UW Health honors three department faculty members with 2024 Physician Excellence Awards

Three pediatricians standing outside with greenspace in the background

In the photo, left to right: Dr. Greg DeMuri, Dr. Mary Ehlenbach, Dr. Awni Al-Subu

Each year, UW Health recognizes its most skilled and dedicated physicians with its Physician Excellence Awards. These awards recognize individuals who demonstrate exceptional skills in clinical practice, education, and leadership along with a commitment to the mission, vision, and values of UW Health.

Three Department of Pediatrics faculty members were among the 18 awardees who were honored in a May 15 ceremony at Blackhawk Country Club. Below are the award winners from the Department of Pediatrics and a brief summary of information included in their award nominations.

Awni Al-Subu, MD, associate professor, Division of Critical Care, received a Clinical Practice Excellence Award. Recipients of this award demonstrate exemplary professional relationships, commitment to quality and patient safety, and exceptional and measurable contributions to clinical practice.

Dr. Awni Al-Subu has had a remarkable impact on critically ill children, and his collaborative approach makes him especially effective as medical director of our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Respiratory Care.

When constraints on PICU bed availability limited access to our intensive care services for critically ill children from the region, Dr. Al-Subu led the initiative to optimize patient flow. That included transferring patients to other units earlier in the day so more PICU beds were available when needed, as well as identifying patient populations that could avoid a PICU admission and developing guidelines for their care outside the intensive care environment.

Dr. Al-Subu also played a pivotal role in an international effort to establish best practices for emergency airway management in children and is nationally recognized for his expertise in non-invasive monitoring and diagnostics, particularly point-of-care ultrasound. As Dr. Peter Ferrazzano shared: “Dr. Al-Subu is quite simply one of the most dedicated and impactful clinicians I have worked with in my career.”

Gregory DeMuri, MD, professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, received a Clinical Practice Excellence Award. Recipients of this award demonstrate exemplary professional relationships, commitment to quality and patient safety, and exceptional and measurable contributions to clinical practice.

Greg DeMuri, MD, is a beloved pediatrician and infectious disease specialist who has been in practice at UW Health for 29 years. Upper respiratory infections are some of the most common illnesses in children, and his clinical research on acute bacterial sinusitis and A streptococcus and the effectiveness of antibiotics have made him the go-to resource for providers throughout the region and beyond. His prudent guidance on the use of antibiotics is the foundation of safe, effective care while addressing the escalating problem of antibiotic resistance.

Dr. DeMuri is also one of the unsung heroes of the pandemic. As medical advisor for the Madison Metropolitan School District since 1999, he played a key role in reopening schools. As principal investigator of an NIH-funded project, his work shaped guidelines for safe in-person attendance for children with complex health needs. Dr. DeMuri was also named medical director for UW Health pediatric infection control. One of many heartfelt, handwritten notes he has received said: “I’m sure I speak for many parents and children other than myself. You make this world a better place.”

Dr. Mary Ehlenbach

Mary Ehlenbach, MD, associate professor and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Division of Hospital Medicine and Complex Care, received the Clinical Leadership Excellence Award, which honors a physician who demonstrates significant and measurable contributions to UW Health and leadership excellence outside of their department and in institution-wide work.

Dr. Mary Ehlenbach is one of the nation’s clinical experts on caring for medically complex children and running complex care programs. As medical director of the Pediatric Complex Care Program, she transformed the patient experience by developing a multidisciplinary team that includes a care coordinator assistant who helps families navigate the challenges of insurance and accessing services.

Dr. Ehlenbach advocates for this group of children by serving on several advisory committees in Wisconsin and Dane County. Her expert witness testimony last year helped resolve a federal civil rights case that had been litigated in Florida for a decade. As a result, thousands of children in Florida will receive the community-based services they need to live in their homes and communities. Her leadership and advocacy promise to drive policy and social change for those with severe disabilities, and she is changing systems of care for this often overlooked and marginalized group throughout the country.

Six other department members were among the nominees for 2024 UW Health Physician Excellence Awards:

Daniel Sklansky, MD, associate professor, Division of Hospital Medicine and Complex Care, Clinical Educator Award

Elizabeth Mann, MD, assistant professor, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Rising Star Clinical Practice Award

Allison Redpath, MD, associate professor, Division of Nephrology, Clinical Practice Award

David Wargowski, MD, professor, Division of Genetics and Metabolism, Regional Services Award

Laura Chen, MD, assistant professor, Division of Hospital Medicine and Complex Care, Rising Star Clinical Educator Award

Janet Legare, MD, professor, Divisions of Genetics and Metabolism and Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitative Medicine, Clinical Practice Award

Group of physicians standing outside with greenspace in the background

In the photo: UW Health leaders pose with this year’s 18 UW Health Physician Excellence Award honorees.

Photos by UW Health