Health Care Heroes Honored at Business Journal Awards Breakfast
Phoenix Children's took center stage at the Business Journal's 2009 Health Care Heroes awards breakfast. President and CEO Bob Meyer was joined by finalists Janice Piatt, MD; Mitchell Shub, MD; Laurie Vasquez, RN; and Rich Dozer, donor and volunteer with the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation.
Dozer was named a Health Care Hero in the Philanthropy category which honors someone who has educated or informed the public about important health care issues and worked in ways that improve the overall quality of life in our community. Rich was recognized for his role as chairman of the capital campaign to renovate and expand the Hospital's Julie and Tim Louis Newborn Intensive Care Unit. The role – and this honor – hold deep personal meaning to Dozer.
"This award is very special to me because my daughter, Laura Grace, spent the first three months of her life in the NICU at Phoenix Children's," he explained. "But I think the nurses are the real heroes of the healthcare community; we still stay in touch with some of the nurses who cared for her, and for us." Born premature, Laura suffered from cerebral palsy and other medical complications. She passed away in April 2008 at age 9.
Dozer's emotional ties to Phoenix Children's and his connections in the business and professional sports communities helped raise $17 million for Phoenix Children's in 14 months, far surpassing the Hospital's original goals.
"Rich has played an important role in the expansion of Phoenix Children's," said Meyer. "His leadership on our capital campaign enabled us to provide state of the art care to newborns who need the highest level of medical attention, the best technology and the most nurturing environment."
Also honored at the awards breakfast were:
Dr. Janice Piatt in the Physician category
Dr. Piatt started her career as a general pediatrician at Phoenix Children's Hospital shortly after it was founded. Today, she is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS in children. Dr. Piatt opened Phoenix Children's Bill Holt Clinic in 1995 and since then has built the only comprehensive pediatric HIV clinic in Arizona. Today, she and her multidisciplinary staff help about 200 children living with HIV. Through her Rapid Testing Program, the Clinic is now helping to prevent infection in 98 percent of HIV-exposed newborns; if mothers receive the proper testing and treatment and Dr. Piatt's team can treat an exposed baby within hours of its birth, they can prevent the virus from ever setting in. For the patients who do become infected, Piatt is helping them live more normal, healthy lives.
Dr. Mitchell Shub in the Researcher/Innovator category
Dr. Shub is attending pediatric gastroenterologist and medical director of research for Phoenix Children's as well as associate head, University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics and a UA professor of clinical pediatrics. He was honored for his work and studies with MID (microvillous inclusion disease), which have made him a national expert on this rare disease that primarily affects the Navajo. His practice follows the largest group of children in the world with the disease. In MID patients the cells don’t reach the surface of the digestive cells so their intestines cannot process foods.
Under his care one of the patients with this rare disease is one of only two MID patients in the world that has recovered enough to eat real food.
Dr. Shub and his colleagues are responsible for defining the genetic aberration of this condition and published an article in 2008 describing the genetic mutation. Experts believe a small group of Navajo that fled the 1863 long walk to New Mexico settled on the western edge where a cluster of MID cases have been found.
Laurie Vasquez, RN in the Nursing category
Vasquez is administrative director of the newborn intensive care unit at Phoenix Children's, which cares for our tiniest patients both on the main campus and at the Julie and Tim Louis Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Banner Good Samaritan. She used her 20+ years experience caring for newborns to lead design efforts for a $31.7 million renovation and expansion of that NICU, which opened in April, 2008. Over a year's time, she led focus groups, created mock patient rooms and engaged staff to give feedback during the design process. Today, each room offers a private, womb-like environment that aids in healing and improved family services.
Vasquez has made a significant impact not only at PCH, but in hospitals across Arizona. Three years ago, Vasquez accepted a Board of Director position at the Arizona Perinatal Trust, a private-public partnership among hospitals and health care professionals throughout Arizona, committed to support an effective regionalized system that promotes access to high quality of care.
All four appear in the August 21 issue of the Business Journal. The cover story features several additional Phoenix Children's physicians who have donated their unique skills to serve children in other countries, including Dr. Leigh McGill, Dr. Lee Segal, Dr. David Beyda, and Dr. Isabelle Simoneau.
Read more about all of the 2009 Health Care Heroes.