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Society of Hospital Medicine Honors Krystle D. Apodaca, DNP, FHM with 2021 Award of Excellence: Clinical Leadership for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

May 18, 2021

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Representing the fastest-growing specialty in modern healthcare, the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) is the leading medical society for hospitalists and their patients.

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Dr. Apocada Integral for Development of University of New Mexico's Advanced Practice Provider and Related Hospital Medicine Fellowship

The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) recently announced the recipients of its 2021 Awards of Excellence, honoring hospitalists who exemplify hospital medicine best practices in areas such as clinical leadership, teaching, teamwork, research, and humanitarian services, among others.

“Hospitalists stepped up in new ways to help their patients and their institutions overcome intense challenges over the past year,” notes Eric E. Howell, MD, MHM, Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Hospital Medicine. “Our Awards of Excellence winners truly embody the innovative spirit and leadership prowess that have become hallmarks of hospitalists, and we are proud to recognize them with this distinguished honor.

Krystle D. Apodaca, DNP, FHM, is this year’s recipient in the “Clinical Leadership for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants” category. She is a nurse practitioner hospitalist at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Hospital, where she is also an assistant professor of medicine within the university’s Clinician Education Track. Dr. Apodaca was one of the first advanced practice providers (APPs) welcomed into the UNM hospital medicine division and has been integral not only in the development of UNM’s APP program, but also its APP hospital medicine fellowship, which she helped to co-found. She is a member of the UNM Hospital Medicine Executive Committee as well as its LGTBQ Collaborative.

She is known for her leadership within Project ECHO at UNM, a worldwide program focused on democratizing medical knowledge. She is the Co-Medical Director of its National Nursing Home COVID-19 Safety and Medicaid Quality Improvement Hospitalization Avoidance efforts, both focused on improving nursing home practices. This program, in partnership with AHRQ, UNM’s ECHO Institute, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is now a national initiative dedicated to standardizing COVID-19 best practices at nursing homes across the country. To achieve its goals, more than 15,000 nursing homes have been certified and a community of more than 250 training centers have been built through Project ECHO.

Dr. Apodaca has been a member of SHM since 2015. She has been an active member of SHM’s NP/PA Special Interest Group since she joined and was appointed as the first APP President of SHM’s New Mexico chapter in April 2020. Under her leadership, the chapter achieved Gold and Platinum status as well as the Chapter of the Year Award.

Awards of Excellence winners were recognized at SHM’s annual conference, SHM Converge, which was held virtually from May 3-7, 2021. For more information on SHM’s Awards of Excellence, visit