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Attendees had the chance to network with colleagues across the health system and review the more than 130 poster abstracts selected for presentation. Six teams from YNHH received top awards for their projects. Visit the YNHH intranet for photos of the teams and their projects.

Gratitude overflows at Safety, Quality and Experience Conference 

There was no shortage of gratitude, as hospital leadership and a dynamic group of speakers came together June 2 to thank Yale New Haven Health employees for their work over the past two years and highlight collective improvements in safety, quality and the patient experience.

The Joseph A. Zaccagnino Safety, Quality, and Experience Conference, sponsored by Yale New Haven Health, Yale Medicine and Yale School of Medicine, drew more than 1,200 employees and faculty from across the three organizations to the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford for the day-long event.

“Today is about gratitude,” said Christopher O’Connor, CEO and president of YNHHS. “Today is about reflecting on the care and the work you have done and the opportunity that is in front of us. We have an opportunity to be exceptional, and with everybody in this room – your focus, your dedication and commitment – the sky’s the limit.”

The day was filled with uplifting patient and employee stories of gratitude as well as a special message of appreciation from Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

“It is a great privilege to be with you today, albeit virtually,” Dr. Fauci said. “I want to send a special thank you to all clinicians, researchers, administrative personnel, cleaning staff and food service staff of the Yale New Haven healthcare community. In this pandemic, our hospitals and other healthcare organizations have been stressed to the limit. You’ve been challenged beyond measure, and have demonstrated exceptional commitment in responding with dedication, professionalism and empathy.” 

Attendees also heard from inspirational guest speaker Dr. BJ Miller, on patient-centered care, palliative and end-of-life care; and Nick Propper, CEO and impact coach with Impact Human Performance, who provided tips to help employees re-prioritize their focus on managing energy, not time. Laurie Santos, PhD, a psychologist and expert on human cognition, spoke about “Staying Healthy during Tough Times: Evidence-Based Tips for Improving Mental Health” in her keynote address.

Chloe Shevlin, quality and safety coordinator, Smilow Cancer Hospital, said she found Dr. Miller’s perspectives on palliative care and Propper’s presentation about leveraging high performance with realistic recovery to be particularly powerful. 

“Overall, I think the conference was very inspiring and motivating and something that we really need right now,” Shevlin said. “It’s never going to be a perfect world, so what are we going to do today to do our best and be the best we can be? That was the most powerful message,” she said. 

Six teams from YNHH and YNHHS received top honors for their poster abstracts from among the 130 submitted:

  • Safety Award Winner: Inpatient General Surgery’s Reduction of Falls and Falls with Injury
  • Quality Award Winner: Using Quality Improvement to Increase MyChart Enrollment in a Children’s Specialty Center
  • Experience Award Winner: 6-3 Improving Responsiveness One Hour at a Time
  • Engagement Award Winner: The Unmarried Model: Meeting Precepting Needs Through Staffing Shortages
  • YNHH Delivery Network Award Winner: Trans-Abdominal Surgical Site Infection
  • YNHHS Award Winner: (Don’t) Take My Breath Away: Portable Oxygen Tank Safety

A videorecording of the conference and the poster abstracts will be posted to the conference website soon. 


Safety, Quality and Experience Conference co-chairs Tina Bennett, chief experience officer, YNHHS, and Steven Choi, MD, chief quality officer, YNHHS and Yale Medicine, opened the conference with appreciation and gratitude to employees and staff for their commitment to patient care across the health system, Yale Medicine and Yale School of Medicine. Alan Friedman, MD, chief medical officer, YNHH, and Christian Pettker, MD, chief patient safety officer, YNHHS and Yale Medicine, also served as committee co-chairs in organizing the event.


Gov. Ned Lamont made a special appearance at the conference, June 2, at the Oakdale Theatre. He stressed the important role healthcare organizations have played during the pandemic, noting the remarkable resilience of healthcare workers at YNHHS and their commitment to treating Connecticut residents.


More than 1,200 employees, staff and faculty across YNHHS, Yale Medicine and Yale School of Medicine attended the annual Safety, Quality and Experience Conference, which had been put on hold the last two years. Attendees were greeted with a videotaped message from Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.