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by Paul Govern | Posted on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 — 9:12 AM
Three members of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center community were among 19 individuals and organizations honored at the 75th annual meeting of the Tennessee Hospital Association, held recently in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
• April Pettit, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of Medicine, received a Medical Staff Meritorious Service Award for her role in the discovery of the 2012 multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis.
• Jeanne Yeatman, MBA, BSN, EMT, program director of LifeFlight air medical transport program and interim director of Emergency Services, received an Executive Nurse of Distinction Award.
• Luke Gregory, chief executive officer of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, received one of three senior-level Healthcare Executive Awards.
Pettit was part of the infectious disease team seeking to find out how a seemingly healthy man could have such a raging meningitis infection with no known cause.
She was surprised at what showed up on the patient’s laboratory plate — Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus common in the environment but unheard of in a person’s spinal fluid.
Pettit began to connect the dots on what would become a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis. She went back to the patient’s chart and interviewed his family to determine the cause, learning that the patient had received a spinal steroid injection at a local outpatient neurosurgery center. She felt that something wasn’t right and notified the Tennessee Department of Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Admin-istration took the information and identified three contaminated lots of the drug methylprednisolone acetate that were implicated in the meningitis cases.
Yeatman was honored for her long-term contributions to Vanderbilt and the community through her work with LifeFlight’s air medical program.
“Jeanne always excels at whatever she does,” said Corey Slovis, M.D., professor and chair of Emergency Medicine. “Whatever role she has — as a nurse, flight nurse, nurse leader, administrator, friend, mentor or hospital leader, she always excels.”
Pam Jones, MSN, R.N., chief nursing officer and associate hospital director of Vanderbilt University Hospital, echoed Slovis’ comments.
“Jeanne is a great leader and has the unique ability to bring colleagues together for the betterment of patient care,” Jones said. “She is passionate that we share what we learn at Vanderbilt throughout the community.”
Gregory’s award was bestowed by the Tennessee chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives for his “high ideals, diplomacy and tact that inspire savvy business leaders.”
Gregory has served in a variety of administrative and business development leadership roles since joining Vanderbilt in 2007.
“Luke has served in an exemplary manner and in many roles since joining Vanderbilt,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System. “He is supportive of our Children’s Hospital team, tested and experienced in leadership, and lives Vanderbilt’s caring attitude in all he does.
“His values, wisdom and congenial personality inspire confidence and trust,” Pinson said.
Paul Govern, (615) 343-9654
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