The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) honored 24 individuals and organizations during its 74th annual meeting at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville this week.
Distinguished Service Award
Chuck Whitfield, president/CEO, Laughlin Memorial Hospital, Inc., Greeneville, was the recipient of the distinguished service award, the highest award that is presented by THA. The award recognizes leadership and service by an individual member to THA throughout his career, in addition to his achievements and contributions to the healthcare industry.
Whitfield, a former THA chairman, was honored for his 15 years of commitment and devotion to the patients, medical staff and healthcare team members at Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
Charlotte Burns, chief executive officer, Hardin Medical Center, Savannah, received the president’s award in honor of her leadership and dedication to health care and THA.
Healthcare Hero Awards
The healthcare hero award honors individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Anita Flynn, registered nurse, Parkridge Medical Center, Chattanooga, received the healthcare hero award for her heroic actions after tornadoes tore through east Tennessee in 2011.
Homer Kirby, III, DO, nominated by River Park Hospital, McMinnville, received the healthcare hero award in honor of his heroic service as a primary care physician and his 14 years as an active member in the U.S. military.
Edward Harper, senior services coordinator, Blount Memorial Hospital, Maryville, received the healthcare hero award in recognition of his unwavering commitment to support the healthcare needs of seniors.
Meritorious Service Awards
Meritorious service awards recognize leadership and service by individuals in support of their hospitals and health systems.
Chief Executive Officer
Robert Otwell, CEO, Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, received the meritorious service award for a chief executive officer in honor of his significant contributions to health care during his 37-year career.
Lisa Heaton, assistant vice president and administrator, Johnson County Community Hospital, Johnson City, received the meritorious service award for a senior executive. She was recognized for being a tireless leader and unwavering advocate for rural healthcare access in a particularly needy area of Tennessee.
Norman Majors, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, University Health System, Inc., Knoxville, also received the meritorious serve award for a senior executive. He was recognized for his passion for improving health care throughout the east Tennessee region.
Leslie Albers, manager, Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss, Memphis, received the meritorious service award for a department head. She was recognized for her exceptional leadership and compassion for helping morbidly obese patients achieve weight loss success.
Clem Wilkes, Jr., board member, Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), Johnson City, received the meritorious service award for a board member. He was honored for his direction and expertise in guiding MSHA’s board of directors since its inception in 1998.
Katie Winchester, board member, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Memphis, also received the meritorious serve award for a board member. She was recognized for her strategic vision, dedication and leadership as a member of the Baptist Memorial Health Care board of trustees for over 10 years.
Richard Drewry, Jr., MD, retired vice president and chief medical officer, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Memphis, received the meritorious service award for medical staff. He was honored for his wisdom and experience in leading Baptist as chief medical officer.
James McKinney, MD, family practice physician, Takoma Regional Hospital, Greeneville, also received the meritorious service award for medical staff. He was recognized for his 52 years of service as a physician and his contributions to the hospital.
Vito Vella, volunteer, Saint Francis Hospital, Memphis, received the meritorious service award for an individual volunteer. Logging over 8,800 hours and 91 years old, he was honored for his extraordinary dedication as a hospital volunteer.
Michael Dayah, volunteer, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville, also received the meritorious service award for an individual volunteer. He was honored for his outstanding service as a volunteer, which began when he was a member of the teen volunteer program.
Community Service Awards
Community service awards recognize leadership and service by organizations in their local communities in association with member institutions of THA.
Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon & Half, nominated by Southern Tennessee Medical Center, Winchester, received the community service award for a volunteer organization. It was recognized for its contributions as both a fundraiser for charities and encouraging healthy lifestyles in the community.
WJHL, Johnson City, nominated by Wellmont Health System, Kingsport, received the community service award for television. The station was recognized for its commitment to providing healthcare coverage to the Tri-Cities region of Tennessee.
THA Nurse of Distinction Awards
The nurse of distinction awards recognize outstanding contributions to nursing by registered nurses employed at a THA member hospital or health system.
Executive Nurse of Distinction Award
Janell Cecil, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, received the executive nurse of distinction award. She was honored for her vision and support in leading the medical center to achieve magnet status for nursing excellence and outstanding quality.
Clinical Nurse of Distinction Award
Melissa Hamilton, injury prevention outreach and disaster management coordinator, Holston Valley Medical Center, Kingsport, received the clinical nurse of distinction award. She was recognized for enhancing the lives of individuals living in the Kingsport community.
Heather George, registered nurse, River Park Hospital, McMinnville, also received the clinical nurse of distinction award. She was recognized for her passion for patients, coworkers and the community.
Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Award
Robert Otwell, CEO, Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, received the senior-level healthcare executive award from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). He was honored for his dedication and participation in the college.
Captain Thomas Petrilak, captain of the Medical Service Corps in the United States Navy, also received the senior level healthcare executive award. Currently stationed in Iraq, he was honored for his service in the U.S. Navy and participation in ACHE.
Michael Ugwueke, MD, CEO at Methodist Healthcare’s North and South Hospitals in Memphis, also received the senior level healthcare executive award. He was recognized for over 25 years of experience in health care and operational, financial and quality turnarounds of two Memphis hospitals.
Early Career Healthcare Executive Award
Jason Pilant, director, supply chain operations, Covenant Health, Knoxville, received the early career healthcare executive award from ACHE. He was recognized for his participation in ACHE.
THA, founded in 1938, serves as an advocate for hospitals, health systems, home health agencies and other healthcare organizations and the patients they serve.
Download the 2012 Awards of Excellence Booklet
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