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Gage Awards

Through the Gage Awards, the association recognizes members for implementing successful improvement projects; spreads best practices and innovative programs to other organizations; and supports our research, policy, and advocacy work by sharing stories of members’ success with external audiences.




Excellence and Innovation in Care: The 2021 Gage Awards


Gage Awards


Population Health

Memorial Healthcare System
Mothers Overcoming Maternal Stress (MOMS)

Harris Health System
FoodRx: A Cross-Sector Approach to Improving
Health and Health Equity



Hennepin Healthcare
Reducing 30-Day Readmissions in a Population Experiencing Homlessness

Honorable Mention
NYC Health + Hospitals
The High Value Care Initiative

Honorable Mention
Truman Medical Centers | University Health
Conexiones: Cultural Health Navigation



In addition to the winners and honorable mention projects, we identify programs that
raise the bar for innovative responses to the many challenges of COVID-19.


Parkland Health & Hospital System
Parkland Health & Hospital System used analytical tools to monitor and respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19, and to target testing and vaccinations to underserved people in Dallas County, Texas. By late December 2020, Parkland had identified more than 34,500 positive COVID-19 cases and flagged more than 10,000 patients as high-risk to initiate outreach and care.

New York City Health and Hospitals
New York City Health and Hospitals responded to a shortage of palliative care employees by recruiting more than 400 tele-palliative medicine volunteers through a nationwide social media campaign. Of those, 64 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants completed expedited credentialing and assisted with remote care consultations at five of the health system’s acute-care hospitals.

LAC+USC Medical Center
LAC+USC Medical Center, in Los Angeles, optimized patient outcomes and preserved critical acute-care access during the pandemic by designing and deploying its SAFE @ Home O2 program. The initiative enabled patients requiring low levels of oxygen support to be managed at home. Over the past year, LAC+USC Medical Center discharged on home oxygen more than 1,600 patients with COVID-19.

University Medical Center of El Paso
University Medical Center of El Paso piloted a program to allow adult family members to visit hospitalized patients once a week for two hours. Visitors were required to use hospital-provided personal protective equipment and a powered air-purifying respirator, at a cost of $250 each—the hospital’s only expense related to the program. The program has enhanced patients’ feeling of safety, and initial results point toward improved recovery rates for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Grady Health System
Grady Health System, in Atlanta, organized student volunteers in an outreach call program to screen patients for COVID-19. The system used artificial intelligence to identify patients at highest risk of poor outcomes if they were to contract the coronavirus. To date, the students have made more than 4,600 patient calls, identifying in half the calls answered at least one health care need that required action and 20 percent with social needs.

UMASS Memorial Medical Center
UMASS Memorial Medical Center, in Worcester, Massachusetts, reduced the spread of COVID-19, minimized preventable deaths, and lowered use of its emergency department and ICU, with a multipronged, community-based campaign to target high-risk neighborhoods. The program deployed mobile care staff to answer questions in multiple languages, distribute PPE, and spearhead testing.

Boston Medical Center
To counter a drop in pediatric visits to the hospital as COVID-19 surged, Boston Medical Center launched the BMC Pediatrics Mobile Outreach Program. The program conducts home visits to provide vaccinations, mental health care, child care support, domestic violence assistance, and neonatal care. It also addresses patients’ unmet social needs, such as food insecurity. The program reaches more than 200 families each week.

San Joaquin General Hospital
San Joaquin General Hospital collaborated with county clinics to quickly transition to a community-based model of pop-up testing sites in areas with large numbers of people experiencing homelessness and migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. The initiative has conducted thousands of COVID-19 tests, including in areas with transportation barriers to testing, and prevented potential outbreaks among these at-risk populations.



Population Health

Gage Awards for population health recognize successful programs that aim to improve health outcomes for a defined population or community by addressing the social and economic factors that influence health.

Population health programs are not all alike, but key features could include:

  • working outside the walls of the hospital to improve the health of individuals living in a specified geographic area (e.g., county, city, etc.);
  • a focus on promoting equitable health outcomes for vulnerable populations;
  • using community-based resources to support population health;
  • targeting social factors (e.g., housing instability, food insecurity, utility needs, interpersonal violence, and transportation);
  • creating a learning organization that is capable of rapid deployment of best practices; and
  • forming partnerships in the community to address population health.

  • Judging Criteria
Judging Criteria
  • The project was well-defined.
  • A rigorous needs assessment and a program evaluation were used.
  • The program addressed social determinants of health/upstream factors.
  • The program was accessible to patients geographically, not just those already attributed to the health care system.
  • The program seeks to reduce inequity in vulnerable populations.
  • Patients, families, or the community were engaged in the design, planning, or development of the program.
  • The program effectively used community-based resources and partnered with other community organizations.
  • At least one year of data was reported.
  • The results and baseline data demonstrated improved health outcomes.


Gage Awards for quality recognize activities that:

  • improve the quality of care delivered;
  • improve patient experience;
  • engage patients and their families; and/or
  • reduce or eliminate harmful events affecting individual patients or groups of patients.

Improvement programs may include the use of evidence-based interventions, standardized practices, bundles of care, and checklists.

  • Judging Criteria
Judging Criteria
  • The project was well-defined.
  • A form of evaluation was used.
  • Leadership was engaged in the project.
  • Front-line staff was involved in the project.
  • Patients or families were engaged in the design, planning, or development of the program.
  • At least one year of data was reported.
  • The project results demonstrated improved outcomes.
  • The project’s outcomes promoted health equity.

COVID-19 Innovations (Temporary)

Gage Awards in the COVID-19 Innovations category highlight innovative practices, projects, and programs related to the coronavirus pandemic. This temporary category captures creative solutions for the current or potential future pandemics within the hospital or in its community.

COVID-19 Innovations are not all alike, but could include data and population surveillance, testing, communications, therapeutics, vaccine development, clinical trials and research, disparities reduction, community outreach, workforce programs, mental health programs, telehealth, empowering residents, resilience planning, or supply chain modifications. This is not an exhaustive list.

America’s Essential Hospitals will not select a winner and honorable mention in this category. Instead, the association will recognize five submissions for their innovations.

  • Judging Criteria
Judging Criteria
  • The project was well-defined.
  • A form of evaluation was used.
  • Patients, families, and/or the community were engaged and involved in the project, including, but not limited to, sharing information.
  • The project uniquely addressed barriers and supported the hospital or community during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The project made progress toward improved outcomes.
  • The project’s outcomes promoted health equity.


America’s Essential Hospitals will formally honor Gage Award recipients on June 24, and publish a news release about the recipients to coincide with this event. The association also will feature Gage Award recipients in various communications, including website articles, newsletters, and other publications.

Recipients are often called on to describe their work in other visible venues, such as on a webinar hosted by America’s Essential Hospitals or on, an Essential Hospitals Institute site focused on population health and social determinants.

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