Worldwide neonatal medicine community achieves “legendary” status

Posted by Karen Sonnwald on Mar 4, 2020 10:39:29 AM
2 minute read

Dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the major morbidities for very-low birth weight (VLBW) infants.

That’s the goal of the Vermont Oxford Network (VON) and the reason its 1,300 health care facilities and countless participants worldwide were named Legends of Neonatology at last week’s NEO Conference in San Diego, California.

The Legends of Neonatology Hall of Fame was established to celebrate the remarkable individuals — the “legends” — whose clinical contributions have helped forge new ground in neonatal medicine. In the award’s 14-year history, 2020 marks the first time an organization was given the honor. It’s a reflection of the collaborative nature of health care today, as well as the remarkable results that only a team approach can achieve.

“Important changes in health are rarely the results of just one person. Much more commonly, improvements in health care represent the contributions of a collaborative group,” said Reese Clark, MD, Vice President of Clinical Research at MEDNAX, NEO Conference co-director and recipient of the Legends award in 2019. “Each of us can name people in our lives who show up, volunteer, participate and provide excellent care. They help us succeed. When I spoke with Dr. Jeffrey Horbar [Vermont Oxford Network President & Chief Executive and Scientific Officer] early last year, he reminded me of this important fact; and for that reason, we selected the Vermont Oxford Network as the 2020 Legends of Neonatology award recipient.”

Erika Edwards, PhD, MPH, Director of Data Science for VON, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

A team approach

Founded in 1989, the VON is a non-profit voluntary collaboration of health care professionals and families in 30 countries. Their mission is to develop a worldwide community dedicated to improving quality, safety and value of care for newborns and their families through a coordinated program of data-driven quality improvement, education and research.

VON participants are diverse, including neonatologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, organizational leaders and more. The Legends of Neonatology award recognizes the VON’s variety of disciplines as well as families who play a critical role as working members of improvement teams. Many MEDNAX-affiliated neonatology practices participate in the Vermont Oxford Network.

VON data has resulted in more than 200 research papers; a recent publication, “Variation in Performance of Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the United States” shows the progress VON is making in reducing morbidities in VLBW infants.

“In addition to improving outcomes, the degree of variation among NICUs is decreasing,” says Dr. Clark. “Shared wisdom makes everyone get better. The impact is not limited to one or two NICUs but instead the phenomena of improvement is global.”


Learn more about the Vermont Oxford Network

View the Vermont Oxford Network member map


The Legends of Neonatology award is not associated with any fees, honoraria or financial support from NEO Conference, MEDNAX, or any of its commercial sponsors that participated in the meeting.

Topics: Neonatology, Awards & Recognition, Neonatal Intensive Care