The Lathem Physician Leadership Award for Hand Hygiene

The Lathem Physician Leadership in Hand Hygiene Award recognizes physicians who demonstrate excellence and leadership in hand hygiene. A Lathem Award winner 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 both a physician and parent of a child who contracted a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), Dr. Mickey Lathem understands the importance of hand hygiene in the prevention of infection and tries to promote a heightened awareness among all health care providers. Dr. Lathem advocates the highest standards of quality care, promotes best practices adoption and provides encouragement to physicians and healthcare workers in his hospital and around the world. Proventix established this award in his honor due to his exemplary performance as a physician quality leader, specifically in hand hygiene.

What does a Lathem Award winner look like?
A Lathem Award winner provides high-quality, compassionate care to patients via exemplary hand hygiene practices. Such physicians serve as change agents within their facilities and provide a visible example of excellence to patients, visitors, and staff members. Research suggests that physician-led quality initiatives significantly reduce adverse outcomes and help sustain compliance among caregivers. The award is based on physician activities related to patient care, quality, and leadership in hand hygiene.

Award Recipients


Dr. Belinda Ostrowsky, Infectious Disease Attending and Director of Antibiotic Stewardship
Montfiore Medical Center

“Wash your hands frequently,” advises Dr. Ostrowsky. “There are many things you can do to keep your patients safe, but start simple and wash your hands!”
– Dr. Belinda Ostrowsky

“Dr. Ostrowsky is an active hands on participant in the Infection Control Program at our facility and will use any opportunity to educate all levels of the healthcare team on the importance of hand washing before and after contact with patients or the environment.”
— Grace Robinson, RN, Infection Control Practitioner
Montefiore Medical Center

lathem awardDr. William L. Sutker, Medical Director, Infection, Prevention and Control
Baylor Health Care System

“Dr. Sutker’s focused leadership, including routine hand hygiene rounding on patient units and personal discussions with non-compliant employees and physicians, was instrumental in reaching and maintaining [our] goal.”
— Judy Prescott, Director, Infection Prevention and Control
Baylor Health Care System

lathem awardDr. Bruce R. Williams, Hospitalist
Medical Center Enterprise

“The very first thing you notice about [Dr. Williams] is that he washes his hands, foams in and out of rooms, and he wears gloves. It is great to see firsthand his demonstration of hand hygiene compliance.”
– Belinda Arredondo, Nurse Manager
Medical Center Enterprise

lathem awardDr. Sam Windham, Co-Director SICU Critical Care Team, Trauma Surgeon
UAB Medical Center

“Dr. Windham is a ‘poster child’ for hand hygiene. He is one of the SICU unit directors and is a huge advocate for hand hygiene and infection prevention. Because of the excellent leadership of Dr. Windham in [the] SICU, our unit has a culture that expects everyone to perform hand hygiene prior to entry into the ICU patient rooms and before leaving the ICU patient rooms.”
– Cheri Plasters, RN
UAB Hospital

Dr. James Yates, Internal/Geriatric Medicine
Regional Medical Center Jacksonville

“I hope that this award will help encourage everyone to incorporate proper hand hygiene, for the protection of our patients and ourselves, into their regular routine.”
— Dr. James Yates

“[Dr. Yates] is very involved in decreasing the rate of hospital acquired infections in our community. He has truly been ‘leading by example’, and he is an inspiration to all of us to keep striving for excellence.”
— Christina Mullins, Director, Med/Surg
Regional Medical Center Jacksonville


Dr. Scott James, Infectious Disease/Virology Specialist
UAB Hospital

“Any success that we at Children’s of Alabama have had in this regard is due to the great work of our Hand Hygiene task force, where our goal is to change the culture concerning the importance of good hand hygiene. I am happy to accept this award on behalf of this hardworking and dedicated team.”
— Dr. Scott James

