PHYSICIAN HONORED - Stephen M. Winter, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Norwalk Hospital, is congratulated by hospital officials for being the recipient of the Robert Ready Award for Patient Safety and Quality. This prestigious award, named in honor of Robert Ready, is given annually to perpetuate Mr. Ready’s long-term contributions as a hospital trustee and to promote continuous commitment to patient safety and quality at Norwalk Hospital. From left are Lewis Berman, MD, chairman, Department of Medicine, Dr. Winter, Mr. Ready and Dan DeBarba, president of Norwalk Hospital and executive vice president, Western Connecticut Health Network. (contributed photo)
NORWALK, CT - Stephen M. Winter, MD, FACP, FACCP, of Ridgefield, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Norwalk Hospital, and clinical professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, is the recipient of the Robert Ready Award for Patient Safety and Quality. This prestigious award, named in honor of Robert Ready, is given annually to perpetuate his long-term contributions as a hospital trustee and to promote continuous commitment to patient safety and quality at Norwalk Hospital.
The honor was bestowed on Dr. Winter “for his leadership and unwavering commitment to patient safety and quality of care that has placed Norwalk Hospital in the national spotlight for clinical excellence and patient safety,” according to Dan DeBarba, president of Norwalk Hospital and executive vice president, Western Connecticut Health Network. The award was introduced in 2011 and prior recipients included Robert Ready, Stephen O’Mahony, MD and Heidi Stellar, RN.
During his six years as a member of the Norwalk Hospital Board of Trustees, Dr. Winter was instrumental in promoting quality, patient safety and best practice medical care as a major strategic focus of the hospital. His efforts led to the development of a section of quality within the hospital and a formal quality committee of the board, for which he has been a member since its inception.
Dr. Winter, drawing on his background in industrial engineering, systems analysis and computer modeling, has been very active in developing processes and models of quality within the hospital. He initiated the critical care quality assessment and improvement committee and the quality committee of the section of pulmonary medicine more than two decades ago. Both of these committees were used to develop explicit performance metrics to continuously assess the quality of care provided, and when possible, compare to national benchmarks of performance.
These groups have led the development of new approaches to patient care based upon teamwork, new evidence and the continuous striving for clinical excellence. Some of the innovations have included:
the early mobilization and physical rehabilitation of critically ill patients;
the development of daily quality rounds with nursing to ensure consistent application of best evidenced-base interventions at each bedside in the intensive care unit;
the evolution of new approaches to reducing the amount of sedation in patients in the intensive care unit;
approaches to the care of patients after discharge from the intensive care unit to deal with cognitive and emotional disabilities developed after an episode of critical illness;
the use of respiratory therapist driven weaning protocols; and
extending the reach of respiratory therapists in the evaluation and care of patients outside of the intensive care unit.
In his education work, Dr. Winter has led research with a focus on implementing best practice patient care using existing resources and culture change. Even in his humanitarian international relief work, Dr. Winter has strived to bring a structured approach to patient care in places like Uganda, El Salvador and the Amazon jungle by finding ways to bring high-quality patient care within the context of limited resources and infrastructure.
About Stephen M. Winter, MD, FACP, FACCP,
Dr. Winter was born in Germany to the family of a career U.S. Army officer and his early overseas experiences initiated a life-long commitment to global health care and disaster relief. He received his BS degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois before earning an MS in Systems Analysis at Stanford University. He completed medical school at Cornell University and remained at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center for Internal Medicine training before continuing on to fellowship training in pulmonary medicine at Yale University.
As Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Norwalk Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale University, Dr. Winter has been deeply involved in the academic programs at Norwalk Hospital and Yale University and instrumental in building the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Sleep Disorders Center, Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, and the nationally recognized lung cancer program at Norwalk Hospital.
His career in public service began in 1980 at a refugee camp on the Cambodian border and today spans thirty years and five continents. Dr. Winter has provided clinical care and medical assessments in some of the most challenging environments in the world including Rwanda, North Korea, Afghanistan, Haiti, the Republic of Congo, Macedonia, Kosovo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, El Salvador, Liberia, Uganda, the Amazon jungle, and Darfur.
In service to his own country, Dr. Winter headed an American Red Cross critical care team for Operation Desert Storm and on September 11, 2001 was helicoptered into ground zero to set up a triage and evacuation station near the World Trade Center. As an active volunteer in his community, Dr. Winter has been a regular physician for the Americares Norwalk Free Clinic since 1995 and serves on the Board of Directors for the Americares Free Clinics and the Americares Foundation.
For over a decade Dr. Winter has been named a Top Doctor in the Castle Connolly Guide, listed in the Woodward/White Best Doctors in America and the Consumers’ Research Council of America Guide to America’s Top Physicians. He has also received many honors including the 2010 American Thoracic Society Public Service Award, the 2009 American College of Chest Physicians Humanitarian Award and the 2007 American College of Chest Physicians Distinguished Service Award for his voluntary efforts throughout the world.
His current interests include work with Amazon Promise to organize and provide healthcare in remote villages in the Amazon jungle and organization of systems of care in the ICU of a large hospital in Kampala, Uganda. In an effort to provide long-term medical expertise to underserved populations, Dr. Winter’s family has to date funded 14 rural Ethiopian students through health care related training programs.
About the “new” Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. As a University teaching organization, WCHN is anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals: Danbury, New Milford and Norwalk Hospitals. WCHN offers a full continuum of care through its system of affiliated organizations that provide innovative preventative, primary and specialty care as well as home care. For more information on WCHN, visit WesternConnecticutHealthNetwork.org, DanburyHospital.org, NewMilfordHospital.org or NorwalkHospital.org.