Covid-19 Heroes

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll in many ways: on human life and health, jobs and the economy, people’s families and mental health, and much more. The extraordinary hospital employees below have been nominated by colleagues for their efforts on behalf of others in the battle against the major health crisis of our time. The DFWHC Foundation congratulates them!

Do you have someone you’d like to nominate? Submissions are open through April 23, 2021. Click here.

Alice Kern-Kirby, Director of Nursing

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

“Alice worked to motivate her teams daily to learn and care for critically ill patients from the car to home. Despite the many changes and challenges, Alice worked to operational change for her team and our facility. She worked many days around the clock in the beginning to ensure patients received care and the staff was safe. She ensured mask fitting of staff and physicians, wayfinding, cleaning for elevators, set up screening, drive through swabs, education on proning, establish ER tents, monitoring air flow on units and much more. She was tireless in her efforts to ensure safety of staff through walking with them in every process.

While nurses took on much responsibility in our covid containment units, Alice ensured she walked beside them to model leadership. We thank her for her support and see evidence of safety in care with lower than national average exposure rates for staff. Hats off to Alice!”

Brandi Daughtry, Supervisor, Nursing

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

“Brandi works tirelessly on nights to allow leaders to rest and know the hospital is in good care. She is an evening supervisor and works with all! She has worked to ensure 24/7 that our teams feel safe and have the much needed PPE ! She is a translator of policy and always with a friendly understanding keeps our facility going and all safe! Our nursing supervisors are true heroes and work with so many to keep support patients day and night!”

BUMC Rapid ECMO Deployment Team

Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas

“Transporting critically ill COVID patients is challenging. Transporting patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is challenging.
Transporting COVID patients who are so critically ill that they require ECMO is as hard as it gets.
The BUMC Rapid ECMO Deployment Team safely transported these most critical patients all over the state of Texas during the pandemic, and continue to do so. Their efforts and excellence cannot be overstated.”

Catherine Raver, MD, Medical Director, Hospital Medicine

Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas

“Dr Raver is the medical director of HMD – the hospitalist group at BUMC with more than 100 providers under her leadership. She led the efforts not only of direct patient care for COVID 19 patients at our facility but also, along with her team, was on the front lines of forming protocols and management plans for the entire BSWH system. She has led by example, with grace and level of empathy that has been inspiring.”

Hugo Carillo, Supervisor, SPD

Baylor Scott & White – Plano

“Hugo has truly been a leader in COVID 19. While our SPD team normally is “behind the scenes”, Hugo and the team took a very active role in the fight. Learning how to clean mask using new technology such as UV and creating processes, Hugo was able to preserve our PPE and keep our front line staff safe. Meanwhile, he worked to update himself on new CDC guidelines as well as FDA standards. He was gracious with his knowledge and would update senior leaders frequently on processes. He was generous with his time as well. He worked to share staff and his time to support other facilities to ensure we could continue to provide safe care and continue to treat all patients. We are so grateful for his work and knowledge and we salute his dedication during this unprecedented time!”

Jonathan Morgan, Nurse Manager

Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas

“Jonathan Morgan MSN, RN, CCRN is the manager of a 40-bed Medical ICU at Baylor University Medical Center.

As the leader of the first ICU COVID-19 containment unit at Baylor University Medical Center, Jonathan facilitated a multi-disciplinary effort to plan and execute new processes in multiple areas including staffing, equipment, PPE use, and patient care to ensure appropriate safety for patients and staff while maintaining high quality care.

Jonathan also worked to develop a premier infection prevention process to protect our caregivers. These innovations and his partnership with medical staff and infection prevention have led to zero occurrences of infection among his team. His processes for donning and doffing PPE and safe transport have been replicated across the hospital as best practices in infection prevention. His leadership and dedication shine through in this time of national health crisis.

We salute Jonathan for his never quit, we-are-in-it-together mental fortitude in the care of our critical patients and the well-being of his team. Jonathan is true Covid-19 Hero!”

Kaitlyn Lingle, ECMO Program Manager

Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas

“Kaitlyn led the specialized nursing team, taking care of the sickest of all COVID-19 patients, including those requiring ECMO support. She contributed to saving nearly 50 patients that would have otherwise not survived.”

