From left: Accepting the Leape Ahead Award in Boston for NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln were Osman Jilani, MD, Chief Medical Resident; Vipul Shah, MD, Attending Physician, Department of Medicine; Nicole Amadon, PharmD, Health System Pharmacist Level 2; Elizabeth A. Stone, PharmD, Health System Pharmacist Level 3; and Balavenkatesh Kanna, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer; joined by Peter Angood, MD, CEO, President, American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL).

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln Earns National Leape Ahead Award for Its Doctor-Patient Communication Program

Jun 04, 2018

Bronx, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln announced today its receipt of the 2018 Leape Ahead Award from the American Association for Physician Leadership. The hospital was recognized for its development of an educational program designed to improve communications between doctors and their patients.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln is the first hospital in New York State ever to receive the Leape Ahead Award.

“Effective communication with patients, especially in a diverse population with a wide range of diseases, is of paramount importance,” said Anita Soni, MD, chief medical officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. Located in the South Bronx, the hospital serves a diverse patient population from various cultures, with different languages and ethnicities, as well as a range of socioeconomic challenges.

Most medical schools spend a minimal amount of time on communication training, and four-year medical students average less than eight hours of training on the subject. To combat this deficiency, a collaborative team at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln developed innovative techniques to improve communication, working with patients, medical students, and physicians.

“Using motivational interviewing skills to improve clinical outcomes also promotes interdisciplinary teamwork and patient-centered care,” said Balavenkatesh Kanna, MD, associate chief medical officer. Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique used to help people change a behavior by finding its internal motivation through the resolution of ambivalent feelings and insecurities.

Vipul L. Shah, MD, attending physician in the Department of Medicine, and Elizabeth A. Stone, PharmD, and Nicole Amadon, PharmD, both health system pharmacists, partnered to create a communication and motivational interviewing workshop that includes:

  • Live, didactic training with a focus on basic and advanced communication skills, as well as motivational interviewing;
  • Simulation training for medical residents, medical students, and nurses on staged patient-care scenarios; and
  • A train-the-trainer sustainability plan, under which select medical residents serve as communication ambassadors, leading role play sessions and providing peer-to-peer coaching.

“Other hospitals are beginning to incorporate communication skills into their medical residency training,” says Dr. Shah. “What makes our program unique is the train-the-trainer program for our residents. We expect this program will nurture long-term learning that will provide benefit to both the trainers and trainees.”

Three of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln’s chief medical residents were selected to join the first class of the train-the-trainer program.

“Medical residents form the backbone of our care delivery system, and we are committed to investing in their training to ensure better patient outcomes,” said Dr. Kanna. “Our graduate medical residents will be armed with communication and motivational interviewing skills that they will use to provide effective and efficient delivery of care, preparing them to become physician leaders who can facilitate health care transformation wherever their careers take them.”

The award was presented on April 29 to Dr. Vipul Shah at the American Association of Physician Leadership’s annual summit, held in Boston.

The American Association for Physician Leadership’s Leape Ahead Award, which honors the dedication of Dr. Lucian Leape, recognizes institutions and their leaders for efforts to improve patient safety and advance the quality of health care by developing medical students and residents as future leaders.


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