es in the Chicago, Illinois area, has been named the 2012 Medical Director of the Year. Dr. DeBacker received the award during AMDA’s annual conference “Long Term Care Medicine – 2012” in San Antonio, Texas on March 9, 2012. A specially designated interdisciplinary Selection Committee chose Dr. DeBacker from among numerous nominees based on his exemplary work as a physician leader, educator, patient advocate, clinician, and innovator within the community.
Dr. DeBacker is regarded as a true team leader, particularly by staff of CJE SeniorLife. “He is a gifted educator—a skill he brings to all aspects of his
work. He continually educates staff through clinical meetings that have contributed to an over-20% decrease in falls and fall-related injuries and 8% fewer readmissions from the subacute unit. He promotes ownership of the improvement process through an interactive format that seamlessly integrates clinical education,” said Ron Benner, Executive Director of Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation and Sr. Nurse Advisor at CJE SeniorLife.
Dr. DeBacker lead the effort to implement electronic medical records at Lieberman Center, making it one of the first long-term care facilities in the Chicago area to adopt EMR. He was heavily involved in every stage of the process, and helped address the concerns of physicians and staff about the new system. He also created and implemented Quality of Life Rounds, an interdisciplinary intervention that focuses on residents with the most difficult clinical and/or behavioral issues, which has resulted in improving the quality of care for residents through thoughtful interventions and greater support for staff. In working with the research staff at CJE SeniorLife, he conceptualized quality of life for LTC residents and developed key indicators that were ultimately used for an assessment instrument. The results were accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.
Beyond CJE SeniorLife, Dr. DeBacker has also demonstrated leadership at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he has served as an acclaimed faculty member since 1982, winning their 2012 Outstanding Teacher Award in M2 Clinical Skills and a Department of Medicine Award for being ranked in the top 10% of medical school teachers in 2007. Most recently, he partnered with the university to create the Northwestern DeBacker Primary Care Education Imperative with the intent to produce more primary care physicians during a period of rising demand by exposing Northwestern’s medical students to the field in the classroom, various inpatient and outpatient settings, and the research laboratory.
In the community, he is a contributing writer on geriatric syndromes and diseases for The Leading Edge, a publication of Covenant Methodist Senior Services, a fellow at the American College of Physicians, and a member of the American Geriatrics Society and the Chicago Society of Internal Medicine. He is also a frequent speaker at various conferences, including AMDA’s annual meetings, where he has presented on Lieberman Center’s Quality of Life Rounds.
Upon receiving the award through AMDA President Karyn Leible, Dr. DeBacker said, “One of the most gratifying things in my career is witnessing the ascendency of our profession. AMDA has been a guiding light and will be even more important in the times to come.”
CJE SeniorLife is an innovative provider of community-based and residential programs, and services for older adults throughout the Chicago area. Over the past 40 years, CJE’s wide range of services has grown to include assisted living, counseling and care management, long-term skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s care, home health, wellness programs and much more. CJE is a partner in serving the community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. For more information about CJE services, call 773/508-1000 or visit www.cje.net.