The University of Minnesota Medical School is proud to announce that three faculty members have been recognized by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s first-ever Health Care Heroes awards.

The magazine launched its newly created Healthcare Heroes awards program in 2021 to honor individuals’ remarkable efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Honorees were chosen across 11 different categories, ranging from Innovator to Medical Research to Health Equity Champion.

Our 2021 honorees include:

Category: Health Care Executive — Hospital-based
This award honors an executive of a Twin Cities-based hospital with a track record of vision and leadership within the organization and community.

Abraham Jacob, MD, MHA
Chief Quality Officer, M Health Fairview
Chief Quality Officer, M Physicians
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School

Protecting patients and healthcare workers during the pandemic required a bold vision and rapid decision-making as M Health Fairview navigated national medical equipment supply shortages and adapted to an evolving understanding of COVID-19. Chief Quality Officer Abraham Jacob, MD, MHA, played an integral role in the system’s ability to meet these challenges. In the early months of the pandemic, Dr. Jacob led the development of critical safety measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution, guidelines around PPE use and COVID-19 testing. More recently, he has helped oversee efforts to safely, efficiently and equitably vaccinate employees and patients for COVID-19. Thanks to Dr. Jacob’s leadership and commitment to a “Safety Always” culture throughout the organization, M Health Fairview was the first health system in Minnesota to implement universal masking early in the pandemic.

Category: Medical Researcher
This award honors a physician-scientist or research scientist working in the Twin Cities and making great strides within his or her research specialty.

Susan Kline, MD, MPH
Interim Division Director and Professor for Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School
Infectious Disease Physician, M Health Fairview

Susan Kline, MD, MPH, served as a principal investigator on critically important clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to those trials, patients and families in Minnesota had early access to important new treatments that have proven to be lifesaving. Her vital work has contributed to better survival outcomes for COVID-19 patients statewide. Dr. Kline and her researchers continue to develop and conduct trials for promising treatments that may help us better understand how to prevent, treat and recover from a COVID-19 infection.

Category: Health Entrepreneur
This award honors an entrepreneur in the health care or health care tech business scene who is making strides in the industry.

Chris Tignanelli, MD, MS
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota Medical School
Critical Care Surgeon, M Health Fairview

Chris Tignanelli, MD, MS, is passionate about the use of artificial intelligence and health informatics to improve healthcare. Relying on his expertise, Dr. Tignanelli and a team of researchers developed an algorithm during the pandemic to identify potential COVID-19 cases based upon the results of chest X-rays. The team’s research will soon be published in an academic journal and submitted for FDA approval. Upon approval, the new algorithm will be available at no cost for more than 450 healthcare systems worldwide, which could help identify COVID-19 patients sooner while protecting healthcare workers from unintentional exposure to COVID-19.