Three individuals and one division at BWH were named 2013 Champions in Healthcare by the Boston Business Journal, an annual award that honors the leading professionals in Massachusetts’ stellar healthcare industry. The awards will be announced Aug. 16 in the print edition of the BBJ.
The four awardees and the categories in which they were recognized are: Betsy Nabel, MD, “Administrator”; Manuel Guillermo Herrera-Acena, MD, “lifetime achievement”; Omid Farokhzad, MD, “innovator”; and the Division of Sleep Medicine, “physician practice group.”
Congratulations to our BWH winners for their commitment to excellence and service to others.
Below are highlights from each of their nominations:
Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, F.R.C.P., Susan Redline,
MD, MPH, Stuart Quan, MD
Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, F.R.C.P., Susan Redline,
When it comes to health care reform, Massachusetts is ahead of the rest of the country. Academic medical centers in this state face significant challenges with patient populations, payment reforms, and cost containment. Nabel has proactively tackled these challenges, defining a new model of medicine aimed at achieving greater health equity, quality and value by expanding population-based care, reducing costs, and fostering innovation in translational research. Through her efforts, Brigham and Women’s Hospital has emerged as a model for academic medical centers across the country.
Under Nabel’s leadership, BWH formed seven Innovation Units to test new models of inpatient care to quickly determine which changes work. One innovation is a nurse care facilitator who works with patients across the continuum and serves as a consistent voice in communication between patients, families, and the hospital team. Innovation Unit efforts are emerging as best practices, with patients reporting improved pain management and decreased length of stay.
Nabel also stewarded the development of the Care Management Program at BWH, which provides enhanced primary care for patients with chronic medical conditions. These patients frequently don’t see improved outcomes despite their high health expenditures. A multidisciplinary team provides care for these complex patients and helps them overcome barriers to care, including arranging transportation and healthy meals. This has reduced inpatient costs by 19 percent, while also reducing costs for patients and improving quality of care.
The biggest challenge facing health care in Massachusetts today is cost containment. Nabel strongly believes that care at academic medical centers should be accessible for all, and the cost of care must be reduced to make this a reality. Nabel has reduced the hospital’s expense base by $160 million over three years, and convened a cross-functional committee tasked with making care more affordable without compromising quality. Scrutinizing costs throughout the organization resulted in tremendous savings. For example, standardizing spine implant devices saved $4.3 million over three years.
While working to lower costs, Nabel remains dedicated to investing in the future through research. She is a fervent proponent for the emerging field of translational research, driving innovations from laboratories quickly to clinics and the bedside. The cornerstone of her vision is the first-of-its kind Brigham Building for the Future that will blend research space with patient care areas, so scientists and clinicians collaborate to bring new therapies to patients. Given the current economic climate, her commitment to moving forward on this facility shows her true passion for shaping the future.
This June, Nabel announced BWH was a founding member of the new Global Alliance, joining nearly 70 leading health care, research, and disease advocacy organizations in more than 40 countries to build a common framework for sharing of genomic and clinical data. This alliance will allow BWH to conduct genetic research with the goal of uncovering new breakthroughs that ultimately improve lives for patients in Boston and around the world.
For 55 years, Dr. Manuel Guillermo Herrera-Acena has dedicated his life to making it easier for Latinos to get access to quality medical care in Boston and around the world.
Dr. Herrera-Acena emigrated from Guatemala and graduated with a medical degree from Harvard in 1957. In the late 1960s, he became acutely aware that Latinos in the Boston-area were having problems accessing health care. There were social, cultural and linguistic barriers. So he went to the president of what was then the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital with a proposal. And in 1971, he founded the Spanish Clinic, which still exists at BWH today.
In the Spanish clinic, the staff speaks Spanish at all times in order to make the patients feel as comfortable as possible. Also, the clinic is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. to ensure that patients do not have to choose between missing work (and often not getting paid) and going to the doctor. Today, the clinic is thriving with nearly 3,000 Spanish-speaking patients. And Dr. Herrera-Acena is still practicing, personally delivering care to his patients. In fact, one of his passions is to improve the nutrition of Latinos, and he actively encourages all the patients at the clinic to eat healthier; as part of this effort, he also continues to lead weekly support groups for diabetics.
In the beginning of his career, Dr. Herrera-Acena also understood that Spanish-speaking doctors were needed in order to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. So in 1972, he co-founded an intensive Spanish immersion program for fourth-year students at Harvard Medical School. The course lasts just one month, and students attend class all day, every day. After a month, they are fluent enough to begin conversing in Spanish with patients about their medical conditions in Spanish.
