The College of Medicine (COM) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) announced the recipients of its first annual Clinical Excellence Awards for faculty physicians on Dec. 10.
The awards honor seven individuals in six categories, including the 2019 Physician of the Year, Ashley Ross, M.D., an associate professor and chief of the Neonatology Section in the Department of Pediatrics.
Ross has led the largest section in the Department of Pediatrics since 2017. The section includes 25 neonatologists, 10 general pediatricians, 17 neonatal nurse practitioners and research and administrative staff. Ross and his colleagues provide clinical care at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH).
A faculty member since 2006, Ross served as co-medical director of the UAMS Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) from 2009 to 2015. He was appointed medical director of the NICU at ACH in 2013. Ross directed the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship from 2008 to 2015, and he continues to serve as associate director.
“In these and numerous other roles, Dr. Ross has strived to ensure world-class care for the most complex infants; outstanding education for COM medical students, residents and fellows; and an excellent professional environment for his colleagues,” the announcement from leaders including UAMS Executive Vice Chancellor and COM Dean Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., said.
Joining Westfall in the announcement to COM faculty were Erick Messias, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., associate dean for faculty affairs, and Richard H. Turnage, M.D., executive associate dean for clinical affairs. Physicians were nominated for the awards by other faculty leaders and peers. A committee of representatives of the college, UAMS’ integrated clinical enterprise, ACH and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System selected the winners.
“Your world-class clinical care benefits, first, the patients and families who come to us seeking care, comfort and expertise,” Westfall, Messias and Turnage said to faculty physicians in the announcement. “Your impact is multiplied as our students, residents and fellows learn by observing clinical excellence in action. In short, this work is fundamental to the sustainability of UAMS and all of our mission areas.”
The 2019 Clinical Excellence Award recipients, along with excerpts from their nomination letters, are:
Physician of the Year
Ashley Ross, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Section
“Dr. Ross is an excellent physician with outstanding contributions to the care of children, specifically neonatal patients, in the state of Arkansas.”
“One of his biggest contributions is the past year has been his [ongoing] participation in the development of the ACH Nursery Alliance. This is a statewide effort to reduce infant mortality in the state of Arkansas by improving quality of care in NICUs and nurseries … Dr. Ross was crucial in the design of this Alliance and development of the benchmarks to follow and how to share the best practices.”
Excellence in Service and Professionalism
Carly Eastin, M.D.
Associate Professor, departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics
“Where Dr. Eastin truly shines … is in her ability and willingness to identify issues, develop solutions, and cultivate consensus in ways that improve and advance our department. She has had an integral role in multiple initiatives to improve the care of patients with psychiatric emergencies, and spearheaded a successful multidisciplinary effort to improve our readiness to care for critically ill children in our ED.”
“Dr. Eastin has been a steadfast advocate for physician wellness, serving as a mentor to our resident wellness committee for several years.”
Excellence in Quality and Safety
Jennifer Laudadio, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology
“Dr. Laudadio embodies the criteria for this award: championing best practices and standards for the clinical laboratory, demonstrating exemplary performance on recognized clinical outcome measures and exceptional results on accreditation surveys, and educating and implementing tools and processes to improve patient experience.”
“Dr. Laudadio’s commitment to quality and safety is second to none. Not only does she dig deeply into issues and concerns, but she does not rest until she arrives at a true root cause and a robust action plan.”
Best Consulting Physician
Nithin Karakala, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology
“Dr. Karakala is the go-to-person for multiple ‘curbside’ renal consults – each of which is addressed in detail, without making the [requesting clinician] feel small in any way. He is the go-to also for urgent service cover needed, faculty support for last minute classes, resident teaching efforts, mentoring and supporting fellows despite significant research and clinical responsibilities.”
“Dr. Karakala has amply demonstrated his abilities as an expert clinician, compassionate human being and most importantly, worthy of being Best Consulting Clinician at UAMS with his dedication, sincerity, empathy and ability to go above and beyond the routine norms of patient care, always keeping the best outcomes of his patients as his core philosophy.”
Clinical Collaborations and Teamwork
Michael Wilson, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, departments of Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry
“Dr. Wilson has been a leader in the care of patients with psychiatric emergencies since arriving at UAMS. His work is, by its nature, collaborative and teamwork-oriented, and in these areas he excels.”
“Dr. Wilson spearheaded the creation of the multidisciplinary ED-Psych Working Group … [which] has been responsible for several initiatives that have improved the efficacy, efficiency and safety of the care provided to patients with mental health needs. … Dr. Wilson has also been a local champion for bringing the most up-to-date Emergency Department care to patients with opiate use disorder.”
Rising Stars Clinical Faculty (two honorees)
Mary Katherine “Katie” Kimbrough, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Critical Care
“Dr. Kimbrough has accomplished an astonishing amount in her time at UAMS, much to the benefit of her patients, medical students, residents, and fellow attending surgeons. She is an incredible asset to UAMS.”
“Dr. Kimbrough created an ACGME-Accredited Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at UAMS. This is the first of its kind in the State of Arkansas and brings an important service to this state given the dearth of Critical Care-boarded surgeons in Arkansas.”
André Wineland, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology
“Dr. Wineland has been with us for only two years and his achievement is nothing short of remarkable as true ‘triple threat’ faculty.”
“From a clinical standpoint he has been excellent. In this short time, he has initiated and organized two new multi-disciplinary clinics, Aero-Digestive and Dysphagia/FEES and is working on establishing Chronic Trach/Vent clinic and Refractory sleep apnea clinic.”