Stanford Health Care honors faculty and staff

Nancy Morioka-Douglas is named physician of the year, the new professionalism award is presented in honor of Kelley Skeff, and Erika Schillinger takes home the quality and safety award.

Megan Mahoney, Kelley Skeff, Odette Harris and David Entwistle (left to right) celebrated staff and faculty at an award ceremony. Harris received the inaugural Kelley M. Skeff Award. 
Steve Fisch Photography

During an evening focused on individual excellence, community stole the show. At the presentation of the 2022 Stanford Health Care medical staff awards, administrators and honorees alike praised teamwork and a collaborative environment for fostering the exemplary work recognized at the ceremony.

“It’s an incredible community,” said Megan Mahoney, MD, professor of medicine and Stanford Health Care chief of staff. “And as much as we are highlighting some exceptional individuals tonight, we are also talking about exceptional teams here.”

The pandemic’s continuing impact was evident in the work of the award winners and in the nature of the hybrid event Thursday at Stanford Hospital, with honorees and their families joining leaders in person while dozens of others attended via Zoom.

“Our ability to stay calm, stay focused and stay compassionate has been so incredible,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “That has made a difference for our patients and that has made a difference in our community.”

Marc Jones, chair of the Stanford Health Care Board of Directors, applauded the ability of doctors and staff to excel despite the extreme demands of the pandemic.

“What we’ve done to save lives has been unbelievably impressive,” Jones said. “How many lives have been saved? How many families have been kept intact because of the work that all of you have done?”

Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, described how well the Stanford Medicine community rose to the challenge of the pandemic.

“Crises can either push people apart or bring people together,” he said. “In so many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has brought us together. We were already well aligned, but it’s enabled us to achieve a synergy and a collective focus that really has been inspiring and motivating.”

Physician of the year and two firsts

Nineteen people were honored this year, including the inaugural winner of a new award for professionalism.

The prestigious Physician of the Year Award went to Nancy Morioka-Douglas, MD, clinical professor of medicine. Over a 40-year career as a family medicine doctor, researcher, educator and mentor, Morioka-Douglas empowered patients to take care of their own health. She created the successful Stanford Youth Diabetes Coaches Program and the Positive Experience Project for older adults with depression.

In presenting the award, Robert Harrington, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine and the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor in Medicine, said that Morioka-Douglas, who retired from clinical practice the day before the event, was a “great example of bringing together science, humanism and medical care.”

For the first time, the award for Excellence in Quality and Safety went to a recipient whose primary focus is education. Erika Schillinger, MD, clinical professor of medicine and a highly decorated teacher, is the executive director of the Patient and Family Engaged Medical Education Programs, including the innovative Walk With Me, which pairs students with patients who have chronic or serious illnesses to form a connection and foster support.

The inaugural recipient of the Kelley M. Skeff Professionalism Award was Odette Harris, MD, professor of neurosurgery and the Paralyzed Veterans of America Professor in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. The new honor is named for Kelley Skeff, MD, PhD, the George DeForest Barnett Professor II in Medicine.

Harris, who was praised for her technical competence, work ethic, dedication to patient care and her ability to hold herself to the highest standards, was a medical student and resident when Skeff was the director of the internal medicine residency program. “Dr. Skeff loomed large in our world and was synonymous with excellence in every domain,” she said. “To be the inaugural recipient of this award, so many years later, is an honor.”

Excellence personified

Errol Ozdalga, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, won the Excellence in Service Award. Ozdalga, the director of the Program for Bedside Medicine, was recognized for his exceptional clinical care, specifically his skill and empathy in having difficult conversations with patients and their families. Ozdalga, director of communications for the Department of Medicine, was commended for adapting quickly to the pandemic, moving the weekly medical grand rounds online and aggressively recruiting experts from around the nation to address timely matters, both of which increased attendance.

Ria Paul, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine, won the Value Improvement Award for her work in accountable care and value-based care.

Wendy Caceres, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, received the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. As associate program director of the Stanford Internal Medicine Residency Program, Caceres “changed the trajectory” of the program to consider selection from a more holistic perspective, Harrington said.

Julieta Gabiola, MD, clinical professor of medicine, received the Kevin Malott Award for Humanitarian Service. Gabiola founded ABC’s for Global Health, focused on improving chronic disease management in Filipinos in the Philippines and in the United States. In addition to regular medical missions, she helped develop a robust telehealth program long before the pandemic.

Jeff Chi, MD, section chief of General Medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine, won the Innovations in Care Award for ensuring hospital shifts were covered throughout the pandemic, even as colleagues lauded him for his respect and support for physician well-being.

Poonam Hosamani, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, won the Excellence in Teaching Award for her passionate dedication to education. Hosamani said she knew early in her career that she wanted to focus on medical education, but in interviewing for jobs after residency, she said was met with skepticism — until she arrived at Stanford. “‘We are the place that can help you reach your goals,’” Hosamani said she was told. “And it’s very fitting for me to be here on what is my 10-year anniversary at Stanford.”

Rebecca Miller-Kuhlmann, MD, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences, and well-being director for the Department of Neurology, received the Excellence in Our Workplace Award for her “tenacious desire to improve work-life balance, ” Harrington said.

Sheneé Laurence, RN, administrative director of quality and operations, was named Administrator of the Year for her unwavering advocacy for patient safety and quality. Mahoney praised Laurence as a “no-drama problem solver” and said her leadership was critical in Stanford Health Care’s handling of the pandemic.

Honorary awards

Five people  received special recognition for their career achievements:

Sarah Donaldson, MD, the Catharine and Howard Avery Professor of radiation oncology; Stephen Galli, MD, the Mary Hewitt Loveless, MD, Professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology; David Gregg, MD, emergency medicine surgeon; Peter Koltai, MD, emeritus professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics; and Branimir Sikic, MD, emeritus professor of oncology.

Three were honored posthumously:

Steven Coutre, MD, professor of hematology; Ellie Guardino, MD, PhD, oncologist and former vice president at Genentech; and Stanley Shrier, MD, founding member of the Division of Hematology at Stanford.

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

2024 ISSUE 1

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