Gov. Pritzker names UChicago Medicine’s Eric Tritch an “Unsung Hero”

Eric Tritch standing in the warehouse

Eric Tritch, vice president for supply chain and logistics at the University of Chicago Medicine, has been recognized as an Unsung Hero by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

During his COVID-19 press briefing December 2, 2020, Pritzker praised Tritch for working long hours since January to ensure hospital staff had the necessary personal protective equipment and supplies needed to care for COVID patients. Tritch was lauded for coming up with innovative strategies to reduce unnecessary burn rates of critical items and sourcing strategies to ensure distribution of critical inventory.

“His efforts, and that of his team, prevented exposure of hospital personnel and protected the health and the safety of all individuals across their entire health system,” Pritzker said.

Tritch, who has worked at UChicago Medicine for nine years, said he wanted to share his Unsung Hero recognition with the hundreds of supply chain team members that make it all happen, in Operations, Sourcing, Purchasing and Business Processing.

“I’m honored and humbled for the recognition, which is a small part of a big team effort,” he said.

The Unsung Hero designation is a new initiative through the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) that acknowledges valiant, sustained efforts of healthcare workers on the pandemic’s front lines for their dedication, hard work and sacrifice.

Tritch was among five healthcare workers around the state to be recognized by the governor December 2. They are among other Unsung Heroes featured on IHA's website.

Global demand for COVID-19 protective gear, especially in March and April, made Tritch’s job extremely difficult. The high-stakes situation prompted him to collaborate with different hospital departments and develop new supply sources for everything from N95 masks and exam gloves to testing equipment.

“Eric did an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes work. At a time when there was intense competition for protective gear, he found ways to secure supplies for our staff,” said Krista Curell, Esq, RN, UChicago Medicine’s Chief Compliance Office and Vice President of Risk Management and Patient Safety, who nominated Tritch. Curell has served as incident commander for the medical center since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Back-order challenges are nothing new, but Tritch said COVID-19 was unlike anything he had ever experienced.

“There was so much pressure, because not being able to get the supplies was not an option. We had to get out of an, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?' mindset and change it to, 'We’re going to do this,'" Tritch said. "It took a little while to shift to that mindset, but we did it, and turned the normal process of getting supplies upside down.

"We've got a team of folks who are really strong in their subject matter area, and they all stepped up to the challenge.”