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May 26, 2020

Rutledge named 2020 Dean’s Excellence Award winner in Service

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Rutledge Chrystal2Chrystal Rutledge, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, is the junior faculty winner of the 2020 Dean’s Excellence Award in Service. Rutledge graduated medical school from UAB and completed her pediatric residency at the University of North Carolina. She returned to UAB in 2011 for her pediatric critical fellowship and stayed on as faculty after completing her training. She serves as the medical director for the Critical Care Transport program and associate medical director for the Simulation Center at Children’s of Alabama.

During her fellowship, Rutledge developed a passion for medical education using simulation. Currently, she works with struggling residents to develop individualized learning plans, while creating interprofessional simulation cases to address the resident’s needs. Through this work, she has helped residents turn their training careers around from the brink of probation. In 2016, Dr. Rutledge established the Children’s of Alabama Community Healthcare Education Simulation (COACHES) Program to help enhance the level of care for children in community hospitals across the state of Alabama.The COACHES program team includes Rutledge, a nurse practitioner, and a nurse educator. The interdisciplinary team travels to community hospitals across the state and provide assessments of the hospital’s preparedness to care for pediatric patients and train the hospital staff on pediatric emergencies. These hospitals deal with critically ill children infrequently, so simulations provide them the opportunity to review best-practice care and assess local resources. To date, the COACHES program has conducted 41 sites visits and trained more than 1,000 health care providers. The amazing work by Rutledge and her team provides an invaluable service to community hospitals throughout Alabama and strengthens the relationship between Children’s of Alabama and referring hospitals.

"Rutledge is a remarkable individual who is a valuable asset to the Department of Pediatrics and UAB,” said Will Sasser, M.D., associate professor and assistant program director for the Pediatric Residency Program. “She has a gift for identifying community needs and developing innovative strategies to address them. Her passion for helping those in need combined with her leadership skills have enabled her to accomplish a great deal in her young career.”