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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Researcher Honored with Prestigious Presidential Award

January 3, 2014

A patient safety researcher has been named a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Hardeep Singh, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Health Policy, Quality & Informatics program at the Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), will receive the award from President Obama at a White House ceremony later this year.

PECASE awards are the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. “The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead,” President Obama said. “We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America’s global leadership for many years to come.”
Dr. Singh received this award for his groundbreaking multidisciplinary research on missed and delayed diagnosis and patient safety improvement in electronic health record-based clinical settings. He is recognized for his innovative health services research in several related areas, including understanding and reducing diagnostic errors in the outpatient setting, especially missed and delayed cancer diagnosis; use of health information technology to identify and reduce diagnostic errors; and patient safety related to the implementation and use of electronic health records. In 2012, Dr. Singh received the AcademyHealth Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award in recognition of the national significance of his work. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA and cited in several national policy reports. Dr. Singh was recently appointed to a federal advisory committee based at CDC and is currently leading national policy development efforts to improve diagnostic test results communication in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 “To be the recipient of such a prestigious award is an incredible honor,” said Singh. “Much remains to be done to make health care safer for all and I hope this recognition will inspire others to join our efforts to shape policy and practice through rigorous research.” Singh is working to train the next generation of interdisciplinary patient safety researchers to keep the field at the leading edge of innovation and to improve medical practice in a health care system increasingly defined by health information technology.

“Dr. Singh has rapidly become a pre-eminent researcher in the areas of reducing diagnostic errors and leveraging health information technology to improve safety,” said Laura Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Houston VA Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and Chief of the BCM Section of Health Services Research. “The value of his work is already apparent in many areas of improving patient care. I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for such an honor.”

The Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety is the largest health services research center in the Southwest. The Center conducts high-quality scientific research that improves the health of Veterans and patients across the nation, by helping to ensure the patient-centered delivery of scientific discoveries.