Henry Ford Hospital Neurologist Honored for Patient Safety Award

March 26, 2013


DETROIT – Henry Ford Hospital neurologist Marianna Spanaki-Varelas, M.D., Ph.D., has received the American Academy of Neurology Patient Safety Award for developing an initiative that dramatically reduced patient falls in the hospital’s epilepsy monitoring unit.

Dr. Spanaki-Varelas was presented with the award March 17 at the 2013 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The honor recognizes patient care improvement projects that meet national patient safety goals of the Joint Commission, which accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations in the country.

In response to a falls committee report that showed the epilepsy monitoring unit had a high rate of patient falls due to seizures, Dr. Spanaki-Varelas led a safety initiative that implemented a series of clinical and process improvements. The changes reduced patient falls 15 percent from 2009-2011.

Dr. Spanaki-Varelas is now spreading the safety improvements to other units in the hospital where patients with seizures may be admitted.

Dr. Spanaki-Varelas is board certified in neurology and specializes in treating epilepsy. She earned her medical degree at the University of Patras in Greece, and completed post-graduate training at Eginition Hospital in Greece, Yale University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.