News Release:

Sep. 6,  2011

Emory Neonatologist Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award from Georgia Hospital Association

News Article ImageAnn D. Critz, MD

ATLANTA - She has cared for thousands of babies during her career, a career dedicated to helping premature and critically ill babies survive, and then thrive. For her years of service and contributions to the field of neonatology, the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) has awarded Emory Healthcare's Ann D. Critz, MD, with the 2011 Lifetime Heroic Achievement Award.

Critz, who is medical director of nurseries and chief of pediatrics at Emory University Hospital Midtown, has been caring for the hospital's smallest patients for more than 30 years. Her early years at Emory were spent working as a neonatologist in the nurseries at Grady Memorial Hospital and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Throughout the years, her knowledge, skill and compassionate nature have saved the lives of so many tiny babies.  

"Dr. Critz is a true hero for her long-time work and dedication to improving the health of premature and sick newborns," says Dane Peterson, chief operating officer at Emory University Hospital Midtown. "She is a talented and caring individual who has the respect of so many people that work with her. We are proud of her accomplishments."  

"I am honored and touched to receive this special award," says Critz. "But I couldn't do any of it without the support of a great team. Taking care of these sick babies is truly a team effort, and I share this award with everyone who works in the nurseries with me."  

Critz, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Emory, oversees the hospital's state-of-the-art Level III special care nursery (also known as the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU). Level III nurseries provide the widest variety of advanced care available for premature and sick infants. The present NICU opened in 1981 and currently serves as part of the Emory Regional Perinatal Center, one of six regional perinatal centers in the state of Georgia that takes care of high-risk newborns.  

The babies are cared for in a family-centered environment that nurtures the infant-parent bond. Critz believes this to be the most important factor for successful long-term outcomes of these special babies. A large team of nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, nursery support staff, neonatal pharmacologists and physicians provide expert care for these infants.  

"Dr. Critz's vision and leadership in operating the special care nursery from a team approach ensures the highest quality of care and comfort for these babies and their families," says John T. Fox, chief executive officer of Emory Healthcare. "This recognition is well deserved."

Critz received her medical degree from the University of Mississippi, and completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at the same university. After practicing general pediatrics for six years, she completed a fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Emory University.

While at Emory, Critz has been instrumental in leading the nurse practitioner program in the NICU. She teaches the nurse practitioners to be compassionate and calm, while being sensitive to parents' needs and wishes for their little ones.  

Critz also serves as medical director of the Angel II Neonatal Transport, a mobile neonatal intensive care unit. The high-tech ambulance makes over 600 transports a year throughout North Georgia. On occasion, Dr. Critz goes out on transport calls with the team.  

During her career, Critz has seen the field of neonatology grow from a brand new area of interest to a high-tech and ever-flourishing specialty area. Each day she comes to work, she says she and her team witness something new in the nursery. "It's exciting, fun and 'an adrenaline rush' every day, and I'm so happy to be a part of it," says Critz.  

The GHA will hold a ceremony in December to honor Critz and other GHA Hospital Heroes recipients.

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