board Member and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Bergman has been a longtime innovator in developing, testing and applying novel approaches to making the healthcare system more responsive to the needs of children and their families.

“Dr. Kotagal has worked tirelessly throughout her career to advance the quality and safety of healthcare for children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and nation-wide. We are very honored to recognize her for her hard work with the receipt of the Bergman Award,” said Charles Homer MD, MPH, President and CEO of NICHQ. “We also commend the winners of the Faculty Achievement Award, the Family Leader Achievement Award, Spotlight on Excellence Award and Outstanding Contribution to a Childhood Obesity Program Award. Together they have all had a significant effect on improving children’s healthcare quality. ”

NICHQ also awarded the Faculty Achievement Award, honoring outstanding commitment to improving children’s healthcare quality through teaching. The 2010 winner is Robert Dudley MD, Med, FAAP, a pediatrician at Community Health Center, Inc. in New Britain, CT. Dr. Dudley joined the Community Health Center as a National Public Health Scholar in the summer of 1996 after completing his residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has been involved in the New Britain community as the district’s school medical advisor and with the state AAP School Health Committee. Dr. Dudley has been actively involved in obesity research for the past two years, with presentations of Healthy Tomorrows data at the Future of Pediatrics Conference and NICHQ’s 2009 Annual Forum. Dr. Dudley also serves as an assistant clinical professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Reflecting NICHQ’s longstanding commitment to the engagement of families in the leading quality improvement, the Family Leader Achievement Award honored a family leader working with NICHQ to provide perspective and suggestions for accommodating family involvement in the healthcare system.

The 2010 winner of the Family Leader Achievement Award is Diana Autin, Executive Co-Director of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey (SPAN), who has helped reduce health disparities for children with special healthcare needs and aided underserved communities with education, advocacy, leadership development and support. In her 15 year tenure at SPAN, Autin has expanded the organization’s mission and activities; moved the organization to an underserved community in Newark, NJ and opened additional offices in other low-income neighborhoods; secured grants to house parents of children with special healthcare needs and grown the staff from 15 to 60 people. Autin’s leadership has inspired parents to be advocates and become involved in public policy campaigns in New Jersey relating to children with disabilities and special healthcare needs.

This year, NICHQ also recognized two healthcare programs with the Spotlight on Excellence Award and the Outstanding Contribution to a Childhood Obesity Program Award.

The Spotlight on Excellence Award recognized a program in the host state of the Annual Forum that has impacted development and/or delivery of a health system that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable for all patients and populations, particularly children. The 2010 award recognized the Georgia Free Clinic Network, led by Executive Director Donna Looper. The mission of the Georgia Free Clinic Network is to provide a collaborative support system to foster growth and development of charitable clinics and improve access to quality healthcare for the medically underserved across the state. There are more than 100 independent, non-profit clinics across Georgia participating in the Georgia Free Clinic Network to serve more than 1.7 million uninsured residents. Laura Layne, Director of Health Services of the Good Samaritan Health Center accepted the award on behalf of the Georgia Free Clinic Network.

The Outstanding Contribution to a Childhood Obesity Program Award honored a program that has impacted childhood obesity in the population through clinic and/or community interventions by advancing partnerships between clinicians, other professionals and lay participants, including the community and families. The 2010 award recognized Success through Exercise, Physical Fitness and Sharing Information (STEPS) for Kids, led by Director Shelley Cohen. STEPS for Kids is a health intervention program to assist families in the fight against childhood obesity and a community collaboration of South Jersey Healthcare, the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA and Vineland Public Schools. Through interactive educational sessions on nutrition and exercise, families learn how to implement and sustain necessary lifestyle changes to benefit their children's health. Debbie Erlandson, the Childhood Obesity Coordinator for STEPS accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

The Annual Forum also featured keynote presentations from David L. Katz MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Director and Founder of Yale University's Prevention Research Center; Daniel Salinas MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; Pat Hagan MHSA, President and COO, Seattle Children’s Hospital; Rear Admiral Clara H. Cobb, RN, MSN, FNP, Assistant Surgeon General, Regional Health Administrator for Region IV; Lisa Simpson MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, Director, Child Policy Research Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; and Charles J. Homer MD, MPH, president and chief executive officer, NICHQ.

The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) was founded in 1999 with start-up funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation—as a program of the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the nation’s premier organization working to improve the quality of healthcare in the US and around the world. Led since its founding by Dr. Charles Homer, NICHQ incorporated as an independent not-for-profit organization in July 2002. NICHQ has grown to a 20-person team and members collaborate with hundreds of physicians and faculty leaders across the nation.

Since its inception, NICHQ has been effective in both raising awareness about the potential for dramatic improvement in children’s healthcare and helping change actual system performance. In the past 10 years, NICHQ has reached thousands of pediatric and family practices and worked with city, state, and federal leaders to improve the quality of care for millions of children across a broad spectrum of geographic and socioeconomic boundaries.

For additional information on NICHQ, the Forum or the awards, contact or 617.391.2700.

Founded in 1999, the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) is an independent, action-oriented organization dedicated to achieving a world in which all children receive the high quality healthcare they need. Led by experienced pediatric healthcare professionals, NICHQ’s mission is to improve children’s health by improving the systems responsible for the delivery of children’s healthcare. For more information, visit