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Fellowship-trained spine surgeon Camden Whitaker, M.D., is being honored as a 2019 Health Care Hero for his contributions to improving the medical care of Wichita and the surrounding areas.

An awards dinner will take place Thursday, August 1, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita to celebrate and honor all of the Wichita Business Journal 2019 Health Care Heroes.

Read Dr. Whitaker’s nomination for the 2019 Health Care Heroes below.

Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to partner with Dr. Whitaker as we built a spine program at Wesley Medical Center. It was his vision to deliver a comprehensive quality of care to patients that are undergoing an elective spine procedure using evidence-based medicine in a highly collaborative environment. When we started this journey, there was no data, no indicators, and no direction. Dr. Whitaker has been instrumental in the development of the quality metrics that are used to drive patient outcomes and in improving the care we provide our spine patients at Wesley. With the development of the program and focus on the metrics, Wesley’s Spine Program was recognized by The Joint Commission by attaining the Disease-Specific Spine Designation in the spring of 2018. Wesley Medical Center is the only hospital in Kansas that holds this designation from The Joint Commission. In the fall of 2018, Wesley Medical Center was recognized by Healthgrades for the quality of care we provide our spinal fusion patients by receiving 5-stars in spine fusion surgery. In addition to the above achievements, Wesley Medical Center is also a Blue Distinction Center+ for spine surgery. The Blue Distinction program recognizes doctors and hospitals for their expertise and exceptional quality in delivering care, from general health and wellness to more complex and specialty procedures. Obtaining and maintaining these designations would have NEVER been possible without the guidance provided by Dr. Whitaker.

Furthermore, the quality metrics created by Dr. Whitaker have not only improved the care we provide patients at Wesley but also have the potential to improve the care provided to spine patients throughout the United States. Dr. Whitaker has partnered with the University of Kansas School of Medicine to conduct research regarding several quality metrics that are measured by the spine program. We are excited because, in the fall of 2019, our first research project is scheduled to be published in a quality improvement journal. We are planning on presenting this quality improvement research project in December 2019 at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Conference. The research has also allowed Dr. Whitaker to mentor our future physicians.  

None of these accomplishments, recognitions, or designations would have been possible without the leadership, guidance, support, and commitment Dr. Whitaker has provided to improve the manner in which care is delivered to spine patients. Dr. Whitaker is truly a Health Care Hero and has positively impacted the delivery of spine care provided to patients not only at Wesley Medical Center but also throughout the state.

For more information about Dr. Whitaker or to schedule an appointment with him, please call (316) 219-8299.