Lathem Physician Leadership Award in Hand Hygiene Accepting Nominations for 2012


Proventix Systems, Inc. announces the call for nominations for the annual Lathem Physician Leadership Award in Hand Hygiene. Proventix Systems created the Lathem Award to recognize physicians worldwide who demonstrate excellence and leadership in hand hygiene.

Named in honor of Dr. Mickey Lathem, the award recognizes physician leadership that provides high-quality, compassionate care to patients via exemplary hand hygiene practices. He or she demonstrates quality through personal compliance and vocal, active leadership. As a physician and parent of a child who contracted a healthcare associated infection (HAI), Lathem began advocating hand hygiene and promoting a heightened awareness among all health care providers.

"I'm thrilled and honored to be the namesake for this initiative," says Lathem. "Research supports the understanding that physician-led quality improvement efforts significantly reduce adverse outcomes and help sustain compliance among caregivers. Hand hygiene is such a simple thing; we can and should do better."

Harvey Nix, CEO and founder of Proventix, created the award to recognize physicians who act as change agents in their facilities and encourage handwashing, whether through the promotion of hand hygiene improvement initiatives, verbal reinforcement, or by example.  "The Lathem Physician Leadership Award in Hand Hygiene was created to honor those physicians who recognize the importance of hand hygiene and do their part to prevent infections," he says. 

Clinical quality leaders Drs. Atul Gawande and Peter Pronovost have demonstrated that it is possible to improve outcomes through standardized processes and the collaborative efforts of healthcare workers.

"Dr. Gawande suggests the most difficult thing to get clinicians to do is wash their hands," says Lathem. "But physicians have a greater responsibility to set the example and encourage others to improve the quality of care delivered to patients. Handwashing improves quality and enables healthcare workers to deliver safer care, leading to better patient outcomes."

2011 winners were Dr. Edmund Wroblewski, chief medical officer, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital;  Robert Libke, MD, specialist in infectious disease  and epidemiology, Saint Agnes Medical Center; Dr. Michael Mohr, a physician with Apex Family Medicine.

Christi Paradise, infection control coordinator at Saint Agnes Medical Center, said of her nominee: "Dr. Libke has been instrumental in developing and supporting a hospital-wide accountability program for hand hygiene which includes all staff and physicians.  Dr. Libke has been very supportive of our implementation of the electronic hand hygiene monitoring system as an adjunct to our current hand hygiene surveillance. This has enabled us to apply a more objective monitor than we have experienced with the direct observer-based hand hygiene surveillance.  His support has allowed us to be the first hospital in the state of California with an electronic-based hand hygiene observation system."

The award nomination form is available at until May 18, 2012. Lathem Award winners will be announced in conjunction with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas in June. 

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