2020’s medical staff leaders and innovators honoured

News / General / Internal Medicine Care / Mental Health Care / Stroke and Neurological Care
By Christine Maloney

The winners and nominees of this year’s Medical Staff Association awards demonstrate outstanding contributions to KHSC’s medical community and patients

Every year, Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Medical Staff Association (MSA) recognizes the leaders and dedicated clinical-care providers whose achievements stand out and are noteworthy. In addition to the yearly award granted to an Outstanding Clinician, this year, an award for Clinician Innovator was added.

Throughout the summer we will be introducing you to the 2020 award winners and nominees, starting with the recipient of the inaugural Clinician Innovator of the Year award, Dr. Ramana Appireddy, stroke neurologist and medical director at KHSC’s Stroke Prevention Clinic.

Clinician Innovator of the Year

Dr. Appireddy’s innovative work providing virtual patient care through electronic visits or eVisits began two years ago with a pilot project to connect patients and families to their specialists for follow-up care after a stroke. His experience was invaluable when his leadership was called upon to help set up over 450 physicians in a very short time to provide virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am honoured to receive this recognition from my colleagues, and it was my pleasure to guide many of them in their adoption of eVisits,” says Dr. Appireddy. He added, “Whenever we can address the barriers people face, we are putting patients and their families at the centre of their care and improving their access to health care.”

The physical environments of health-care settings are often significant barriers for people with chronic neurological conditions, who may experience cognition and mobility impairments. When appropriate, eVisits allow people to receive care from the comfort of their homes.

During the pandemic, the physical environments of KHSC’s hospital sites became barriers because access to them were restricted in order to slow the spread of the virus and be able to respond to a surge in patients needing hospital-level care.

Dr. Appireddy’s innovation and leadership has helped KHSC’s medical community to completely transform to provide virtual care and meet the clinical needs of patients, not only during COVID-19 times, but in the post-pandemic era as well.

Outstanding Clinician of the Year

[Introduction coming soon]

Clinician Innovator of the Year nominees:

Dr. Nazanin Alavi, a psychiatrist in KHSC’s adult mental health program at the Hotel Dieu Hospital site, has demonstrated tremendous innovation that has enhanced the care provided to patients. She has improved patients’ access to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) through an online CBT clinic and an in-person clinic for individuals who cannot access online or group therapy.

The online CBT clinic offers targeted therapy for specific needs such as, obsessive compulsive disorder, managing chronic pain and coping with cancer, and has expanded access to this care for patients in remote areas, where resources have been limited. Recently, she was awarded SARS CoV-2/COVID-19 research funding from Queen's University to explore opportunities for online CBT to support people facing mental health challenges during the pandemic. She has also received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant to help correctional officers cope with mental health challenges through an online psychotherapy clinic offering them diagnosis-specific psychotherapy.

Dr. Alavi has been instrumental in working with the emergency department to develop streamlined protocols to provide consistency in care, as well as a rapid therapy program to offer short-term supportive therapy for patients in crisis.

Dr. Donatella Tampieri, a diagnostic and interventional neuroradiologist, is passionate about improving and innovating patient care. This dedication, along with her leadership, was instrumental in developing a Neurointerventional Radiology program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre. The program uses minimally-invasive techniques to successfully treat diseases such as brain aneurysms, blood vessel abnormalities, and other conditions including stroke. Additional benefits of these techniques include lower risks to patients, shorter hospital stays, and improved health outcomes.

Dr. Tampieri also worked with neurosurgery colleague Dr. Chris Wallace and the regional director of the stroke network of southeastern Ontario Mrs. Cally Martin to make aneurysm coiling available to KHSC patients, providing a less-invasive alternative to brain surgery. As a result of this collaboration, KHSC was designated an Aneurysm Coiling Centre by the Ministry of Health.

[More introductions coming August 4 - September 3]

Outstanding Clinician of the Year nominees:

Dr. Christopher Smith’s leadership and internal-medicine expertise has been invaluable throughout the COVID pandemic. He worked with the emergency department, intensive care unit, and medical and surgical leaders to take the lead on creating space at the Kingston General Hospital site to care for COVID-19 positive patients, including the creation of the isolated COVID-19 unit.

As always, Dr. Smith has given generously of his time and advice to support his colleagues during this unprecedented time. Demonstrating true, visible leadership, he put himself first on call when the pandemic began. 

 [More introductions coming August 4 - September 3]