Blazing their own trail: Women make enormous impact at Michigan Medicine, beyond

March 25, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees, ,
Top L-R: Gifty Kwakye, M.D., M.P.H., Preeti Malani, M.D., Dana Habers. Bottom L-R: Tejal Gandhi, M.D., Rebecca Cherney, R.N., Sheria Robinson-Lane, Ph.D., R.N.

Over the past year, women across Michigan Medicine have stepped up to find new treatments, innovations and processes that make work more efficient and the organization better able to serve patients and families. Indeed, they are advancing health to serve Michigan and the world.

In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a look at just a few of the incredible women leaving their mark on patient care, education and research.

Leading the way in practical treatment of COVID-19              

Under normal circumstances, the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, a collaboration between the Division of Infectious Diseases, the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, the Department of Pharmacy Services, Infection Prevention and Clinical Microbiology, helps improve the health system’s use of antimicrobial therapies and optimize treatment of a wide range of infections.

The past year has been anything but normal. Still, the team — led by Tejal Gandhi, M.D. — has worked day and night to develop a set of critical treatment guidelines to improve care for COVID-19 patients at Michigan Medicine. 

The guidelines Gandhi and her team have developed have since been accessed online more than 30,000 times from clinicians in 150 different countries. Click here to learn more about their vital work.

Innovative tracheostomy care earns Cherney recognition

Rebecca Cherney, R.N., a staff nurse on 8D, developed TrachTrail™ — the first comprehensive, standardized adult tracheostomy care education program of its kind. The program focuses on combining nurse, patient and caregiver training with an emphasis on empathy for the patient and their families.

As part of the program, TrachTrail™ provides user-friendly multimedia content, emphasizing patient-centeredness and builds upon multi-disciplinary collaboration to ensure quality of life with a tracheostomy at home.

The program earned Cherney the prestigious 2021 American Nurses Association Individual Innovation Award powered by BD. The ANA Innovation Awards highlight, recognize and celebrate exemplary nurse-led innovation that improves patient safety and health outcomes. Find out more about the award here.

Keeping the university safe

Preeti Malani, M.D., serves as both a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the chief health officer for U-M. In that latter role, Malani has provided guidance to — and often presented findings alongside — President Mark Schlissel as they helped shape the plans for how the university responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19. This includes contributing to wellness and mental health resources for faculty, staff and learners.

Connecting caregivers

Sheria Robinson-Lane, Ph.D., R.N., is a nurse, educator, gerontologist and internationally-recognized expert on care for older adults with cognitive disabilities.

Robinson-Lane personally witnessed the challenges her mother faced when serving as a caregiver to her grandmothers, who both died of dementia.

With that in mind, and with input from community partners across Southeastern Michigan, Robinson-Lane created a new app, giving caregivers of people with dementia access to important resources. This app has reduced the need for in-person support groups and increased the amount of desired information available at a caregiver’s fingertips.

Taking the lead on vaccinations

While her “day job” consists of serving as the chief department administrator for radiology, Dana Habers has taken on a leading role as a member of the organization’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics Task Force.

The team has helped prioritize vaccinations at Michigan Medicine, distributing available supply to both employees and eligible community members.

Habers, meanwhile, has provided valuable input as a member of the task force, along with presenting its plans to the organization at a number of virtual town hall meetings and through other communication channels.  

In addition to Habers, other women have taken the lead on the vaccination effort at Michigan Medicine. For instance, Elly Samuels redeployed from her role as chief department administrator of otolaryngology to lead the COVID-19 Vaccine Coordination Office; Fiona Linn has marshaled population strategy for the vaccination team; and Amanda Sedlik has helped tackle the technical challenges with vaccinating the community.

Providing mentors across all stages of surgical training

Gifty Kwakye, M.D., M.P.H., and Mary Shen, M.D., a Year 3 resident, lead the Anastomosis Mentoring Program in the Department of Surgery. The program encourages camaraderie and engagement across all “generations” of surgical training by providing dedicated time to support necessary mentoring and coaching.

From mentorship meetings to quality assurance, the program’s aim is for all members of the department to get the support they need to succeed.

Learn more about the program by clicking here.

Do you know other women making an impact at Michigan Medicine? Give them a shout out in the comments below!

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