The Society of Hospital Medicine’s annual Chapter Excellence Exemplary Awards have additional meaning this year, in the wake of the persistent challenges faced by the medical profession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Chapter Excellence Award program is an annual rewards program to recognize outstanding work conducted by chapters to carry out the SHM mission locally,” Lisa Kroll, associate director of membership at SHM, said in an interview.
The Chapter Excellence Award program is composed of Status Awards (Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze) and Exemplary Awards. “Chapters that receive these awards have demonstrated growth, sustenance, and innovation within their chapter activities,” Ms. Kroll said.
For 2020, the Houston Chapter received the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award, the Hampton Roads (Va.) Chapter received the Resiliency Award, and Amith Skandhan, MD, SFHM, of the Wiregrass Chapter in Alabama, received the Most Engaged Chapter Leader Award.
“SHM members are assigned to a chapter based on their geographical location and are provided opportunities for education and networking through in-person and virtual events, volunteering in a chapter leadership position, and connecting with local hospitalists through the chapter’s community in HMX, SHM’s online engagement platform,” Ms. Kroll said.
The Houston Chapter received the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award because it “exemplified high performance during 2020,” Ms. Kroll said. “During a particularly challenging year for everyone, the chapter was able to rethink how they could make the largest impact for members and expand their audience with the use of virtual meetings, provide incentives for participants, and expand their leadership team.”
“The Houston Chapter has been successful in establishing a Houston-wide Resident Interest Group to better involve and provide SHM resources to the residents within the four local internal medicine residency programs who are interested in hospital medicine,” Ms. Kroll said. “Additionally, the chapter created its first curriculum to assist residents in knowing more about hospital medicine and how to approach the job search. The Houston Chapter has provided sources of support, both emotionally and professionally, and incorporated comedians and musicians into their web meetings to provide a much-needed break from medical content.”
The Resiliency Award is a new SHM award category that goes to one chapter that has gone “above and beyond” to showcase their ability to withstand and rise above hardships, as well as to successfully adapt and position the chapter for long term sustainability and success, according to Ms. Kroll. “The Hampton Roads Chapter received this award for the 2020 year. Some of the chapter’s accomplishments included initiating a provider well-being series.”
Ms. Kroll noted that the Hampton Roads Chapter thrived by trying new approaches and ideas to bring hospitalists together across a wide region, such as by utilizing the virtual format to provide more specialized outreach to providers and recognize hospitalists’ contributions to the broader community.
The Most Engaged Chapter Leader Award was given to Alabama-based hospitalist Dr. Skandhan, who “has demonstrated how he goes above and beyond to grow and sustain the Wiregrass Chapter of SHM and continues to carry out the SHM mission,” Ms. Kroll said.
Dr. Skandhan’s accomplishments in 2020 include inviting four Alabama state representatives and three Alabama state senators to participate in a case discussion with Wiregrass Chapter leaders; creating and moderating a weekly check-in platform for the Alabama state hospital-medicine program directors’ forum through the Wiregrass Chapter – a project that enabled him to encourage the sharing of information between hospital medicine program directors; and working with the other Wiregrass Chapter leaders to launch a poster competition on Twitter with more than 80 posters presented.