Humanitarian Awards

Every year the Patient Safety Movement Foundation identifies the most influential advocates in patient safety and honors them with the Humanitarian Award at the annual World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit. This award recognizes leaders who have made significant progress in eliminating preventable patient harm and death so that we can reach our shared goal of zero preventable patient harm and deaths in the hospital.

2021 Humanitarian Award Winners

Joe Kiani Humanitarian Award: President Bill Clinton

42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, has been a long-standing supporter of patient safety. During his time in office, he was committed to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans. He received the first-ever Joe Kiani award for his continued support of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation and its goal to reach zero preventable medical deaths by 2030.

Beau Biden Award: Javier Davila, OMFS

PSMF ambassador in Mexico, former medical director at the Mexican Social Security Institute and head of medical education, research and health public policy, Javier Davilla, was recognized with the Beau Biden award for his passion for public service and improving patient safety for others. Since joining PSMF, he has focused on promoting the culture of safety in Mexico and has helped build affiliations with many prestigious public and private hospitals, as well as establish relationships with numerous organizations to help further the mission.

Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award: Jannicke Mellin-Olson, MD, DPH

Jannicke’s passion for patient safety started during her residency at Trondheim University Hospital in Norway, where she worked on a number of patient safety initiatives. She received the Steven Moreau award for her continued efforts to spread the mission to stakeholders across Europe, as well as in her current clinical post at Baerum Hospital in Oslo, Norway.

2020 Humanitarian Award Winners

Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award: Barbara Pelletreau, RN, MPH

Each year we present the Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award to a Hospital Administrator whose zeal for improving patient safety in their hospital is clearly prominent. Steven Moreau was the CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital here in Orange, California and a board member of the PSMF. Sadly, Steve passed in 2017 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. This award was established in his name because he embodied all the qualities of a leader that prioritized patient safety. He did so after realizing that his hospital had room to improve and then truly took ownership of that improvement process with his senior leadership team and Board of Directors.

Michael Seres Humanitarian Award: Marty Hatlie, JD and Vonda Vaden Bates 

This award is newly established this year and named after an extraordinary man who passed away on May 30, 2020. He was an extraordinary patient advocate who from a young age, had to learn to advocate for himself due to his complicated medical needs. Through his experience as a life-long patient, he also worked furiously to help promote the importance of person and family engagement. From this year on we will recognize an individual who, in the last year, contributed to advance person and family engagement, public awareness and public engagement in patient safety.

Judie Burrows Humanitarian Award: Steve Burrows

We have established the Judie Burrows Humanitarian Award to acknowledge an individual who has told a story of preventable harm or death that has made a significant impact in the public sphere in the last year.

2019 Humanitarian Award Winners

Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to give these awards out. We will roll them over to the 2020 awards.2018 Humanitarian Award Winners

Beau Biden Humanitarian Award Winner: Julianne Morath, RN, MS

Normally we give the Beau Biden Humanitarian Award to a government official but this year none made the cut. This year we are honored to present this award to someone who has helped spread transparency across an entire state. California’s Hospital Quality Institute (HQI) and California Hospital Association (CHA) have worked hard, under Julie’s leadership, to encourage voluntary reporting on 5 hospital-acquired conditions – CLABSI, SSIs, Sepsis, VTE, and maternal safety. Since February 2018 when Julie got up on stage in London to announce this initiative, 92% of California Hospitals are engaged and 55% of them are publicly displaying this dashboard on their website. This is amazing progress. The Patient Safety Movement honors Julie her dedication and determination to do the right thing. We hope that other leaders who have a similar role to Julie’s in other states think about whether they can make this happen. It’s models like this that we hope are replicated across the other 49 states.

Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award Winner: William C. Wilson, MD, MA

Each year we present the Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award to a Hospital Administrator who whose zeal for improving patient safety in their hospital is clearly prominent. We are honoring Dr. Wilson for his steadfast dedication to ensuring that UCI Health implements every process identified by the PSMF as a priority facing hospitals. Under Dr. Wilson’s leadership, UCI Health in Orange, California became the first academic medical center to obtain a 5-Star under the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s 5-Star Hospital Ranking Program in November 2018. In 2018 their commitments saved 16 lives. Dr. Wilson has worked tremendously to fully engage UCI Health’s clinical staff in creating a culture of safety for their patients and families. With the Patient Safety Movement Foundation being one of their major pillars of work to improve culture of safety, I am proud to award Dr. Wilson with our Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award today.

Humanitarian Award Winner: Tore Laerdal, MSc

Under Tore’s leadership, Laerdal Global joined the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s (PSMF) network in 2017. Every year since, Tore has shared Laerdal Global’s progress implementing simulation-based training to advance patient safety across over 80 countries, in both high-income countries (HIC) and low-income countries (LIC). We’ve seen Tore’s passion expand as Laerdal Global has partnered with other organization such as the American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US National League of Nursing, British Heart Foundation to work on solutions to address neonatal safety, airway safety, optimal resuscitation, maternal care and feeding tube placement – all issues important to the PSMF. In 2018 alone, through Laerdal Global’s partnerships across the world they saved 30,500 lives.

2017 Humanitarian Award Winners

Beau Biden Humanitarian Award Winner: Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

Secretary Hunt championed a bill which for the first time, established a fully independent investigations body that seeks to find answers in the event of a medical error instead of laying blame. His passion for patients and their families did not stop at the border of UK. Secretary Hunt created the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety, where he invited all of his colleagues from around the world to learn and act, to fix the patient safety problems that are causing over 3,000,000 preventable deaths a year around the world. The third Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety will be held in Tokyo in middle of this April. On day one of the 2018 Summit, Secretary Hunt announced groundbreaking new measures to improve patient safety in the NHS which are projected to save 22,000 lives annually in the UK.

Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award Winner: Edwin Loftin, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, FACHE 

Edwin first became involved with the Patient Safety Movement in 2016, and when he did, he and Parrish Medical Center, joined with great enthusiasm. At the time, Parrish made so many commitments to implement processes that were proven to reduce medical error that our staff believed it was an error. However, when we spoke with Edwin, his response was “why wouldn’t we make all these commitments.” Known for cultivating person and family-centered care in hospitals, Edwin led Parrish Medical Center’s efforts to become the first in the nation to implement all APSS. This year, Parrish Medical Center became the first hospital in the world to receive the five-star hospital rating from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, due to their commitment to patient safety by implementing all of the PSMF processes known to prevent medical errors from becoming fatal.

2016 Humanitarian Award Winners

Dr. Patrick H. Conway, MD, MSc

As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Conway oversees vital programs that serve the more than 130 million Americans who receive health care services through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. He and his team work to improve quality, affordability, access, and health outcomes. In 2014, Dr. Conway was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Dr. Conway, in receiving the award said, “I am honored and humbled to receive the patient safety movement humanitarian award.  I look forward to continuing to help improve patient safety across the nation.”

Dr. Dave Mayer, MD 

Dr. Mayer is Vice President of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in the mid-Atlantic region. He oversees the infrastructure for clinical quality and its operational efficiency and designs, and directs system-wide activity for patient safety and risk-reduction programs. Under Mayer, MedStar has been at the vanguard of embracing transparency in communications with patients and families when something goes wrong in treatment. Recently, MedStar worked with the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop and pilot a toolkit for their Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) program. In receiving the award, Dr. Mayer said, “It’s an amazing honor to be recognized by Joe Kiani and the Patient Safety Movement, to be honored with other recipients who have worked so hard to reduce medical harm.  I am humbled to be included with such a wonderful group.”

