The Dr. Martin L. Block Award for Innovation & Excellence

Legacy of Superior Quality Patient Care Lives on in Annual Award

Martin L Block

Nominations are Now Open for the 2024 Award

Submit a Nomination

Some people remember the late Dr. Martin L. Block’s natural ability to engage and inspire audiences. Others recall his knack for simplifying keen industry insights for risk and quality professionals. But most people reminisce about how his passion to improve patient care influenced them.

In the spirit of the RISE mission to encourage continuous improvement in the health care system, The Dr. Martin L. Block Award for Innovation & Excellence is presented to an esteemed nominee each year at RISE National. This prestigious accolade acknowledges an individual’s effort to enhance the lives of America’s seniors through clinical leadership, policy vision and by superior example. Check out the 2023 award ceremony in the video below.


A Dedicated Life and Career

Dr. Block’s focus on delivering quality patient care led him into health care administration early on in his career. As a doctor of 35 years, his dedication to improve medicine fueled his rise among the ranks of several major health plan management companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna and United Healthcare. No matter his title – medical director, chief medical officer or vice president of clinical services – he stayed fixated on his mission to improve quality of care, and he worked long hours every day to develop and improve processes that benefit patients and healthcare professionals.

Dr. Block graduated from Northwestern University Medical School with a Doctor of Medicine degree. He completed his internal medicine residency in 1978 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He began his private practice in Riverside, CA, where he was active in the medical community. As a certified professional coder, Dr. Block gained critical insights into risk adjustment, quality and outcomes management. He eventually moved to Scottsdale, AZ, and went on to earn several awards for his dedication and passion.

A regular speaker at RISE National, Dr. Block passed away from brain cancer at the age of 62 on Oct. 28, 2013. In recognition of his contributions to innovations in risk adjustment, and to honor his life’s work, the RISE Association, Dr. Block was posthumously recognized with the first Martin L. Block Award in March 2014. His wife, Rita, and daughter, Abbey, accepted the award on his behalf.


Submit a Nomination

Is your organization interested in sponsoring the Dr. Martin L. Block Award? Contact for more information.

Past Award Winners
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2023 Winner
Elizabeth Haynes

The 2023 award recipient is Elizabeth "Liz" Haynes, director of risk adjustment and stars for government programs at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (BlueKC), chosen for meeting the needs of the seniors in the Kansas City community and helping the health plan achieve a 4-Star rating for the last three consecutive years. Haynes joined BlueKC in 2019 as the director of quality and stars and immediately identified opportunities to ensure the health plan took actions to meet the needs of its Medicare Advantage population as a plan and through its provider partners, according to the nomination.

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2022 Winner
Dr. Tiffany C Pankow

The 2022 award recipient is Dr. Tiffany C. Pankow, associate chief medical officer of HonorHealth Medical Group. In her nomination, Dr. Pankow was touted as a strong contender for the award because of her long-standing dedication to excellence, spirit of continuous improvement, and her commitment to equity across HonorHealth, a community-based, nonprofit teaching hospital system that includes six acute care hospitals, HonorHealth Medical Group, a research institute, cancer center, 11 graduate medical education programs, center for nursing education, and a robust community benefit program addressing the social determinants of health.

Previous Winners
  • 2021 - Dr. Heather O'Toole
  • 2020 - Frontline Workers
  • 2019 - Mark Dambro, M.D.
  • 2018 - Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni
  • 2017 - Michelle Lupoli, RN
  • 2016 - Dr. John Broderick
  • 2015 - Dr. James M Taylor
  • 2014 - Dr. Martin L Block