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Intermountain Healthcare honors men serving Utah through faith and science

Published: Thursday, April 3 2014 9:20 p.m. MDT

The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City, and Dr. Alan Morris, director of research in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of LDS Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center, were honored with the Legacy of Life award at a benefit supporting cardiovascular and pulmonary health.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare's Heart and Lung Research Foundation honored men of faith and science Thursday for their contributions to "the well-being of mankind."

The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City, and Dr. Alan Morris, director of research in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of LDS Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center, were honored with the Legacy of Life award at a benefit supporting cardiovascular and pulmonary health.

Bishop Wester admitted he doesn't like to be the center of attention as he mingled with guests prior to Thursday's award dinner at the Little America Hotel.

"I don't even like it on my birthday, when they sing happy birthday to me," he said with a smile. "But I'm glad to be part of this because it's for such a good cause."

The award really honors the office he holds, Bishop Wester said.

A San Francisco native, Bishop Wester has served in Salt Lake City since 2007 celebrating liturgies, dedicating new parishes and missions, blessing new Catholic facilities, conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation, and meeting with laity, religious, and civic leaders to work for the common good of the community.

Bishop Wester said the work of the dioceses and others in Utah is to "make real the love of God for all His children."

"My hope is that that would be communicated that God loves us, and that that calls us to love one another," Bishop Wester said, noting that faith in God can strengthen those who are ill. "Sometimes when you're sick you have a feeling of being abandoned or lost, you feel isolated, or you can't be with your family because you're in bed. I think faith reminds us that we're never alone."

The evening also honored Morris, who is also a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of medical informatics at the University of Utah. Morris has dedicated much of his work to improving the quality and consistency of health care by using computer protocols to make realtime patient data and research available to clinicians.

The computer protocols have helped provide consistent care to patients with mechanical ventilation, blood-glucose abnormalities, intravenous fluid needs and to support lung function tests, Morris explained.

"We've had a lot of success," Morris said. "There's a lot of evidence that (consistency) improves the clinical outcome for patients."

Morris, who has worked at LDS Hospital since 1973, said Thursday he feels, in a way, that the Legacy of Life award was given to him prematurely. He hopes to extend the use of medical computer protocols with a broad medical community.

"I'm not sure I have accomplished everything I have intended to do, and I still want to do more," Morris said. "I'm still working hard at it."

A separate scientific award will be presented to Morris Friday at a symposium at Intermountain Medical Center's Doty Education Center.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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