Professionalism Project Awards (2008 and 2010)

Feb 1, 2010, 10:00 AM by Melissa Harman

In prior years the Professionalism Committee awarded grants to faculty and students whose proposals were accepted during the biennial Professionalism Project Awards. These awards were created to increase the discussions and activities around the commitments of the UTMB Professionalism Charter across the campus. Three to five Professionalism Project Awards (not to exceed $10,000 each) were available to entities, departments and/or work groups to fund initiatives that target one or more of the UTMB Professionalism Charter Commitments.

During the years that the awards were offered, The UTMB Professionalism Charter contains commitments that everyone at the institution is asked to follow. These commitments outline the expectations of the UTMB culture valuing integrity, compassion, and respect. The Professionalism Charter is a living document that continues to be reviewed annually and refreshed bi-annually. These were the commitments during the last Project Awards session:

  • Professional Responsibilities
  • Improving Access to Education and Health Care
  • Service
  • Diversity
  • Quality
  • Professional Competence
  • Maintaining Appropriate Relations
  • Confidentiality
  • Managing Conflicts of Interest
  • Honesty
  • Knowledge
  • Responsible Use of Resources

The projects include the participation of employees from all levels and include interprofessional and/or cross-functional initiatives.

The Professionalism Committee reviewed the proposals and selected three (3) winners. Awardees have one year to complete their projects and will be expected to present their work in an institution-wide Professionalism Summit that will be held in April 2010.

The Summit will include selected presentations by those areas whose projects are of broad interest and serve as models that can be replicated by other areas in the institution. Each group that received an award will also be asked to participate in a poster session. At the culmination of the yearlong project, projects will be judged and the most innovative and effective initiative will be selected for a prestigious President's Professionalism Award.


Develop Professionalism Impact Customer Service/Learn Model Teach ($7,483) - Create and pilot a leadership development program at Victory Lakes Specialty Care Center that equips leaders with tools to develop a culture of professionalism, supports leaders to train their staff, and hold them accountable to uphold the commitments of the UTMB Professionalism Charter and Professionalism Agreement. This program will result in a more productive professional working environment, a greater patient experience and improved patient satisfaction. Monthly Development Forums will focus on commitments to: quality, professional responsibilities, responsible use of resources, maintain appropriate relations, and professional competence. The success of the program will be based on the ability to create a professional environment that positively impacts customer service.
PowerPoint Presentation: Learn-Model-Teach
Project Team Members: Bonnie Benkula and Orson Wells

Texas City Family Health Clinic Process Initiatives ($5,000) - This project is a partnership between Physicians, Nurses and Support Staff to improve the patient experience at TCFHC, and links to the Professionalism commitments of Service and Responsible Use of Resources. Patient satisfaction scores drove the investigation on what was causing the concerns reported in the Press Ganey scores.

The cross-functional team is working on process flow issues and variability within the clinic; several opportunities for improvement that would benefit patients and staff have been identified. TCFHC has noted specific concerns related to timely return of incoming patient phone calls; data is being collected on volumes and turnaround times by call type. The goals are to establish standardized processes on how the various types of calls are to be handled; consistently communicate the processes to the patient and/or their requesting party; and develop metrics that TCFCH can monitor.

TCFHC's hypothesis is that implementing standardized processes will (a) improve the patient education process, (b) reduce some of the administrative burden on the physicians and nurses and (c) reduce duplicate requests received from third parties (home health, medical supplies, etc.).
PowerPoint Presentation: TCFH Professionalism
Project Team Members: A. Bell-Gray, P. Havlen, L. Gatson, A. Kelm, et al.

Training for Ethics and Professionalism in Clinical Decision Making ($5,000) - This project supports introducing professionalism and ethics curriculum to training for multidisciplinary health care providers (HCPs) in the UTMB Life Support Education Lab. Training provides professional and competent care during cardiac life support procedures. Currently, curriculum focus (CPR/ACLS) has been on technical aspects of care, and an identified gap is typing in principles of professionalism and ethical decision-making into related curriculum. A professionalism and ethics multimedia curriculum module will impact a broad spectrum of health care providers who receive CPR/ACLS training.

Second Life's engaging technology is a three-dimensional online virtual world. It is frequently used for educational simulation. We will build and screen capture scenarios in the existing virtual John Sealy Hospital, creating multimedia movies of real life dilemmas for classes to review, make decisions, and see consequences of their choices. Second Life will be used to "thread" principles of professionalism into the required curriculum. The challenge to keep programs interesting is met by engaging students with interactive multimedia. By presenting brief case studies using this technology, we can create a low-cost adjunct to a foundation, building upon ideals of professionalism and competence. This provides "virtual ethical dilemma(s) for discussion in life-support classes for multidisciplinary health care providers.
Link to Professionalism Project Page:
Project Team Members: Stephanie Evans, Catherine Ivash, Ellen Adriance, Nathan Jones.


Student Readers' Theater Series ($5,000) - Student reading scripts incorporating research through exploration of relevant topics.
PI: Cheryl Kaplan, Institute for the Medical Humanities

Clinics Education and Training Mentor Program ($5,000) - Mentoring program for OSAs (outpatient support associates).
PI: Sandra Tillis, Clinics Education and Training

Cost Effective Care Seminar Series ($3,600) - Provides information about patient and institution incurred costs.
PI: Neisha D'Souza and Katrina Leonard, School of Medicine

Daily Reminders of Professionalism: The Medical Student Academic Calendar Project ($1,840) - Calendar featuring photographs and feature one of the 12 Professionalism Charter commitments.
PI: Judith Rowen and Brook Hyatt, Pediatrics

K.E.E.P. Our Promise ($5,000) - An interdisciplinary course and a direct intervention/service learning program.
PI: Jason Glenn, Institute for the Medical Humanities

Changing the Culture of Medical Education ($5,000) - A system to evaluate medical professionalism and humanism, provide a comparative analysis of assessment results.
PI: Sandra Riegle, Institute for the Medical Humanities