Field Notes

Dr. Emily Sedgwick receives award celebrating professionalism in medicine

Dr. Emily Sedgwick receives award celebrating professionalism in medicine

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Dr. Emily Sedgwick, associate professor of breast imaging in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, part of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Ben and Margaret Love Foundation Bobby Alford Award for Academic Clinical Professionalism, an honor given annually to a Baylor physician who best exemplifies professionalism in the practice of medicine.

“It is an honor to be included among the list of Love Award winners,” said Sedgwick, who also is chief quality officer for Baylor College of Medicine Faculty Group Practice. “I’m so appreciative that Baylor recognizes professionalism as a critical part of patient care and an essential factor in teamwork and in teaching our medical students.”

Throughout her career, Sedgwick has been dedicated to improving healthcare and making the breast cancer treatment process more streamlined and less intimidating for patients. One of her most significant accomplishments has been building and implementing a same-day workup and breast biopsy program in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, which allows a patient to receive her mammogram, her results and have a biopsy on the same day, without having to make separate appointments or leave the clinic.

Not only has the same-day breast imaging and biopsy program changed the patient experience at the Breast Center at Baylor for the better, but Sedgwick also led the team that instituted the program at the Smith Clinic at Harris Health, which serves uninsured patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Sedgwick’s team leadership to improve the quality of care at Smith Clinic has resulted in nearly 3,000 additional mammography appointments in 2015.

“Having the ability to provide same-day work up services is important for many patients, particularly those who have limited access to transportation or come from outlying areas,” said Sedgwick. “We cut down on the time, money and effort patients spend on getting to appointments, which also helps them more easily manage anxiety during the diagnostic process.”

In addition to her work to develop the same-day workup program, Sedgwick has directed the Baylor College of Medicine Quality Improvement and Patient Safety conference for three years in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School medical student group, composed of Baylor and UT Houston students. The conference is an interdisciplinary conference of people who are passionate about improving the quality of healthcare.

“It is a pleasure to work with Dr. Sedgwick to plan the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety conferences at Baylor, which have grown to incorporate speakers and academic submissions from across the Texas Medical Center through her leadership,” said Kevin Pankaj Shah, Baylor medical student. “Dr. Sedgwick is deeply invested in the education of her students and gives them opportunities to grow as future physician leaders, healthcare providers and academic professionals, demonstrating the utmost professionalism through her dedication to promoting quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.”

Sedgwick said that many of her views on professionalism in the workplace stem from guidance from her parents, explaining that her mother told her to “leave a place better than she found it,” and that they taught her to understand the true value of each and every person. Sedgwick has applied these principles to her work life, noting that you often have to go beyond a first interaction and consider the person as a whole.

“You have to remember that the person standing in front of you has a family and life outside of work or an appointment. A bad interaction with a coworker or patient can be an indicator of something going on outside of that conversation that you may not be aware of,” said Sedgwick, “These situations have to be handled with an understanding and a respect for what you may not know.”

Dr. Kent Osborne, professor and director of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, who nominated Sedgwick for the award, remarked, “Dr. Sedgwick has been an asset to the Duncan Cancer Center, particularly as it concerns the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, not only for her skills in imaging, but also for her passion and effectiveness in demonstrating professionalism in the workplace. She has played a large part in bringing the Breast Center’s Press Ganey patient satisfaction ratings through the roof, earning it Platinum status. She is a terrific example for current team members and the students who will continue the legacy at Baylor.”

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