January 2, 2020

Celebrating 10 years of HOPE & JOY

A decade ago, Scott Newport created the Evan Newport HOPE Award to honor his son's memory. What began as a small effort has grown to encompass the entire health system.

The Evan Newport HOPE Award recognizes individuals and teams who show an exceptional commitment to the philosophy of patient and family centered care.  In 2019, there were more than 100 nominees from throughout Michigan Medicine. Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the 2019 Evan Newport HOPE Award!



Dan Cronin, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine

Dan Cronin, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine
Winner - Individual HOPE Award, Adult Services
Dr. Cronin consistently models the ideals of patient and family centered care. He recognizes that patients and their family members are often going through some of their darkest moments, and thus makes an intentional effort to be sure they feel seen, heard, valued and cared for. He recognizes that patients don’t see the countless hours of behind the scenes clinical reasoning and team discussions – but recognizes the power of the connection and the interactions that build a trusting relationship. Within that relationship, no matter the outcomes, healing occurs. Dr. Cronin has been known to tell his team “our patients don’t know we care about them,” so it is important to demonstrate that care. He aims to ensure that his patients not only receive great care, but that they feel greatly cared for. His peers note that Dr. Cronin seems to have an uncanny ability to allay fear and support patients where they are, recognizes that patients can be full partners in their own care, and then champions the inclusion of patient and family perspectives with his team, including in his role educating future physicians through initiatives in the medical school. Above all, he is recognized by colleagues, learners, and patients as as being "exactly the kind of person you would want to be your doctor." 


Austin Michalski, RDN

Austin Michalski, RDN, CNSC

Registered Dietitian, Brandon NICU, Patient Food and Nutrition Services
Winner - Individual HOPE Award, Children's, Women's, and Psychiatry Services

Austin has a unique ability to get to know his patients, and generously shares his knowledge to make the care team stronger. Parents have stressed that Austin provides a reassuring familiarity for babies and sticks by families to ensure the nutrition is tailored to their needs. Austin is known as an advocate for patients and families– often prompting the care team to think critically about what would work well for a family taking home a medically complex child for the first time, and is welcoming of parents participating in conversations about care. As one mother shared, “Nothing is more important to NICU parents than watching their babies grow and thrive.” Austin carves out a sacred space for each of his patients and families, and brings his commitment to patient and family centered care with him in all his work. He has a track record of speaking up for the patient and family, even when that can be uncomfortable. Austin advocates not just at the point of care, but is working with a team proposing a milk donation program for moms that can’t breastfeed but want to help other families and babies - further demonstrating his commitment to supporting patients and families throughout their care.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Orientation Team

Cardiac Rehabilitation Orientation Team, Cardiovascular Medicine

Winner - Team HOPE Award, Adult Services
Diane Perry, MS, ACSM-CEP, Carolyn Palka, MS, ACSM-CEP, Sandy Schick, Patient Advisor

This team has embraced the core principles of patient and family centered care in every aspect of their program. They have worked shoulder to shoulder with patient and family advisors to improve not only the patient experience, but the quality of the cardiac rehabilitation orientation program – and those patient advisors now co-lead the orientation alongside staff. After engaging patient and families, this team transformed the cardiac rehabilitation orientation from one that centered around paperwork, to one that is centered around the patient story and the emotional aspects of recovery that is needed to be successful in cardiac rehab. By working with the patient and the family caregivers as partners, they have made improvements that not only lead to greater satisfaction, but to better outcomes for the patients. By listening to their patients experiences, the orientation program leads began to address the emotional aspects of living with heart disease can get in the way of better outcomes. This team is bringing patients, family members and staff together in new ways to create a supportive community – and they keep evolving to continuously improve. 


Non-Abusive Psychological and Physical Intervention (NAPPI) Implementation Team

Non-Abusive Psychological and Physical Intervention (NAPPI) Implementation Team

Winner - Team Award, Children's, Women's, and Psychiatry Services
Nicole Figueroa, Rhonda Shultz, Sarah Holley, Amal Dahmani, Michelle Stanely, Deb O’Neil, Laura Ready, Gabbi Foster, Joy Dettore, Jaci Michetti, Gretel Quitmeyer, Susan Maycock

This team has responded to patient, family and provider needs to implement a comprehensive, compassionate approach to deescalating and supporting patients and families that are struggling emotionally and behaviorally during their hospital stay. This work sprang from evidence based research, identifying new practice guidelines that changed the way front line staff help families adjust and cope with the very stressful and sometimes traumatic health experiences. They aim to ensure greater staff safety and effectiveness, and ensure the patient and family voice is represented. In addition to providing holistic, trauma-informed care to patients, this team has rolled out this effective program throughout the Children's and Women's hospital, and is now expanding to the adult hospitals. In Michigan Medicine's ongoing efforts to ensure safety to all, this team has taken on a tremendous effort that has already helped teams support patients and families who may be at risk for struggling emotionally or behaviorally during their stay. They focus on empowering the bedside staff to have the needed skills in supporting their patients with dignity and respect, and without harm. 


