Team members, advisors recognized for ‘amplifying the voices of patients and families’

December 13, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Approximately a 5-minute read

Key takeaways:

  • Faculty, staff and advisors were recently honored with HOPE and JOY awards for elevating the patient experience.
  • This is the 13th year the awards have been given out at Michigan Medicine.
  • Also presented were the Unsung Hero Awards, which recognize staff who work behind the scenes to support the patients and families at Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. 

Last week the Office of Patient Experience celebrated the 13th annual HOPE and JOY awards. This award recognizes faculty, staff, patients and families who go over and beyond to elevate the patient experience.

Individuals and teams from the Adult, Children’s, Women’s and Psychiatric services are nominated by their colleagues for their outstanding work in patient- and family-centered care.

“It is an honor to recognize all of your efforts to improve the experience for our patients and families, whether you’re a nominee, finalist or winner,” said Keith Gran, chief patient experience officer, to welcome the nominees and attendees to the virtual awards ceremony. “Your work is valued and appreciated by your colleagues, and it matters in the lives of our patients.”

Congratulations to the following winners, who were recognized with HOPE and JOY awards last week!

Aunita Erskine, revenue cycle

Erskine is a member of the revenue cycle team at Michigan Medicine. More specifically, she is a part of the children’s special health care enrollment team. Children’s special health care is a supplementary insurance that’s available to patients with special health care needs. Erskine’s vast knowledge is an immeasurable resource to social workers, physicians and medical professionals.

Jessica Turnier, M.D., pediatric rheumatology

Turnier has been called a force of good energy. In addition to her clinical responsibilities in pediatric rheumatology, she started a patient and family centered council (PFAC) for Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM). She is also creating a statewide outreach group of clinicians and patients/families to grow the group of affected families, as JDM is a rare disease. Finally, she is writing for funding to improve patient/family engagement in JDM management and is looking to create a peer support program in the near future. Turnier is the embodiment of the HOPE award, as she is changing the culture and services of JDM care at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to patient- and family-centered JDM care.

Weight Navigation Program

The Weight Navigation Program has anchored its efforts around two key patient- and family-centered care themes: providing dignified and respectful care and remaining flexible to the unique needs of patients and families. Obesity affects approximately 70 million Americans. It is a very complex metabolic disease that occurs because of both genetic makeup and environmental forces.

Led by Andrew Kraftson, M.D., and Dina Griauzde, M.D., with the Caswell Diabetes Institute, the Weight Navigation Program utilizes data to define the efficacy of each constituent program for patients with specific parameters and determine gaps in weight loss programs. The program conducts continuous improvement work and identifies best practices for long-term weight management utilizing the latest research and clinical strategies. And it does so with patients and families at the center of the program. The program also is designed to reduce the stigma associated with weight management.

Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis team

With Samya Nasr, M.B., B.C.H., at the helm, the Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis (CF) team has been engaging patients and families both at the point of care and at the department level for many years. They are doing strong work to create positive staff experiences, which is a foundational building block when creating strong patient and family experiences. Their PFAC has been active for 15 years and it continues to be high functioning and highly productive. Patient/family advisors also participate at department meetings/workgroups, attend national conferences, serve as peer support, and serve as members of national CF boards and more.

The team has invested in and implemented a two-day training for all staff to improve patient/family and staff rapport through improved listening skills as well as compassionate communication interactions. They have a very successful CF Rises program that helps to successfully transfer care from pediatric service to the adult service. This impressive program identifies the unique needs of each patient and their family to ensure effective education so that each patient/family may actively and effectively participate in their health care, reducing the likelihood of “falling through the cracks” during this critical transition. It is a model of patient engagement and activation that should be emulated in other peds-to-adult transition programs.

JOY Award

The JOY Award is given to patient and family advisors who volunteer their time and share their experiences to ensure the patient perspective is included in all aspects of health care.

This year’s winner is Chris Mosley. Mosley has been an OPE advisor since 2017 on the Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s (FCVC) Patient Family Staff Advisory Council. He has participated as part of the FCVC DEI Committee, the FCVC Careers in ?Cardiovascular Medicine Summer Program, a patient experience video and a U-M Medical School speaking panel.

“Chris has contributed significantly to improving care delivery and patient experience in partnership with the FCVC faculty and staff,” said Bethany Lee-Lehner, FCVC PFAC co-char. “This award is a perfect opportunity to honor his boundless commitment to amplifying the voices of patients and families.” 

Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentor Award

The Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentor award recognizes a peer mentor who shares the experience and supports a patient or family mentor who is going through a similar health care journey.

This year’s Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentor Award was given to Marcia Kramer. Kramer is kidney transplant peer mentor.

“Marcia provides a calming presence as a living donor peer mentor. She shares her experience to potential kidney patients, potential living donors and to medical students and house officers during their transplant rotation,” said Stacy Brand, transplant outreach manager and Colleen Satarino, social worker, while presenting the award.

Also recognized during this year’s ceremony were the Unsung Hero Awards, which recognize staff who work behind the scenes to support the patients and families at Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. 

  • Edwin Griffin, maintenance manager
  • Brad Hilton, pharmacy technician supervisor
  • Xchoinquel Hunt, guest services specialist
  • Theresa Nemetz, pediatric resident assistant
  • Stephanie Yates, interim guest services manager

Congratulations to all the nominees, finalists and winners! Thank you for your daily dedication to improving the experience of patients and families at Michigan Medicine.