Announcing Scholarship Recipients for the 2017 Annual Quality Congress

Vermont Oxford Network Announces Scholarship Recipients for 2017 Annual Quality Congress

Prestigious scholarships awarded to a Nurse Leader, Fellows, and Early-Career Neonatologists

Burlington, Vt. – To recognize the contributions of leaders and emerging leaders in the care of high-risk infants, Vermont Oxford Network (VON) offered several scholarships for the 2017 Annual Quality Congress.

Scholarships were awarded to one nurse leader and two global health fellows practicing in resource-limited settings. Additionally, VON is pleased to partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine to honor seven AAP VON Scholars by providing guidance and mentorship to neonatal fellows and early career neonatologists.

“These individuals reflect the commitment of our community of practice to providing the best and ever improving care to newborn infants and their families around the world,” said Jeffrey D. Horbar, MD, VON chief executive and scientific officer. “We are honored to support such exceptional leaders.”

Deborah Grace, a Nurse Manager of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at University of Washington Academic Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. was awarded the Kathy Leahy Scholarship for Nurses for her exemplary dedication to quality improvement. In her work with VON’s Newborn Improvement Collaborative for Quality (NICQ Next2), Grace led teamwork exercises that identified areas for improvement and designed simulations that resulted in novel conflict resolution techniques. She was selected for the Kathy Leahy scholarship from a talented pool of applicants for her focus on creating strong teams providing highly reliable care with an emphasis on the “Golden Hour” to save lives and prevent serious morbidities such as intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).

The AAP VON Scholars program is led by Dr. Dmitry Dukhovny from Oregon Health and Sciences University, who serves year-round as the VON Fellows Champion and leads a team to select candidates and provide guidance, mentorship, and support to fellows well beyond the Annual Quality Congress. AAP VON Scholars were selected based on outstanding commitment to improving the quality, safety, and value of care for newborns and families and interest in quality improvement science. The scholarships include complimentary registration and a travel stipend, as well as yearlong mentoring from expert teams and faculty. Recipients and their supporting institutions include:

  • Allison Peluso MD — UH-Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital
  • Carrie Torr MD — University of Utah
  • Alok Ezhuthachan MD — Brenner Children’s Hospital
  • Janessa Law MD — University of California, San Diego
  • Margaret Nguyen MD — University of California, Los Angeles
  • Michelle Tyler MD — Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth
  • Sandhya Brachio MD — Columbia University

“We continue to see the next generation of clinicians raise the bar for quality improvement projects as they translate best evidence into practice and achieve measurable results using increasingly more sophisticated QI methods,” said Madge Buus-Frank, VON executive vice president and director of quality improvement and education. “We are honored and validated that they are using data submitted by Vermont Oxford Network members to create actionable improvements in the care of the complex and fragile infants we are privileged to care for.”

Additionally, two scholarships were awarded to health care professionals from low and middle-income countries actively engaged in newborn health program development and implementation. The providers will attend the Helping Babies Breathe 2nd Edition Master Trainer Course at the 2017 Annual Quality Congress, presented in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics. The program provides training and resources for providers to train others on best practices and techniques to resuscitate infants in resource-limited settings.

The Helping Babies Survive Global Leaders Scholarships were awarded to Mahlet Abayneh, a neonatology fellow from Ethiopia, and Ifelayo Peter Ojo, a pediatrician from Nigeria who is currently a global pediatrics chief resident at University of Minnesota. The scholarship includes complimentary registration and all the training equipment to facilitate a train-the-trainer course.

The 2017 Annual Quality Congress, a dynamic event for interdisciplinary teams, individual practitioners, senior leaders and family-advisors that harnesses the energy of leading-edge quality improvement work, takes place October 26-30, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.

About Vermont Oxford Network

Vermont Oxford Network (VON) is a worldwide community of health care professionals dedicated to improving the quality and safety of medical care for newborn infants and their families through a coordinated program of research, education, and quality improvement. Members use confidential information from the world’s largest and most comprehensive databases of high-risk infant data to benchmark their practices and outcomes and identify areas for improvement. Teams from around the world address critical and complex challenges of newborn care with evidence-based quality improvement methods guided by VON expert faculty and resources.


Drew Arnold

Communications Manager

Vermont Oxford Network