Individual Finalists - Adult Services

Susan Blaisdell

Susan M. Blaisdell

Administrative Specialist, Department of Internal Medicine, Hematology/Oncology Division

Many people bring their mittens out this time of year. But each year, Susan and an army of volunteers make hand-stitched "mittens" that are filled to the brim with care items to help chemotherapy patients pass the time during their long hours of infusion. What she began as a way to support a young colleague in 1999 has grown into an annual volunteer-driven labor of love for adult chemotherapy patients. To date, more than 8,800 patients have been delighted to receive this gift when they arrived for treatment around the holiday season. Susan is described by her peers as “filled with joy”, and not only does her job exceptionally well, but she makes purposeful efforts to spread her joy to others.


Julia Huang

Julia Huang, BSN, RN, CCTC

Registered Nurse, Transplant Center

Julia makes a lasting impression with her patients and their families as a nurse working with liver transplant recipients, where she follows patients throughout their lifetime. She recognizes that involving the patients and their family in their care is a key aspect of having successful outcomes. She sees advocating for the patient voice, respecting patient and family choices, and safeguarding the patient's dignity as the important components of creating a therapeutic and supportive relationship with patients and families. Julia shares that working in transplant has shown her how important it is to celebrate the milestones, and to work diligently to offer information, encouragement, and compassion to patients and their families.


Sarah Merita Judson

Sarah Merita Judson

Administrative Specialist, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Sarah is known to exemplify an ongoing commitment to improving the patient and family experience. Although she is not directly involved in clinical patient care, she makes an incredible difference to patients and their families. She is warm and engaging, and has a communication style that allows her to be incredibly effective in her ability to help patients and families navigate a complex system, while they are often dealing with devastating health issues. No matter how sensitive the situation, Sarah rallies with compassion and composure – helping patients and families solve problems big and small. When she does not know an answer, she works to find it or connect patients with the right contact, ensuring that patients get the information they need and don't get left behind. Beyond the countless "in the moment" efforts, Sarah follows up, reaches out, and she builds relationships.


Nicole Pratt, LLMSW

Nicole Pratt, LLMSW

Social Worker/Eviction Prevention Coordinator, Community Health Services - Housing Bureau for Seniors

Nicole is armed with empathy as she works in her role with older adults that are facing eviction. In what can often be an intense and grueling time in their lives, Nicole brings warm and supportive communication, and is often pulling the levers with resources and support to help. She recognizes that dignity and respect are often lacking in her clients lives, so she centers on those ideals as a way to build back empowerment. Nicole believes that an ideal patient experience is one where a client feels involved and empowered and can move forward with a sustainable care plan. She notes that "it’s important to meet clients where they are, but not leave them there."

 Team Finalists - Adult Services

Emergency Critical Care Center (EC3) Team

Emergency Critical Care Center (EC3) Team

Division of Critical Care/Emergency Medicine

The Emergency Critical Care Center (EC3) improves patient access to timely and high quality patient centered critical care, and ensure seamless transitions from the emergency department to the inpatient intensive care units. This team works tirelessly to care for the sickest patients that need emergent care, providing ICU-level care in the emergency department setting. But, despite the fast pace, they still make time for what matters most to our families – even recently supporting and facilitating a wedding ceremony on the unit, so that a mom on end of life care could be present to see her daughter’s special day. The team rallied to arrange food, cake, handmade decorations, and took special care to dress and style the patient for the celebration, which included photos for the family to treasure. The family was able to share their first dance, enjoy a toast to their happiness, share cake and a wonderful meal, all in the presence of their loved one, who passed away the following morning.


Gender Affirming Healthcare Improvement Team

Gender Affirming Healthcare Improvement Team

This interdisciplinary work group has been working collaboratively to improve gender-affirming health care at Michigan Medicine. The diverse team of more than 40 individuals has worked across the health system to identify areas where we could improve the services, resources, and quality of care and experiences for gender affirming patients. Reviewing policies, practices, care pathways and barriers have been a labor of love as the team moves forward to ensure that each patient is treated with dignity and respect through holistic, compassionate care.


