Meet the 2023 Family Choice Award Winners Making a Difference in Patient’s Lives

The 2023 Family Choice Award winners (clockwise from top left): Dr. Katie Albert; Emily Bay, RN; Dr. Yongdong (Dan) Zhao; and the Ophthalmology Department

Seattle Children’s providers, nurses and other team members chose their professions because they care deeply about helping kids live the healthiest and most fulfilling lives possible.

For them, it isn’t about winning awards — it’s about the positive impact they can have on patients’ lives.

But by performing their jobs in an exemplary fashion, they do sometimes end up winning awards.

On the Pulse shares the winners of the 2023 Family Choice Awards, one of Seattle Children’s top honors.

Nearly 700 nominations were submitted by patients and families this year, with the final winners chosen by a Family Advisory Council who selected three individuals and one team that  exemplified the excellent, compassionate and family-centered care Seattle Children’s strives to provide.

Learn more about each award recipient below.

Dr. Katie Albert, attending physician, Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Seattle Children’s

Nomination Excerpt: “Before I met Dr. Katie Albert this past December, I was in hospice care with relapsed, metastatic cancer that was unresponsive to existing therapies. While on hospice, I found the STRIvE-01 clinical trial, led by Dr. Albert. This trial was testing CAR T-cell therapy not only in children, but also in young adults like myself with relapsed pediatric solid tumors.

After feeling like my time was imminently coming to an end, finding this trial was like a breath of fresh air. I came to Seattle Children’s because of Dr. Albert’s clinical trial, but I’ve stayed here because of Dr. Albert herself — she exemplifies the qualities of family-centered care.”

Emily Bay, registered nurse, Cardiology Clinic at Seattle Children’s

Nomination Excerpt: Our son Sawyer was first diagnosed with hypoplastic right heart syndrome in utero when I was 20 weeks pregnant. A few hours after our 20-week anatomy scan, we received a phone call from Emily explaining what hypoplastic right heart syndrome is. It was one of the worst days of our lives — but I still remember Emily’s reassuring voice.

Fast forward to when Sawyer was born and transferred to Seattle Children’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Emily stopped by Sawyer’s room to introduce herself. In such a whirlwind of events and emotions, it was so nice to meet Emily. From that moment, I knew Sawyer would have a strong advocate in Emily for the rest of his life.”

Dr. Yongdong (Dan) Zhao, director of Clinical Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO) Program at Seattle Children’s

Nomination Excerpt: “Dr. Zhao and really the entire CRMO team at Seattle Children’s Hospital are so accommodating. He takes the time to explain things to me so that I can understand. He lets me be my daughter’s advocate. He hears us and sees us.

I can tell that his life’s work and passion is in the study and search for answers regarding CRMO, and that brings me as a mom a lot of comfort. He’s a person who wants to know all the things about CRMO so that my daughter and others can rise above it and live their best, happiest life.”

Ophthalmology *Department, Ophthalmology Program at Seattle Children’s

*Dr. Swati Agarwal-Sinha, Sunakshi Anand, Dr. Francine Baran, Dr. Michelle Trager Cabrera, Dr. Christopher Bayard Chambers, Lashel Chavez, Brandy Eslava, Lynnette Fortier, Dr. Erin Herlihy, Sydney Hernandez, Dr. Laura Huang, Hyeshin Jeon, Dr. Vivian May Wai Manh, Christina McCambridge, Joanna Mendoza Casarez, Dr. Debarshi Mustafi, Dr. Andrew Wesley Stacey, Jessica Steele, Dr. Kristina Tarczy-Hornoch, Lyndsey Tews, Teresa Thomas, Dr. Alexandra Jayne Van Brummen, Jennifer Vincent, Greg Wejak, Meredith Zabala, Austin Zhao and Dr. Kabita Nanda

Nomination Excerpt: We have worked with many doctors in this clinic, and they have all demonstrated wonderful family-centered care. The doctors always ask us what we need or ask us for our opinions on how we feel about the path moving forward.

When my son became old enough, the doctors really made my son feel like he had control over what his treatment was as they would talk more to him directly. When appropriate, the doctors offer him choices. They really make my son feel like he has a say in what happens and have always made us feel like our opinions, thoughts and feelings are taken into consideration.”