April 12, 2012

VU pair head to capital for ‘Champions of Change’

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Vanderbilt’s Kristen Eckstrand and Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., recently took part in the White House’s ‘Champions of Change’ series.

VU pair head to capital for ‘Champions of Change’

Each week the White House highlights “Champions of Change” who are making an impact in communities and helping America rise to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University, and Kristen Eckstrand, an M.D./Ph.D. student in the School of Medicine, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., as participants in the series.

At the Champions of Change gathering, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) honored 10 individuals who are working to educate their community about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ehrenfeld and Eckstrand participated in a roundtable discussion, sharing their efforts on championing access to health care, particularly for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The event also included a town hall discussion about the ACA.

Ehrenfeld and Eckstrand recently participated in the White House LGBT Conference on Health where they met with senior leadership from HHS, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the National Institutes of Health and the White House to discuss health concerns of the LGBT community, including research, education and patient care.

Ehrenfeld divides his time among clinical practice, teaching and research. He also serves as director of Vanderbilt’s Center for Evidence-Based Anesthesia and as director of the Perioperative Data Systems Research Group.

Since receiving his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Ehrenfeld has focused on understanding how information technology can improve surgical safety. He has co-authored five textbooks and numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles.

In 2013, Ehrenfeld and Eckstrand begin co-teaching a month-long immersion course as part of the School of Medicine’s new curriculum titled “Sex, Sexuality and Sexual Health.”

Eckstrand is pursuing a dual M.D.Ph.D. degree through the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt. Eckstrand initiated and leads LGBT curriculum reform at VUMC and currently oversees Medical Center LGBT quality improvement efforts as an active participant on VUMC’s Cultural and Linguistics Council.

She is a 2011 recipient of the Vanderbilt Levi Watkins Jr. Student Award and was recently elected to serve on the Association of American Medical College LGBT Patient Care Advisory Committee.

Eckstrand has presented Vanderbilt’s ongoing work in integrating LGBT health care into undergraduate medical education, including the 2011 AAMC Annual Meeting and 2011 AAMC Leadership Session, to highlight institutional efforts addressing the gap in health care access and outcomes experienced by sexual and gender minorities.