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Shepherd Center's Top 10 Accomplishments of 2018

Shepherd Center President and CEO, Sarah Morrison, PT, MBA, MHA, looks back on a successful 2018.

By Sarah Morrison, PT, MBA, MHA
Shepherd Center President and CEO

As a new year approaches and we look back on 2018, it is truly amazing to see all of the accomplishments that we – volunteers, board members, staff, donors, patients and families – have made together. Here’s a look at Shepherd Center’s top 10 accomplishments of 2018.

10. Shepherd Center was once again ranked among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Our #9 ranking stems, in part, from the number and quality of professional presentations/publications, awards and national committee work done by many of our clinicians, as well as the world-class, specialized medical and rehabilitation care we provide for people with spinal cord and brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions.

9. Due to a generous donor, Shepherd Center’s CT scanner became operational in August 2018. As of late November 2018, having a CT scanner in house has saved about 400 hours of nursing staff time by eliminating the need to move patients to the adjacent Piedmont Atlanta Hospital for these scans. This allows our nurses more time to be on the rehabilitation units with our patients.

8. The Georgia Hospital Association presented a Hospital Heroes Award to Minna Hong, who retired in spring 2018 as Shepherd Center’s SCI peer support manager.

7. Shepherd Center was voted as one of the Best Places to Work by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in the extra-large organization category, and it was the only healthcare organization recognized in the top eight.

6. Shepherd Center launched two successful community outreach efforts: 1) We launched the NeuroRehabilitation Learning Institute to offer interdisciplinary professional education to support treatment of complex neurological conditions such as brain and spinal cord injury. We are committed to sharing our expertise with clinicians nationwide so that our patients receive informed care to meet their needs once they return to their communities. 2) In partnership with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and IT management consulting firm CapTec, Shepherd Center launched AutoCoach 2.0. The updated version of this popular app for parents teaching teen drivers provides expert guidance on how to teach new drivers with disabilities.

5. The Washington Post posthumously published a half-page letter from the late Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and former Shepherd Center patient, on his incredible experience at Shepherd Center. This is a testament to our staff who directly and indirectly work with our patients and families. The commitment of our staff also leads to consistent patient satisfaction scores of 94 to 98 in ranking the likelihood of recommending Shepherd Center to others.

4. Shepherd Center Director of Multiple Sclerosis Research Debbie Backus, PT, Ph.D., began research funded by the hospital’s largest research grant to date – a PCORI grant of $5.7 million over four years to study the delivery and effects of exercise for people with MS. This grant signifies the commitment of our Crawford Research Institute in securing grants that directly improve the care we provide our patients. Shepherd researchers have garnered current multi-year grants that total more than $17 million.

3. Shepherd Center Foundation set two records: 1) The Legendary Party honoring Harold and Alana Shepherd raised $6.2 million; 2) The employee giving campaign (ShepherdCares) raised more than $190,000 with 85 percent of Shepherd Center staff contributing to the campaign. The commitment of the Foundation, volunteer program and all Shepherd employees allows the continuation of our differentiating, value-added services.

2. Shepherd Center acquired 2.6 acres of land to expand our family housing program. Shepherd Center is committed to reducing the financial and emotional burden our families experience during one of the most challenging times of their lives. This housing expansion will allow for our families to stay with their loved one for as long as they are at Shepherd Center.

1. The naming of the J. Harold Shepherd Parkway section of Peachtree Road honored Shepherd Center co-founder, the late Harold Shepherd. This is a testament to the incredible contributions Harold Shepherd made to Atlanta and beyond, as well as to the community support for the Shepherd family and the recognition of Shepherd Center’s ability to provide its patients with hope, dignity and independence.

SARAH MORRISON, PT, MBA, MHA, is president and CEO of Shepherd Center. Since 1984, Morrison has served in various leadership roles at Shepherd Center, including vice president of clinical services, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program, director of the medical/surgical and ICU programs, manager of the spinal cord injury day program, a physical therapy supervisor and a physical therapist.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.