Peter Lindenauer MD Honored for Academic Excellence

by Sharon Glazer, MPH | December 19, 2013
Dr. Peter Lindenauer receiving 2013 Weinberg Prize
Dr. Peter Lindenauer Being Presented with the
2013 Weinberg Family Prize by Dr. Evan Benjamin

Dr. Peter Lindenauer, Director of the Center for Quality of Care Research (CQCR), has been awarded the Weinberg Family Prize for Academic Excellence, Baystate Health's highest academic honor, in October 2013.

Dr. Lindenauer is honored to receive the award, "particularly because so many of the previous awardees have made such incredible contributions to Baystate Health, and a number of them have been my personal mentors and collaborators." He is especially grateful to all of the CQCR staff, and to those in SPA and IRB, for helping to make research possible.

Bringing Rigor to the Evaluation of Quality

When they created the Center for Quality of Care Research in the fall of 2008, Dr. Lindenauer and Dr. Evan Benjamin, Senior Vice President for Healthcare Quality, saw an opportunity to elevate the image of quality and safety within Baystate Health by bringing an academic approach to it.

“If quality and safety were going to gain respect and interest, and engage clinicians and faculty,” Lindenauer says, “it was important to bring some of the same scientific approach to quality research as we would apply to any other biomedical innovation or intervention.”

Since 2008, the Center has grown from just Lindenauer and senior biostatistician Penny Pekow PhD, to a core group of about five physicians who are primarily clinician investigators. A number of physicians from infectious diseases, critical care, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, and other areas, are also involved as adjunct faculty.  

Lindenauer believes that over the years they have created a culture around quality and safety that has been one of the factors leading to Baystate’s success in this area.

A Nurturing Environment for Training Researchers

According to Lindenauer, CQCR was strategically housed within the Division of Healthcare Quality so it would be a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental resource.  A weekly research-in-progress meeting where anyone from medical students, residents and fellows, to faculty and visiting scholars can come and present their work and get feedback has been very successful. “Over the past five years we’ve had a wonderful community emerge,” he says.

Developing a supportive community that nurtures investigators towards independence is one of Lindenauer's proudest accomplishments.  “NIH sets a high bar, and we were challenged as to whether we, as a non-university based center, could provide an appropriate environment for training the next generation of researchers.” Now, the Center has achieved an important milestone. Two junior researchers, Drs. Tara Lagu and Mihaela Stefan, received K01 career development grants from NHLBI earlier this year.

Putting Research into Practice

In Dr. Lindenauer’s view, there are "so many innovations taking place at Baystate and almost every one presents an opportunity to learn whether it works, and how to make it better, with the ultimate goal being to drive improvements in care here at Baystate."

He says that most of the Center’s projects have emerged out of efforts to evaluate the impact of various interventions within Baystate, such as, the role of perioperative beta blockers, the effect of hospitalists on clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, and the impact of rapid response teams. A recent study looking at access for patients with disabilities has already led to changes within Baystate.

Initially, these studies were unfunded or had pilot funding. Now they have NIH funding for multi-year projects whose results can be shared across the institution and the larger research community. 

Weinberg Family Prize Has Recognized Outstanding Academic Achievement Since 1997

The Weinberg Family Prize for Academic Excellence was established by Dr. Ethel Weinberg, first Chief Academic Officer at Baystate Medical Center, and her husband, Saul Weinberg. It is awarded annually to a faculty member whose innovative research, publications, or leadership of a national academic organization have brought honor to Baystate Health.

There have been 13 previous awardees.