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Sanjay Saint Earns 2022 Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research

Sanjay Saint

Dr. Sanjay Saint has earned the 2022 Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research, the highest honor for a VA Health services researcher.

“The mission of Health Services Research and Development Service within the VA is to improve how health care is delivered, ensure that it is done in as cost-efficient manner as possible, as patient centered manner as possible. The way I think about health services research is that it’s the study of how health systems interact with society," said Dr. Sanjay Saint. 

VIDEO: Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH, MACP, has earns the 2022 Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research.

Dr. Saint, a senior research scientist at Health Services Research and Development Center for Clinic Management Research at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, areas of primary research focus on preventing hospital acquired infections, appropriate urinary catheter use, and provider/patient communications.

“More recently we’ve been focused on how to improve communication between physicians and patients, especially related to the concept of creating a clinic milieu where sacred moments are more likely to occur," explain Dr. Saint. “Sacred moments are when time stands still when two people are interacting. When there’s energy to the interaction and it tends to be memorable.”

“I’ve had several of these taking care of Veterans and it helps me remind myself why I do what I do. "You can’t put a price tag or anything else on one of these types of interactions, but once you have it, you just feel blessed that you’re someone’s doctor," he continued. 

Dr. Saint’s VA career spans more than two decades, supported by numerous grants totaling more than 40 million in direct funding. His award highlights his ability to understand factors affecting Veteran’s health, training the next generation of VA researchers, and bringing national recognition to VA’s research community through high quality research projects. 

Dr. Saint’s award caps off a one of the most successful years for VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System’s research enterprise. Dr. Saint joins fellow VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System researchers Sarah Krein, John Piette, and Laura Damschroder, earning prestigious HSR&D awards for the 2022 year. 

“I think it has to do with leadership and culture. We have a wonderful director and leadership team that understands the value of research and investing in research and, importantly, we also have close and supportive partners at the University of Michigan, an organization well known for its research prowess,” said Dr. Saint. 

Most of all, Dr. Saint credits the Veterans he’s cared for throughout his career that has made him the doctor he is today. 

“What it means for me is that I’ve been able to give back to Veterans. I’ve become a better doctor because I learned how to be a doctor by taking care of Veterans. When I was a medical student, as a resident, as a fellow, and moving up the academic ranks. I feel like things have come full circle.” 

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