July 27, 2020

Annually, The Permanente Medical Group honors a select group of physicians with an award named after its founder. The Sidney R. Garfield Exceptional Contribution Award recognizes innovative physicians who have developed systems and programs that have a significant impact on patients, colleagues, and the broader community.

Read about each physician, below, and watch brief videos about their work.

Gabriel J. Escobar, MD

Gabriel J. Escobar, MD Research Scientist III, Division of Research

Twenty years ago when Dr. Escobar started imagining a predictive analytic system that could identify hospitalized patients at high risk of deterioration, no one thought it was possible. Fast forward to today, and hospitals throughout Kaiser Permanente Northern California are using a first-of-its-kind algorithm called Advance Alert Monitor (AAM) that does just that, thanks to Dr. Escobar. His recent analyses suggest AAM is saving approximately 500 lives each year. Other Kaiser Permanente regions are planning to deploy, or are in the process of deploying, similar systems.
Read more and watch a short video about Dr. Escobar

James Jang, MD

James Jang, MD Cardiology, Kaiser Permanente San Jose

In 2012, Dr. Jang first heard the call for physician volunteers to help San Francisco City Impact, a nonprofit providing medical and social support to the 47,000 poor and homeless people living in the city’s low-income Tenderloin district. Today Dr. Jang is the chief medical officer of City Impact’s Health and Wellness Clinic, a free medical and dental clinic for which he helped obtain licensing in 2014. To date, he has volunteered nearly 2,000 hours with City Impact, treating patients, developing programs, and generating support and community awareness, in addition to his work as a TPMG cardiologist.
Read more and watch a short video about Dr. Jang

Leonid Pravoverov, MD

Leonid Pravoverov, MD Nephrology, Kaiser Permanente Oakland

Just 1% of Medicare patients in the United States have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), yet the care they require consumes 7% of Medicare pending. This is because their care is often complicated by blood stream infections, chronic inflammation, and stenosis of major blood vessels that result from the use of central venous catheters. Dr. Pravoverov and his nephrology colleagues designed and implemented Optimal ESRD Starts, a remarkable dialysis program that reduces the use of these temporary catheters by getting patients started as early as possible on renal replacement therapy (RRT) via hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or a preemptive kidney transplant. Today 71% of patients with ESRD in the region are starting RRT optimally, compared to 32% nationally.
Read more and watch a short video about Dr. Pravoverov

David Witt, MD

David Witt, MD Infectious Diseases, Kaiser Permanente Oakland

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) has been a leading cause of mortality among hospitalized patients in the United States for decades, and is the most common cause of mortality from hospital-acquired infection. Yet when Dr. Witt searched in 2008 for diagnostic and prevention guidelines to help reduce HAP in Kaiser Permanente Northern California, he came up nearly empty-handed. So, Dr. Witt created a set of prevention guidelines known as ROUTE, which stands for Respiration and reduced sedation, Oral care, Up, Tube care, and Education, which rolled out to all the region’s hospitals in early 2013. Incidence of HAP declined 66% between 2011 and 2016, and today it averages 2.4 per 1,000 hospital admissions, one of the lowest rates in the country.
Read more and watch a short video about Dr. Witt

Visit the TPMG Awards page to meet more award-winning physicians.

This story originally appeared in Inside KP