On Dec. 10, 2020, the Puget Sound Business Journal will virtually host its second annual Health Care Leadership Awards, which recognize innovative Puget Sound healthcare leaders whose work has had a lasting impact on the region.
This year’s 13 award recipients are individuals who are keeping our community safe by leading local and national COVID-19 response efforts, be it in the lab, hospital or boardroom.
The 2020 UW Medicine honorees are Helen Chu, MD, MPH, associate professor of Medicine and Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Paul Hayes, RN, former chief executive officer at Harborview Medical Center; and Christopher Murray, MD, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
Researcher of the Year: Helen Chu
Chu received the Researcher of the Year Award for her work tracking the COVID-19 outbreak through the Seattle Flu Study.
The Seattle Flu Study is a seasonal flu and respiratory infection tracking framework that helps detect early cases, track spread and prevent transmission.
After the first national case of COVID-19 occurred in the Seattle area, Chu and her team discovered COVID-19 was spreading undetected through the Seattle community. The team quickly created a COVID-19 test and developed the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN), which provided community testing via swab-and-send test kits.
Through SCAN, Chu and her colleagues send tests directly to people’s homes, creating an accessible testing option for people in every part of the county.
Chu and her team continue to serve the community by sending tests to underserved populations in the Seattle area and conducting contact tracing.
Hospital Executive of the Year: Paul Hayes
Hayes received the Hospital Executive of the Year Award for leading Harborview Medical Center’s COVID-19 response.
Hayes helped create innovative strategies to respond to the virus, including home-based testing and a walk-in and drive-up COVID-19 testing sites.
Under Hayes’ leadership, Harborview implemented new policies and procedures to help underserved populations in the Seattle area. Hayes oversaw the creation of mobile testing vans that brought COVID-19 testing into the community as well as the transition of Harborview Hall into a respite care unit for people experiencing homelessness.
After six years as Harborview’s CEO and a career of public service, Hayes retired on Dec. 4.
Public Health Leader of the Year: Christopher Murray
Murray received the Public Health Leader of the Year Award for his work with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), creating models of how the coronavirus spreads and forecasting case and death rates nationally and globally.
When the pandemic came to the U.S., Murray oversaw the creation of a new model to forecast peak hospital resource usage for the UW Medicine hospital system in just 10 days. This model was later expanded to cover the U.S. and countries across the globe.
The IHME models provide vital information to policymakers at all levels of government, as well as the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union and other global health organizations.
Through his work, Murray has been a global leader in tracking the progress of the pandemic.
Editor’s note: this article was edited on Dec. 14, 2020 to update Helen Chu’s title.