Deming Cup 2020

On October 20, 2020, Michael Dowling, president & CEO of Northwell Health, Kevin Sowers, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Craig Thompson, president & CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, were honored with the 2020 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence in a virtual celebration acknowledging their stellar accomplishments.

Given the unprecedented circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Deming Center elected to award the 2020 Deming Cup within the singular sector of healthcare in recognition of the critical role the industry and its leaders have played during the crisis. 

Browse through the Summary Highlights of the virtual award ceremony on October 20, 2020 that highlights the proceedings, speakers, and honorees of the evening.

“In this extraordinary year, we salute our honorees for their exemplary leadership in the most uncertain of times. We honor them for rising rise above and beyond the call of duty during the COVID-19 crisis to drive impact by aligning exemplary operational excellence with passionate humanism, creative agility, and successful execution. And for doing so with the intent of not only furthering best practices, but also doing good, saving lives, and preserving the dignity of our social fabric during this crisis,” said Nelson Fraiman, faculty director of the Deming Center at Columbia Business School, on behalf of the award’s 41-member judging committee, led by co-chairs Terry Lundgren, chairman of TL Advisors and retired chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc. and Sam Palmisano, chairman of the Center for Global Enterprise and former chairman, president, and CEO of IBM.

“Working in healthcare is an unbelievable responsibility and obligation and I am so proud of all our team members for their unwavering commitment to the communities we serve,” said Michael Dowling, upon receiving the award. "Our long-term commitment and investment in creating a culture of continuous improvement and learning not only proved its worth during the COVID-19 crisis but has been and will always be an integral component of Northwell Health.  Our unity in purpose will continue to be invaluable no matter what we may face in the future.”

To see Michael Dowling’s award presentation and remarks in their entirety, please click here.

“I am honored to have been chosen to receive the Deming Cup Award for operational excellence and continuous improvement. For more than 125 years, Johns Hopkins Medicine has been a leader in delivering the promise of medicine,” said Kevin Sowers, in his remarks. “I am especially honored to be the first nurse to receive this recognition. Particularly in a year when I think society is seeing the extraordinary role nurses play in working to address some of the major challenges in our society, I am proud to represent my fellow nurses everywhere.”

To see Kevin Sowers’ award presentation and remarks in their entirety, please click here.

“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 Craig Thompson, as he accepted the honor. “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 employees have continued to deliver exceptional care to our patients every single day of this ongoing pandemic.”

To see Craig Thompson’s award presentation and remarks in their entirety, please click here.

Previous Deming Cup awardees reaffirmed their congratulations to Dowling, Sowers, and Thompson for their sterling leadership as they welcomed them into the Deming Cup and Columbia Business School family. See their warm and spirited welcome here.

The virtual celebration on October 20 featured a panel discussion with the three awardees around the intersection of leadership, operations and crisis response moderated by university professor Wafaa El-Sadr, the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amfAR chair of Global Health and director of ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Click here for the full insightful and meaningful discussion by these four stalwarts and innovators in healthcare.

Please email Kalpana Kanthan at [email protected] with any questions around the Deming Cup and for information on the nomination process for the 2021 award.