Michigan Medicine Security Services

Michigan Medicine Security Services

University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security

The Michigan Medicine Security (MMS) team is driven by the principles of patient and family centered care to create an exceptional experience for our patients and families. They aim to ensure that everyone in the community - patients, families, visitors and staff - are supported in a way that reduces risks, alleviates anxiety, and creates an experience that surpasses what they might expect. MMS is on the roadways and in the parking structures, in the emergency departments, and at the surgery suites, on the inpatient units and at the outpatient clinics, in the lobbies and corridors, and at off-site buildings. They rescue turtles from busy traffic, ducklings from storm drains, run to fire alarms, celebrate happy news with patients, jump start vehicle batteries, and comfort the community through challenging times. They keep people safe during a mental health crisis, find lost phones, screen visitors, create Lego towers with our patients, offer a safe and reassuring presence, and everything in between. Most importantly, the MMS team values the opportunity to share more than public safety, but to share humanity, and add a little light to someone’s day.

 Individual Finalists - Children's, Women's, & Psychiatry Services

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Nicholas Campbell

Unit Custodian, Environmental Services

Nicholas makes a difference every day by showing compassion and empathy to every patient and with each encounter. Environmental Services staff are often in and out of our patient’s rooms, so have a real impact on their experience. Nick not only provides great customer service, but actually look for opportunities to connect with each patient, family member, and visitor– and shines a light through his warmth and generosity, and by treating others as he would want to be treated.


Laurie Purcell

Laurie B. Purcell

Health Center Manager, Briarwood Family Medicine

Laurie is recognized by her peers as someone that lives our mission to provide the best care to our patients. In addition to being caring and supportive of her team members, she leans in when people have a need and remains creative and flexible to better serve patients and families. Laurie rallied with her team to offer later clinic hours, video visits, and Saturday flu clinics – making it better for patients, and staff are supported in a way that make them more connected.


Dr. Jeffrey Myers

Jeffrey L. Myers, MD

Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality, Department of Pathology

Dr. Myers has taken the concepts of patient and family centered care into uncharted territory. Progress in patient experience advancement has been limited in areas less familiar or less visible to patients and families – until now. Recognizing that pathology touches the lives of nearly every patient who looks for hope, Dr. Myers and his team have truly partnered with patient and family Advisors to rethink how pathology services can be offered. Sharing data with patients is just one component of the “nothing about me, without me” mantra of Dr. Myers and his team, leading Pathology to sparking many lights in new places.


Dr. Cosmas VanDeVen

Cosmas Van De Ven, MD

Division Director, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr. Van De Ven engages the entire family to ensure that he is supporting the patient and their partner, well beyond the pregnancy and delivery. He is well known for ensuring that all patients are treated with dignity and respect. With high risk pregnancies, the experiences can range from celebrations to challenging conversations and decisions – and Dr. Van De Ven approaches these with incredible grace and sensitivity, making space for each unique experience. He further strengthens the connection to the patient and family through his team approach.


Team Finalists - Children's, Women's, & Psychiatry Services

Cystic Fibrosis Center Team

Cystic Fibrosis Center Pediatric Program

Pediatric Pulmonology

Through every intervention and interaction, the Cystic Fibrosis Center Pediatric Program strives to ensure that they are partnering with the patient and family in their care. With a strong team approach, the team actively involves patients and families in identifying, designing, and implementing improvements. Their inclusive approach ensures the patient perspective is incorporated, and work to support their young patients through many challenges, while also focusing on making their stays as rich as possible, considering the many days they spend inpatient. They are creative in the ways they engage patient advisors, including virtual meetings to ensure everyone has a chance to participate.


Preparing Children for Surgery Team

Preparing Children for Surgery Team

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital PACU

Parents have shared that having a clear understanding of what to expect, can make or break a care experience. This may especially true with surgery. In 2014, this multidisciplinary team gathered to create a consistent message and guidance for pediatric surgery, which can be anxiety producing for patients and parents alike. Anchoring their work in patient and family feedback, this team created a portfolio of materials, including a video showing the day of surgery through the eyes of a patient to help ensure the best experience – and outcomes - possible. 


Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools Vision Program

Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools Vision Program

Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences/Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools

By providing health care services to children through the public school system, the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools is a model of community engagement. Providing vision services in the Flint and Ypsilanti schools, including glasses delivered to the school to avoid disruptions for families, models dignified care that arose out of community identified needs. This multidisciplinary team that bridges healthcare into the community helps remove barriers to the best care. Creative collaboration and a focus on understanding patient and family needs are at the core of this team's work, which continues to expand to serve students in different communities.