Skip to Content
Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

VA Palo Alto doctors receive prestigious John M. Eisenberg award

2020 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety & Quality Awards
Two doctors at VA Palo Alto Health Care System were recognized with the prestigious 2020 Eisenberg Awards.

Two doctors at VA Palo Alto Health Care System are both being recognized by The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum (NQF) with the prestigious 2020 Eisenberg Awards.

The 2020 Eisenberg Award is a prestigious program aimed at recognizing the best examples of individual, local, and national efforts to improve patient safety and health care quality.

Dr. David Gaba is a staff anesthesiologist and director of the Patient Simulation Center of Innovation at VA Palo Alto Health Care System, who received the Individual Achievement award for his career as an educator, researcher, scholar, physician, and institutional leader.

“I’m honored and humble to receive this award and to be placed alongside many other recipients who I consider to be mentors and inspirations. I surely could not have achieved the accomplishments for which I am receiving the award without such forward-thinking support at VA Palo Alto,” said Dr. Gaba.

Dr. Gaba’s innovations have led the field in:

  • Invention, use, and commercialization of modern mannequin-based simulation
  • Adaptation of Crew Resource Management (CRM) from aviation to use within anesthesiology was adapted by Dr. Gaba’s group in the late 1980s as part of simulation-based training
  • Creation and promulgation of multi-event “cognitive aids” for real-time use in time-critical, life-threatening situations

Dr. Elizabeth M. Oliva is an Investigator at VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s Center for Innovation and Implementation (Ci2i) and is the VA National Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Coordinator. Dr. Oliva led VA Rapid Naloxone Initiative implementation efforts in 2018 with support from VA’s Diffusion of Excellence program. The initiative was recognized for the National Level Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality award. 

“Naloxone is used to reverse opioid overdose, and its timely administration during an overdose saves lives,” said Dr. Oliva. “VA is at the forefront of this fight, changing lives every day through the Rapid Naloxone Initiative, the Opioid Safety Initiative, Substance Use Disorder Treatment, and our Whole Health approach to improving overall well-being.”

This concerted approach has equipped 301,084 VA patients, 3,552 VA police officers, and 1,095 AED cabinets with naloxone. VA’s efforts have resulted in 2,083 opioid overdose reversals, with 136 additional opioid overdose reversals facilitated by VA police and 10 with AED cabinet naloxone.

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002, honors the late John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA, former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), an impassioned advocate for health care quality improvement.

The achievements of each honoree will be featured in a special issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety later this summer. The recipients were also recognized in a virtual awards presentation during the NQF Annual Conference in July 2021.

See all stories