Who is a Sepsis Hero?

When Sepsis Alliance held its first Celebration of Sepsis Heroes in 2012, the goal was to recognize individuals and organizations that made a difference in sepsis awareness, prevention, or education. Since that time, awareness has grown 10%. While we are making progress, still only 55% of US adults have heard of the disease, and the need for sepsis leadership continues to exist.

As part of the Sepsis Heroes process, each year we open up nominations to the public, asking for the names of people, groups, or companies that you feel deserve to honored because of their work in the sepsis field.

Here is a breakdown of what we are looking for in an honoree:

Individuals

A Sepsis Hero can be anyone who has worked to increase sepsis awareness by raising its profile in the media, organizing fundraisers, writing books, or working as an advocate by speaking at events and sharing their story. Over the past few years, we have honored sepsis survivors such as Jennifer Ludwin; authors, such as Gary Black and David Goldhill; sepsis advocates, such as Sam Bass and Jennifer Anderson; and a politician, Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State, who pioneered state legislation regarding sepsis recognition and treatment.

Healthcare Providers

Many of health professionals are setting an example for their peers by pushing for improvements in sepsis care. Over the past years, we have honored nurses, including Susan Irick and Laura Messineo; EMS professional and educator, Rom Duckworth; and researcher, Dr. Kevin Tracey, who is leading break-through research on the causes of sepsis.

Healthcare Facilities and Systems

Healthcare systems are at the forefront of sepsis care, and how they deal with early recognition and treatment response has a significant impact on how well patients do when they develop sepsis. Hospital systems previously honored as Sepsis Heroes are Carolinas Health System, Northwell Health System, and Intermountain Healthcare. They were honored for their work in improving staff education and implementing sepsis protocols, resulting in a decrease in deaths from sepsis.

Organizations

The organization category for Sepsis Heroes is a broad one. It ranges from groups of volunteers, such as the original Spike Out Sepsis team (Columbus, Ohio), to Every Mother Counts, which is a patient advocacy organization that works to reduce maternal mortality. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign was also honored in the first year.

Other Stakeholders

Aside from those mentioned, there are other groups and people who have a stake in improving sepsis awareness, diagnosis, and treatment. These include companies, such as GE Healthcare Education Services, which has been active in promoting sepsis education to healthcare professionals. In 2013, SA honored Mark Lambert, the first president of the organization.