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Sharp Health News

Sharp hospice program wins Hearst Health Prize

July 5, 2021

Sharp hospice program wins Hearst Health Prize

Dr. Daniel Hoefer, chief medical officer of outpatient palliative medicine for Sharp HealthCare, and Suzi K. Johnson, MPH, RN, vice president of hospice and palliative care at Sharp, receive the Hearst Health Prize on behalf of Sharp HospiceCare.

For many San Diegans living with an advanced chronic illness, Sharp HealthCare’s Transitions Advanced Illness Management Program has provided them and their families with the personalized support to manage their illness at home.

The local program was recognized nationally when it was announced as the winner of the annual Hearst Health Prize at the Jefferson College of Population Health’s 19th Annual Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia.

The prize, which is sponsored by Hearst Health in partnership with the Jefferson College of Population Health, recognizes those that have made remarkable improvements in population health. The Transitions program was one of three finalists in the competition. As the winner, Transitions received $100,000.

“We are thrilled to be chosen among so many deserving, worthwhile programs,” says Suzi K. Johnson, vice president of Sharp HospiceCare, which oversees the Transitions program. “On behalf of the Transitions team, it is an honor to be recognized for our efforts in providing home-based palliative care for patients with advanced and progressive chronic illness. Our goal is to ensure that the care we put forth improves quality of life for both the patient and entire family.”

Personalized approach to helping patients manage disease at home
The Transitions program serves those living with advanced conditions of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure and dementia, who are too early in the disease to be receiving hospice services. According to Johnson, the Transitions program has resulted in a significant decrease in inpatient hospital mortality; emergency department visits and hospitalizations; and reduced health care costs for patients.

Applicants for the Hearst Health Prize were judged on their respective program’s population health impact or outcome demonstrated by measurable improvement; use of evidence-based interventions and best practices to improve the quality of care; promotion of communication, collaboration and engagement; scalability and sustainability; and innovation.

“We are proud to present the Hearst Health Prize to Sharp Transitions in honor of its proven palliative care program, which has made a wonderful impact on the quality of life of patients and their families in the local community,” says Gregory Dorn, MD, MPH, president of Hearst Health. “The Transitions program serves as a leading example for population health programs across the country because it provides personalized, patient-centered care for those fighting their chronic illness.”

For the news media: To talk with Suzi Johnson about the Sharp Transitions program, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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