“Dr. James proved instrumental in recruiting the necessary physician support that contributed greatly to the success of [Children’s of Alabama’s] pilot [hand-hygiene] project. Dr. James committed nearly five months to the pilot effort which resulted in almost 10 percent increase in hand-hygiene compliance among staff and a marked decrease in HAIs.”
— Katie Stockton, Data Specialist – Risk Management
Children’s of Alabama

Dr. William O’Byrne, Anesthesiologist
UAB Hospital

“Dr. O’Byrne is a recognized leader in our organization when it comes to hand hygiene. He encourages hand hygiene by verbal reminders and more importantly by practicing great hand hygiene.”
— Deborah Grimes, AVP Chief Compliance Officer
Academic Medical Center

Dr. Tracy Osborne, Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist
TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center

“Dr. Osborne is extremely active with our facility and our staff regarding hand hygiene. She provides leadership and guidance with our infection control RN and routinely interacts with our staff providing education on the importance of hand washing to reduce and prevent infections.”
— Chris Staigl, Director Medicine/Surgery/IP Rehab
TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center

Dr. Blal Zafar, Hospitalist
River Park Hospital

“I don’t think of it as going above and beyond when I wash my hands. I consider it just another aspect of providing quality patient care – something that should be second nature to all healthcare professionals. Hand washing is just something I do countless times a day without thinking about it.”
— Dr. Blal Zafar

“Dr. Zafar is a kind man that has a true art of caring for his patients and staff. This is shown daily as he is a true example of how to promote safety for out patients and staff.”
— Julie Crabtree, Director of Infection Control and Employee Health
River Park Hospital

lathem awardDr. Ty Hughston, Internal Medicine Specialist
Shannon Medical Center

“Dr. Hughston volunteered to be our physician champion. In this role he has greatly contributed to our ability to obtain administrative support as well as his peer support for this [hand-hygiene] project.”
— Gerald Creel, RN
Shannon Medical Center

Dr. Michael Darville, Clinical Director ICU
Doctors Hospital

“Dr. Darville is a dedicated intensivist who is extremely passionate about patient safety. He provides support to nursing and infection control staff by engaging his physician colleagues regarding their noncompliance with hand-hygiene protocols and other breaches in patient safety policies.”
— Tamara Duncombe, Infection Control Coordinator
Doctors Hospital


lathem awardDr. Edmund Wroblewski, Chief Medical Officer
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

“I feel as though we have been given a gift: We have conclusive clinical data that a procedure as simple as proper hand washing technique can significantly reduce the incidence and spread of nosocomial infections. I strive to share this gift with all of my colleagues.”
— Dr. Edmund Wroblewski

“Dr. Wroblewski has added a great deal of administrative support to our hand hygiene program. He sits on our Infection Prevention and Control Committee and is very supportive of the best practice processes that we promote. We even received a compliment from a regulatory surveyor on the success of our program. I believe that part of the success is due to the support that our program receives from Dr. Wroblewski.”
— Leslie Stanfield, Director of Infection Prevention and Control
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

lathem awardDr. Robert Libke, MD, Specialist: Infectious Disease & Epidemiology
Saint Agnes Medical Center

“Dr. Libke has been instrumental in developing and supporting a hospital-wide accountability program for Hand hygiene which includes all staff and physicians. Hehas 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.”
— Christi Paradise, Infection Control Coordinator
Saint Agnes Medical Center

Dr. Michael Mohr, Physician
Apex Family Medicine

“When I observe our medical staff at Bingham Memorial, I am always thinking about Dr. Mohr at Apex Family Medicine in Denver. After shadowing Dr. Mohr for four months, there is not one instance where I observed him not washing his hands.

Because Dr. Mohr deals with infectious patients on a daily basis, he truly understands the importance of proper hand-hygiene. By encouraging his patients and his co-workers to wash his hands, he takes the extra step to educate his patient’s on proper hand-hygiene. “Prevention should be the first step in any healthcare setting. We must learn to manage and control these infectious diseases. Hand-hygiene is the first step”.
— Michael Matsuura, Quality Improvement Analyst/Infection Control Monitor
Bingham Memorial Hospital