Dr. Phillip Shubert is passionate about the health of central Ohio women and their infants.

Dr. Phillip Shubert is passionate about the health of central Ohio women and their infants. Since taking on the role of system director for maternal fetal medicine at Mount Carmel Health System, he has applied his high-risk obstetrics experience to strengthening obstetric care across the hospital system.

"Anytime you feel that, even in a small way, you've made a difference in a family or a child, a person's life, your work is rewarded," says Shubert. "I find my reward in the personal interactions (and) personal successes more so than trying to look at the overall numbers. Because if you're successful with individual (patients) collectively, then you're going to be successful with the numbers as a whole."

Shubert has spent the past three decades working to improve the overall outcomes for at-risk mothers and infants. As Mount Carmel's principal investigator on the Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Shubert works closely with his colleagues from across Ohio's hospital systems to reduce the state's preterm birth and infant mortality rates. He also works towards improving maternal fetal health through the Ohio Better Birth Outcomes group, the Ohio Fetal Medicine Collaborative and the Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Taskforce.

Early in his career, Shubert recognized the need for treatment of substance abuse in expecting mothers. As a member of the faculty at the Ohio State University medical school's obstetrics and gynecology department, Shubert founded the Aid to Pregnant Substance Abusers Clinic. He served as the director of the program from 1993 through 1996. He was also a member of the Columbus Department of Health's Substance Abuse Committee.

Shubert is currently strengthening the capacity of Mount Carmel hospitals to address the maternal substance abuse problems that are increasingly frequent in his NICUs, he says. "There's a higher number of infants going through withdrawal."

"It has been and continues to be an enormous problem in our community, and does impact infant mortality initiatives as well," says Shubert. Mount Carmel, he adds, is "hoping to further develop the ability" throughout the system to support these women over the course of their prenatal care. Accomplishing that goal will require earlier and better access to care for indigent mothers, one of Shubert's goals for Mount Carmel.

"We're looking to expand our fetal therapy interventions. We're looking to potentially increase the clinic footprint for the indigent and possible substance abuse patients at our high-risk sites," he says, noting that Mount Carmel West is a location of particularly high risk for these expecting mothers.

Another area of focus in obstetrics for the near future is the advancement of ultrasound technology in order to identify and provide early therapy for high-risk pregnancies. As the administrative leader of the Mount Carmel Health System's Women's Service Line, Shubert charts the path toward technological innovation in prenatal care. He played a large part in Mount Carmel's purchasing a MaternT21 non-invasive testing instrument that screens for Down syndrome as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy. The testing allows Mount Carmel's expectant parents to prepare for the birth of a child with special needs.

Shubert has long provided guidance, multidisciplinary care and support to Mount Carmel's mothers and infants. He served as director of the Perinatal Care Center at St. Ann's Hospital from July 1993 through 2010. Since 2007, he has trained the next generation of practitioners as associate program director for the Ohio State University OB/GYN residency program at Mount Carmel. He's been a clinical assistant professor in Ohio State's OB/GYN Maternal Fetal Medicine program since 2003; he has been teaching in OSU's obstetrics department since 1993.

Shubert is a member of the Mount Carmel Foundation Board of Directors and the Mount Carmel Mission and Finance Committee. He gains as much insight into healthcare from the administrative side of his work as from his clinical practice.

"Thankfully, I function in the role (of physician) daily and apply it in my administrative capacities," says Shubert. "Administration is helpful because the experience, the perspective of looking from the outside in on the practice of medicine does help keep me abreast of the changes in healthcare that are coming or have come."

With an eye toward the future, Dr. Shubert is preparing to continue providing high-quality care within the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Keeping Mount Carmel's hospitals "clinically and economically strong" is top priority, he says. "It's in that strength that the quality of our healthcare in this community is maintained and continues."

FINALIST

Gary Ansel, MD
System medical chief, vascular program, OhioHealth Heart & Vascular Surgeons

An expert in the field of peripheral vascular and cardiovascular procedures, Dr. Gary Ansel is a founder of the Vascular Interventional Advances Conference and the OhioHealth Vascular Institute. In 2013, he was named system medical chief of the vascular program at OhioHealth Heart and Vascular Surgeons. He has spent seven years as an investigator at the OhioHealth Research Institute. He graduated cum laude from the Ohio State University College of Medicine, where he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.