The prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE award as it is also known, was recently awarded to a BCM professor. Dr. Hardeep Singh, an associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of the Health Policy, Quality & Informatics program at the Houston VA Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, will be presented the award by President Obama at the White House at some point this year. President Obama highlighted in recent comments the particular honor that comes with the PECASE awards, which are considered to be the highest U.S. government honor for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers: “The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead,” he said, adding, “We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America’s global leadership for many years to come.”
Dr. Singh’s innovative multidisciplinary research on missed and delayed diagnosis and patient safety improvement in electronic health record-based clinical settings has set apart as a leader in his discipline, which in turn led to his nomination and reception of this year’s PECASE award. His work directly involves health services research such as “understanding and reducing diagnostic errors in the outpatient setting, especially missed and delayed cancer diagnosis; use of health information technology to identify and reduce diagnostic errors; and patient safety related to the implementation and use of electronic health records,” according to a recent news release from BCM. Due to the critics point in history that America finds itself in maintaining a high level of healthcare quality in the United States, Dr. Singh’s research is particularly prescient.
In addition to his unique research focus, Dr. Singh has also been recognized in the past for his accomplishments. In 2012, he received the Academy Health Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award due to his groundbreaking, nationally-recognized research, which has been published in leading scientific journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA. His research has also been used in several national policy reports as academic citations. Currently, Dr. Singh is also serving as an appointee on a CDC-run federal advisory committee seeking to shape policies that would improve diagnostic test results communication in the VA.
Singh remarked on the recent honor by stating, “To be the recipient of such a prestigious award is an incredible honor. Much remains to be done to make health care safer for all and I hope this recognition will inspire others to join our efforts to shape policy and practice through rigorous research.” Singh is working to train the next generation of interdisciplinary patient safety researchers to keep the field at the leading edge of innovation and to improve medical practice in a health care system increasingly defined by health information technology.