When the course is complete, the students practice their skills by working in the Spanish Clinic alongside Dr. Herrera-Acena. Then the students complete a two-month rotation at a hospital in Latin America. This gives them a full understanding of the social and cultural practices of Latinos. In the past 30 years, nearly 1,000 doctors have gone through Dr. Herrera-Acena’s Spanish immersion program. Some have decided to remain in Latin America after their rotations and have made a career caring for an underserved population in the country of their choice. Many others have returned to Boston and are currently serving our local Boston-area Spanish-speaking population.
Dr. Omid Farokhzad is internationally known for his work developing a variety of nanotechnologies for cancer therapy. He is the Director of Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School.
Farokhzad has authored approximately 95 publications and is an inventor of more than 125 US and International patents/patent applications. These technologies have formed the foundation for the launch of three biotechnology companies: BIND Therapeutics, founded in 2006, is developing BIND-014 and other targeted nanoparticles referred to as Accurins; Selecta Biosciences, founded in 2008, is developing SEL-068 and other targeted Synthetic Vaccine Particles (tSVP) as immune modulating therapeutics; and Blend Therapeutics, founded in 2011, is developing the integrative combination therapeutic products for cancer therapy. These companies have raised $210 million, employ 120 scientists in Massachusetts and Moscow, brought two 1st-in-class drugs (SEL-068 and BIND-014) into human clinical trials, and formed partnerships with Sanofi-Aventis, Amgen, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca.
Farokhzad’s impact in improving patient health is both profound and measurable. Over the past decade, Farokhzad has iteratively developed targeted nanoparticles with molecular homing molecules that today represent a new class of targeted therapeutics for many human diseases. Farokhzad and colleagues developed targeted particles and demonstrated their specific binding, uptake, and efficacy in animal models of cancer. Forbes selected this work as one of the Top 5 nanotechnology breakthroughs of 2006. Popular Science featured the work on its cover.
The most advanced targeted nanoparticle based on Farokhzad’s foundational technologies is BIND-014, which is for treatment of solid tumors. The Phase I clinical trial of BIND-014 was successfully completed by BIND Therapeutics, which demonstrated a clear evidence of anti-tumor activity forming the basis for the recent initiation of Phase II clinical trials in metastatic prostate and lung cancers. More recently similar targeted nanoparticles have been developed for the treatment of a myriad of other diseases, including cardiovascular and inflammatory conditions, enabling an entirely new era of personalized medicine and a potential paradigm shift in the treatment of these diseases.
In March 2001, the Division of Sleep Medicine was established at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to forge a path of discovery in sleep medicine through research while providing the highest standard of clinical care for patients with sleep disorders and training the next generation of leaders in sleep medicine. BWH has an internationally recognized program of both advanced clinical care and patient-oriented research on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders, co-directed by Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, clinical director Stuart F. Quan, MD, and associate clinical director Susan Redline, MD, MPH.
Research has linked a lack of sleep to everything from higher rates of motor vehicle crashes and heart attack to obesity, diabetes and memory and learning troubles. Insufficient sleep is also associated with behavior problems in schoolchildren, and medical mistakes by doctors and nurses. Recent statistics show that thirty percent of adults and 70 percent of teenagers aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep.
And while the answers to why we sleep and what happens to us when we do remains a mystery, physicians in the Division of Sleep Medicine at BWH have made a number of discoveries that are shedding some light on these questions.
These findings include advances concerning sleep-wake cycles, from determining that the average intrinsic sleep cycle is just a few minutes over 24 hours, to understanding how to use light to reset the body clock, to the discovery of a light-detection system that bypasses the eye’s visual system and synchronizes the body clock with day and night.
Dr. Czeisler has shown through research that the historic way to train young doctors by mandating that they work 24-hour-plus shifts impairs their judgment, puts patients at risk of serious medical errors and puts the doctors at risk when driving home. These findings have driven dramatic changes in resident work hour requirements.
Researchers have also demonstrated that a lack of sleep raises levels of a hormone that increases hunger and a stress hormone that has been linked to weight gain. It has also been shown to lower levels of a hormone that reduces appetite.
Additionally, physicians led by Dr. Susan Redline have tallied the impact of lack of sleep on the American workforce, calculating a price tag of $63.2 billion each year on lost productivity.
Perhaps the biggest influence BWH’s Division of Sleep Medicine has on the health of the population is their tireless quest to convince Americans that sleep is a key part of a healthy life. Dr. Czeisler and his colleagues in the Division of Sleep Medicine want everyone to know that sleep, along with diet and exercise, truly is the third pillar of health.
This page was last modified on 8/2/2013