Karen Talcott, Supervisor, Nursing

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

“Karen and the entire nursing supervisor team work to keep us safe 24/7 at BSWMCP. Karen’s presence on nights ensure that we keep our teams safe and leadership informed. Karen also works to help families of patients understand their loved ones disease and how to communicate with them in this critical time. She has helped many families in the middle of this night with the stress of COVID and the loneliness of isolation. She is caring but firm and uses excellent clinical knowledge to help all stay informed and knowledgeable. We appreciate our nursing supervisors for all they do!”

Lisa Florida, Director, Nursing Acute Care Services

Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas

“Lisa serves BSWH as nursing director for the medicine service line and supports the clinical nurse managers for six units, three of which have been converted into Covid-19 containment units. From the moment the first unit went up, she had “boots on the ground” and was present at every huddle and new challenge. She comforted team members, answered questions, and served as an active advocate for staff safety. She facilitated true collaboration between informatics, infection prevention, environmental services, central supply, and everyone in-between. Now that we have been doing this for almost 8 months, she has shined as a pioneer, innovator, and facilitator to bring bright ideas to standard practice across our hospital system. She has been directly involved with creating a vision of excellence and best practice regarding virtual rounding, patient and family communication practices, multiple disciplinary rounds with Covid population, and so much more! Her leadership has been a key factor to defining what great care is for our Covid patients and encouraging others to strive for better. As a new leader who also made the quick transition to a containment unit in March, I can say with confidence I couldn’t have done it without her support, encouragement, transformational leadership, communication, and advice. She is a hero and champion for our patients, their families, our bedside clinicians, and unit leadership!

Mario Jones, Director, Supply Chain Operations

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

“During the Covid-19 crisis, Mario Jones handled all our supply and PPE needs for Baylor Scott and White Medical Center Plano and Baylor Scott and White Heart Hospital in Plano. He kept up with system supplies and made sure we never had a shortage. He was proactive and always seemed to have a solution, before the problem arose. He was calm and steady, and sometimes even funny. He is a great communicator, and works in collaboration with nursing. He brought up new ideas, and quickly sought out system solutions that we could incorporate into our own plan. He was accessible and always comforting to those in need. He helped secure donations, came up with innovative ideas, and made sure they were accounted for before funneling them to the correct place within the hospital and the system. Mario is an amazing leader, always willing to accommodate anyone in need-from patients to employees. His colleagues respect Mario and often comment on his strong leadership. I’m proud to work with and nominate Mario for this award. His strong work along with others led to extremely low conversion rates for BSW. Together, we provided a safe place for all.”

Mindy Henry, Supervisor, ICU

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

“Mindy is a supervisor on a COVID ICU containment unit on nights. She has worked to ensure the safety of her team but ensure PPE and proper technique in donning and doffing and ensures that the primary care of the nurses and team does not lack or miss a beat! Many times, Mindy was called to aid her team in care, cleaning, transporting, using new technology and just providing much needed emotional support. Mindy travels many miles to work at our facility and is passionate about providing care to our DFW community. She has been an inspiration for the staff and patients throughout this pandemic.”

Tanyapuk Williams, Respiratory Therapist

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

Tanya is a Registered Respiratory Therapist at The Heart Hospital BSW Plano. She is a very hard worker who tries to uphold all of the standards of what an RT should be. She takes excellent care of her family and this pours over into the care of her patients in the COVID Unit here in Plano. We all appreciate Tanya and all that she does. She is a great therapist and co-worker.

Toni Jo Hayward, RN

Baylor, Scott & White – Plano

“Toni Jo is a perioperative RN who found herself without elective patients during the early covid days. She was a person who always looks for opportunities to help whether an ambassador for patient experience or just wayfinding assistance for a lost visitor – Toni Jo is there. During the early days of the pandemic Toni would ask- how can I help? She was quickly called upon to set up screening at the front door, ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors. During this early time, Toni used her clinical knowledge to assist in helping other allay their fears, answer questions, and just smile and be present. Toni Jo sought to always help in whatever she could do to assist administration or her own team members. She wore so many hats during the pandemic but never lost her smile! We are so very grateful for Toni and her positive attitude and clinical knowledge and support. She is proof we are all in it together!”