Annamarie Saarinen

Ms. Saarinen is the CEO of the Newborn Foundation. She has been recognized by the Patient Safety Movement for spearheading the national effort to ensure all newborns are screened for the most prevalent birth defect, critical congenital heart disease (CCHD), which afflicts one in every 100 newborns. The Newborn Foundation is the first national organization focused on leveraging health, medtech, and biotechnology to improve outcomes and reduce disparities specifically for newborns. Through her work, 99% of babies are now screened for CCHD in the US every year. In receiving the award, Ms. Saarinen noted, “I am surprised and humbled to receive the Humanitarian award from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation. I am grateful for the work Dr. Granelli has done in heart disease which has created a strong platform for the Newborn Foundation to help improve and save the lives of babies. It has been an incredible opportunity to work with the Patient Safety Movement and the other advocates toward this end.”

Dr. Anne de-Wahl Granelli, PhD, MBA

Dr. Granelli has spent the last decade researching CCHD screening and it is because of her work that organizations like Annamarie Saarinen’s, the Newborn Foundation, have been able to successfully create policies across the US and the world to ensure that babies don’t leave the hospital without being screened. Dr. Granelli received the award in conjunction with Annamarie to show the great work that has been accomplished in 2016 through continued research. Dr. Granelli said, “I am so honored to be a recipient of the Humanitarian award. It is truly amazing. It has also been a privilege to work with Annamarie Saarinen, and to have such an impact on the lives of babies with critical congenital heart disease.”

2015 Humanitarian Award Winners

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Barbara Boxer is a forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment and her State of California. She is a strong proponent of life-saving medical research and wrote bipartisan legislation to accelerate America’s contribution to combat global HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Since becoming aware of the number of preventable deaths in the US, Senator Boxer has been a strong champion of patient safety.  In 2014, Senator Boxer wrote to 283 California acute care hospitals asking them to respond with the actions they are taking to reduce the most common medical errors, leading to the first publication of this report in April of 2014. Senator Boxer visited multiple hospitals in California to bring attention to patient safety and the work that must be done to eliminate preventable deaths.  To date, more than 90% of hospitals have responded to her inquiry and Senator Boxer continues to champion zero preventable deaths in hospitals.

Alicia Cole

Alicia Cole is a survivor of multiple Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs). She is an incredible patient advocate who shares her story with healthcare professionals, legislators and medical students across the country. Alicia collaborates regularly with numerous patient safety organizations including the Patient Safety Movement Foundation to help eliminate harm from preventable hospital acquired infections.  She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients (ASAP), an organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of the epidemic of hospital acquired infections, mentoring new patient advocates and counseling with other Survivors of Necrotizing Fasciitis and other medical harm.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were honored for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts (ACA).  Not only has their work allowed more people to have access to healthcare, but through the new payment incentives, over 50,000 lives have been saved.

Prof. Kai Zacharowski

Professor Kai D. Zacharowski, MD, PhD, FRCA holds the position of the Ordinarius and is the Director of the Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Therapy at the University Hospital Frankfurt. His latest hypothesis and research on blood management which was presented for the first time at the World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit, promises to save countless lives, and reduce costs.  The innovative model to reduce pre-opertive anemia is focused on three core concepts: identifying patients at risk for needing transfusion, increasing their hemoglobin level before surgery, minimizing the risk of hitting levels that require blood transfusions. He also released the findings of this groundbreaking study demonstrated up to 20% reduction in red blood cell transfusion, risk of acute kidney injury, and overall costs, without any negative impact to patient safety. The study is pending peer review.

2014 Humanitarian Award Winners

Tom Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, Executive Director & CEO, American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)

Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, President & COO, University of Vermont Medical Center

Anna Noonan, RN, Vice President, Jeffords Quality Institute, University of Vermont Medical Center

2013 Humanitarian Award Winners

Robin Betts, MBA-HM, RN, Assistant Vice President Quality & Patient Safety, Intermountain Healthcare

Jon Carlson, Director, Respiratory Care Services, Mercy Hospital, Buffalo

United States Senator Tom Harkin

Michael A.E. Ramsay, MD, FRCA, Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology,
Baylor University Medical Center; President, Baylor Research Institute