Craig B. Thompson, MD, Awarded Columbia Business School’s Deming Cup for Operational Excellence

Craig B. Thompson, MD

Craig B. Thompson, MD

Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) President and CEO, Craig B. Thompson, MD, has been awarded Columbia Business School’s Deming Cup for Operational Excellence. Dr. Thompson and MSK are being recognized with this prestigious award for leadership during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Fellow 2020 honorees include healthcare leaders Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, and Kevin Sowers, M.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N., president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“I proudly accept this award on behalf of the more than 20,000 Memorial Sloan Kettering employees who have committed themselves to operational excellence,” said Dr. Thompson. “Our mission is to lead in the prevention, education, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of cancer and associated diseases. This year we have faced unparalleled challenges with COVID-19. Thanks to teamwork, a strong operational foundation, and their own personal commitment to our mission, our MSK employees have continued to deliver exceptional care to our patients every single day of this ongoing pandemic.”

When the pandemic hit New York City in early March, MSK was actively treating 150,000 cancer patients. Early reports showed that cancer patients were more susceptible to contracting and potentially dying from COVID-19. Staff were also at risk to this emerging disease. In response, employees at all levels of the organization worked together to rapidly craft a new operational framework to adapt to the ongoing crisis.

Through redeployment of staff and vital PPE, development of in-house COVID-19 testing, innovative solutions for treating COVID-19 patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings, a dramatic increase in telemedicine capabilities, novel innovations and research from our labs, continued communication and overarching support for staff member across the institution with remote work adjustments, and much more, MSK’s commitment to operational excellence in the face of adversity allowed us to maintain our cancer care mission.

Awarded annually since 2010, the Deming Cup for Operational Excellence honors institutional leaders for outstanding merit in operations and for fostering a culture of continuous improvement within their organizations. Through this award, the center not only recognizes exemplary leaders for creating successful organizations by following W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy and principles, but also facilitates opportunities for their ongoing engagement with Columbia Business School’s academic community. The Deming Cup Judging Committee, comprising eminent figures in industry and academia, is co-chaired by Terry Lundgren, Chairman and CEO, Retired, of Macy’s, Inc., and Samuel Palmisano, Chairman, Center for Global Enterprise.