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UTHSC’s Giancarlo Mari Wins 2017 Innovation Award

Dr. Giancarlo Mari, center, is a 2017 Innovations Award winner for the OB F.A.S.T. simulation program that trains health care workers to better handle obstetrical emergencies. He is pictured with is team, from left,  Ravpreet Gill, MD, anesthesiologist; Danielle Tate, MD, FACOG, director; and Bonnie Miller, RN, patient safety nurse. (Photo by Peggy Reisser/UTHSC)

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is dedicated to reducing the infant mortality rate in Shelby County and beyond, Giancarlo Mari, MD, FACOG, FAIUM, MBA, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said Wednesday in accepting an award for the innovative work he leads to achieve this goal.

Dr. Mari, who also directs the High-Risk Obstetrics Center of Excellence at Regional One Health, is one of the winners of the 2017 Innovation Awards from Inside Memphis Business magazine. The prestigious awards annually recognize the vision, endurance, and innovation that make Memphis and Shelby County a better place to live. The awards were announced at a breakfast at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis.

Dr. Mari is the founder and developer of OB F.A.S.T. (Obstetrical Feasible Approach to Safety Training), an innovative simulation program to train health care workers to more efficiently handle obstetrical emergencies. These include cardiac arrest, sepsis, anesthetic emergencies, respiratory distress, fetal heart rate distress, umbilical cord prolapse, breech delivery, postpartum hemorrhage. and other complications.

Along with Dr. Mari, the OB F.A.S.T. leadership team includes Danielle Tate, MD, FACOG, director; Ravpreet Gill, MD, anesthesiologist; and Bonnie Miller, RN, patient safety nurse in obstetrics and gynecology at Regional One Health.

OB F.A.S.T has trained between 500 and 1,000 health care providers in 20 states, and most recently in the province of Henan in China, at the invitation of the Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University. The hospital is one of the top facilities for maternal and child health in China.

The program, part of quality improvements Dr. Mari launched at Regional One after joining UTHSC in 2008, has contributed to a decrease in the infant mortality rate in Shelby County for very-low-birth-weight babies from 20 percent above the expected to 20 percent below.

In noting this accomplishment, Dr. Mari praised the team, saying it is a joint effort, and citing each member for his or her contributions.

Also recognized were Charlie McVean and Charlie Newman for bringing the city’s Big River Crossing to fruition; Brian Sorrentino, MD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for pioneering gene therapy treatment for children with severe combined immunodeficiency; and Julie Romine for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis’s Aging in Place program.

“They’re not only making lives better, but they’re saving lives,” Inside Memphis Business Editor Jon Sparks said of the winners. “Memphis is all the better for having these people in its midst.”