Leaders in Clinical Excellence Awards

Patient and Family Recognition Award

This award honors clinical faculty whose dedication to the compassionate, respectful delivery of exceptional patient care has garnered the highest degree of patient trust and satisfaction.

See our Past Clinical Excellence Award Winners

The 2022 Winners:

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Erin E. Gordon, D.O.

Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Pediatric Critical Care

Working with pediatric patients with congenital heart disease can be emotionally draining work, but Dr. Erin Gordon’s own heart is more than up to the task.

Supervisors, colleagues, and families of her patients all tout Dr. Gordon’s ability to quickly bond with those she encounters, to create a climate of comfort and competence in difficult circumstances, and to simply be there – present and caring – during the hardest of times.

“I have had the honor of leading a large group of wonderful individuals charged with caring for some of the most acute and vulnerable patients in pediatric medicine,” one nominator wrote. “Many of us manage the patient/family perspective well 90 to 95% of the time but shy away at times when it is more difficult to do so. It is during these 5 to 10% of moments that Dr. Gordon really stands apart.

“She is the physician every patient and family hopes to have when faced with some of medicine's most daunting challenges,” the nominator added.

Dr. Gordon serves as Medical Director of UT Southwestern’s Inpatient Developmental Care Program, in which she leads the Heart Center's efforts to improve patient neurodevelopment outcomes. She is a committed member of the Patient and Family Advisory Committee.

“She is the individual on the team most likely to bring up the complexities of the patient/family perspective during times of challenged decision-making and is the colleague most likely to champion the organization of multiple perspectives during patient care discussions.”

Several of Dr. Gordon’s colleagues spoke about her role in caring for a baby with congenital heart disease that could not be repaired. The family elected for home hospice care for their child, but this proved to be a challenge as the baby was intubated and critically ill. Her colleagues said Dr. Gordon worked diligently to overcome the many obstacles to home hospice care for an infant and then volunteered to accompany the transport team to the family's home to ensure safe transport, allowing the family's wishes to be met.

It is perhaps the families of her patients who most clearly state the qualities that make Dr. Gordon the winner of this year’s Patient and Family Recognition Award:

“We were in the Cardiovascular ICU for 72 days,” wrote parent Kelly Baker. “Dr. Erin looked at my child like he was her own. You could tell she was leading with her knowledge and her heart.”

Said parent Christy Sturm, “She listens but also displays confidence in her decisions. Our child is still here because of her quick reaction time, knowledge of cardiac output, and the nurturing environment she creates.”

Dr. Gordon has a passion for parental mental health and is interested in the dynamic of congenital heart disease and the incidence of both oral aversion and feeding intolerance.

She earned her Doctor of Osteopathy degree at Midwestern University Chicago and completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Iowa, as well as an advanced fellowship in pediatric cardiac critical care at UT Southwestern.

She has been named by Texas Monthly as a Super Doctor and Rising Star each year since 2019.

In her words: “I am incredibly honored to receive the Patient and Family Recognition Award as part of the Leaders in Clinical Excellence Program. Recognition from my exceptional colleagues and the wonderful members of the Heart Center has left me speechless and proud. I stand in awe of the resilience and strength exhibited by the patients and families I am privileged to care for in the cardiac ICU. I would like to dedicate this award to the patients and families who instilled trust in me, trust not only in my ability to provide excellent medical care but in my ability to provide that care in a nurturing, loving, and inclusive manner. A special thank you to the parents of my 'primary' patients for gracefully teaching me the power of relationship formation.”

Leaders in Clinical Excellence video: Dr. Erin E. Gordon