Aysim Foreman, Director, Integrated Absence Management

Emily Strittmatter, Director, Occupational Health & Wellness

Children’s Health

“When the pandemic struck, Children’s Health called on Aysim and Emily to manage some of the most challenging and complex aspects of protecting our employees. “Emily has proven to be a transformational leader in guiding our Occupational Health efforts during a historic pandemic,” said one senior executive in describing the enormous impact she has had on our organization. Under Emily’s leadership, our Occ Health Department quickly pivoted from overseeing day-to-day employee health matters to keeping staff safe and deploying vaccines for our staff. She and her team also closely monitored COVID-19 developments and CDC recommendations to protect patients and staff. Aysim significantly enhanced our ability to plan for, track and respond to staff absences resulting from quarantines and other COVID-19-related issues. That included coordinating the redeployment of dozens of employees who were unable to perform their regular responsibilities to fill important temporary needs. Throughout the pandemic, Aysim and Emily have kept employees’ needs front and center. Aysim was instrumental in creating pandemic pay practices that were consistent with our organizational values, and she collaborated with HR to develop support mechanisms for expectant mothers on staff. And Emily played a central part in organizing vaccine administration for thousands of employees and members of their household, but she and her team have also responded to hundreds of employee questions, providing a calm, reassuring presence throughout the pandemic.”

Dawn Kahle, Vice President, Communications

Children’s Health

“Dawn served as an integral member of the Incident Command Center, skillfully managing and navigating a crisis that required urgent, well-thought-out and reassuring communications to every stakeholder within and outside our organization. For more than 12 months, she convened clinical and non-clinical leaders to identify and meet employee communications needs, providing counsel and guidance in many urgent situations. Among her many achievements, she oversaw the development of a new virtual Town Hall forum hosted by our executive leaders that has proved incredibly popular and resonant among team members. These live meetings have informed team members, enabled our leaders and clinical experts to build confidence and trust, and provided opportunities to support one another. They provided a venue for addressing difficult topics head-on. And they have created a culture shift by setting the belief and expectation that our leadership is accessible and is focused on the well-being of team members. Beyond her impressive professional contributions, she has devoted extensive time and energy to the development, engagement and well-being of her own staff, and she leads with kindness, thoughtfulness and intention. Said one member of her staff, “Dawn is a fierce and fearless leader. She has handled every bump in the road with poise and persistence. Her leadership has made us a stronger and more resilient team.”

Holly Hassmann, Vice President, External Relations – CMC Foundation

Children’s Health

 “Holly has been an unsung hero for her tireless behind-the-scenes work in response to COVID-19. She helped our volunteers establish a safe, sustainable process for managing donations of food and other items. She also worked with donors to source the items needed by our staff, and she graciously and expertly managed the deluge of offered donations from generous community members that could have overwhelmed our already taxed staff without her skilled management.”

Jefferson Tweed, Director, Data Science

Children’s Health

 “Both descriptive and predictive analytics have been essential for clinical operations and supply chain management throughout the pandemic. Jefferson developed a rapid turnaround strategy that facilitated the ability to publish dashboards that have enabled our Incident Command Center to monitor the prevalence and characteristics of COVID-19 in the pediatric community we serve – as well as testing supplies, protective equipment and vaccine inventories. His work has been indispensable to our clinical operations throughout the pandemic.”

Jennifer Malena Krnavek, Director, Strategic Sourcing

Shelly Dijkman, Director, Supply Chain Operations

Children’s Health

“As health care systems across the country struggled to acquire sufficient PPE and other critical supplies, Shelly and Jennifer played critical roles in minimizing disruptions to our supply chain.
Shelly represented Supply Chain for our Incident Command Center and coordinated our evolving needs to effectively protect staff and patients. She expanded our central distribution area to house additional supplies. She excels in emergency management and has stayed in step with the organization. Shelly has managed the pandemic like a pro and risen to each challenge.
Jennifer has been responsible for sourcing scarce PPE throughout the pandemic. She has worked tirelessly to find alternatives to some standard PPE that would meet the organization’s needs. Because of her efforts, we maintained an uninterrupted level of all critical supplies. Jennifer does not shy away from any task or challenge, and the pandemic has brought out her creativity and her commitment to the mission of making life better for children.”

Kale Troutman, Senior Marketing Specialist

Children’s Health

“This past year, ensuring our team members felt cared for and appreciated has been more important than ever. Kale has been front and center in executing our employee appreciation efforts. He oversaw the distribution of tens of thousands of employee meals donated by our caring community. He also played a key role in our Smile Button campaign, which let patients and their families see the faces behind the masks. Kale has been tireless in his work on our employee appreciation program, which has sponsored events such as a virtual concert for employees and their families. He oversaw the transformation of our hallways into gratitude installations to thank hospital staff for their hard work. His typical response to everything is, “We will figure it out” – so much so that his team made him a T-shirt with those words on it!”

