Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards

The President’s Award for Diversity and Humanism in Clinical Care

This award honors clinical faculty who exemplify the humanistic spirit of patient-centered medicine, both through clinical excellence and in outstanding compassion in the delivery of care.

See our Past Clinical Excellence Award Winners

The 2021 Winner:

Cindy Darnell Bowens, M.D., M.S.C.S.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

As Medical Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Dr. Bowens knows that her patients and their families are often dealing with the worst day of their lives, and she does everything she can to make it better through competence and compassion. She is also keenly aware of the additional challenges underrepresented minorities can face in the health care environment, which is why she is a passionate advocate for every child and household who enter the PICU.

“Dr. Bowens respects the broad and varied backgrounds of our many patients, and she seeks to understand each individual family’s needs,” says Jessica Moreland, M.D., Chief of the UTSW Division of Pediatric Critical Care. “In addition to being an exceptional clinician, she possesses humility and compassion, traits that are generally inherent and cannot necessarily be taught. Her compassion for her patients, their families, and all of our colleagues and staff makes her the leader she is in the PICU. Ultimately, she feels and shows responsibility for the unit as a whole, and her commitment and dedication are profoundly above and beyond.”

One of the challenges in providing care to critically ill children is the frequent turnover of attending physicians, who often rotate off a service after just a few days, resulting in a disruption to continuity of care and in families struggling to understand exactly who their child’s physician champion is. To counter that confusion, Dr. Bowens has long espoused the “primary intensivist” program, a family-centered care system designed to provide added continuity in the very particular PICU setting.

She has also implemented family-centered rounds, which allow families to have full access to and active participation in the daily plan. In advocating for families and enabling them to have a voice in team discussions, she is also ever alert to those for whom English is a secondary language and has optimized their experience by promoting consistent translation services through supporting a unit translator who is present on rounds.

In these and many other ways, her colleagues say, Dr. Bowens is a role model and mentor. She also serves on a remarkable number and diverse assortment of committees, including the Medical School Admissions Committee, the Medical Humanities Track Advisory Committee, the Pediatric Department Faculty Engagement Committee, the Pediatric Departmental Incentive Committee, and the Pediatric Faculty Advocacy Committee.

In her words: “I am honored and humbled to have been selected from the many other well-deserving candidates to receive the President's Award for Diversity and Humanism in Clinical Care. This award highlights my desire for bringing compassionate, individualized care to our patients and their families. It is a privilege to have my efforts recognized in this way by my colleagues and the leadership at UT Southwestern. I did not achieve this honor on my own, and I thank the many who have supported and provided guidance to me, as they share this award. As a Pediatric Critical Care physician, I am given the opportunity to display the humanistic spirit of medicine every day through my service to patients. Helping our patients and their families through the worst day of their lives is why I serve. I am grateful to be part of a community that aspires toward fostering exceptional care to our patients and their families.”

Leaders in Clinical Excellence video: Dr. Cindy Darnell Bowens