Kristin Carlton, Director, Telemedicine Clinical Outreach

Children’s Health

“Over the past year, Kristy has worked tirelessly to protect some of our most vulnerable patients. She led implementation of 79 telehealth carts for use in patient isolation rooms. These carts enabled more than 4,200 patient encounters (as of March 2021), reduced foot traffic and decreased PPE usage. In addition, when schools were closed, Kristy arranged to collect, sanitize and redeploy telehealth carts from our school programs for use in our hospitals. Thanks to Kristy’s work, 973 nurses and 544 providers have been trained to facilitate virtual patient consults. Now, providers and nurses can conduct virtual patient consults when they arrive at the hospital, and telehealth is used to supplement patient rounding, multidisciplinary consults and patient discharge discussions. A true COVID-19 hero, Kristy has spent countless hours educating, coaching and supporting the use of telemedicine for safe, efficient access to quality care!”

Lariba Abu, Respiratory Therapist

Children’s Health

“With the unique staffing challenges COVD-19 presented, Lariba stepped in to fill every gap. She became Charge Respiratory Therapist and patient teacher, and she floated between our outpatient clinic and hospital. She has been a consistent support to her teammates and the organization throughout the pandemic. Lariba is known for her compassion and can always be counted on – always with a smile! Ultimately, COVID-19 hasn’t changed the way Lariba works and relates to her team members, but it has highlighted what a big difference she makes to her patients and her team.”

Lori Vinson, Senior Director, Emergency Services, Trauma & Injury Prevention

Children’s Health

“Throughout the past year, Lori’s emergency preparedness skills and knowledge have been indispensable. “Lori was our ‘get it done’ person from the beginning,” explained one senior executive. She serves as our main conduit to state health services, the regional trauma service area and Dallas County. Lori had a prominent role in the execution of employee screening, testing centers and vaccine center development. Lori was instrumental in establishing many important safety protocols as well. She helped create and manage our labor pool, which enabled us to redeploy team members who were unable to perform their regular duties because of COVID-19. She was also responsible for signage, protective screens and badge stickers. In addition, she played an important role in our vaccine rollout, including interacting with the state, determining when we would get our allocation and coordinating with our pharmacy.”

Michael Sebert, MD, Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control

Patricia Jackson, Senior Director, Infection Prevention

Children’s Health

“Dr. Sebert and Pat Jackson have provided infectious disease expertise and leadership, helping us understand COVID-19, know how to protect staff and know how to care for patients. They shared their expertise with our Incident Command Center to guide every clinical decision. They helped shape our practices around PPE and screening. As we planned for vaccine administration, they helped determine the priorities and plan for how we would administer the vaccine. They served as experts in their respective disciplines – Dr. Sebert for physicians and Pat for clinical staff. As one executive explained, “Both were readily accessible at all times, quick to respond, provided guidance based in fact and science – and always kept the safety of our patients and staff paramount in their decision-making.”

Tanya Detherage, Director, Clinical Informatics Operations

Children’s Health

“As recommendations for COVID-19-related care rapidly evolved, Tanya played an essential role in the design and implementation of Epic electronic health record functionality. She led Information Services and Informatics teams that produced workflows to enable clinicians to do the right thing at the right time. Her teams developed a decision tree for COVID-19 testing that was critical to the successful clinical management of patients and the preservation of scarce testing supply inventory.”

Thresa Cox, Manager, Food Services

Children’s Health

“Accommodating the unique needs of the patients in the specialty feeding programs at Our Children’s House is Thresa’s forte. But when the pandemic began, Thresa went into high gear, making sure the facility’s small kitchen pivoted quickly to enable team members to buy fresh produce on-site, flex cafeteria food options and offer more to-go items. During this time, Thresa also authored two articles in the Association for Healthcare Foodservice’s publication, speaking specifically to COVID-related issues around food: “Cost Savings and Implications: Food Waste and Sustainability” and “Food, as Experience.” In the latter, she noted that “visually noticing the stress and fear drain from employees’ faces as we helped them avoid going to the store was confirmation of the success.”

Tra’Vonia Edwards, Director, Performance Improvement

Children’s Health

“From the early days of COVID-19, Tra’Vonia played a pivotal role in supporting the Chief of Operations for our Incident Command Center. Her contributions were instrumental in implementing six new processes and initiatives that were crucial to ensuring the safety of our patients, their families and our staff during the pandemic. This included implementing a process for safely reusing N95 masks, developing a database to optimize staff deployment, installing physical barriers in our emergency departments to isolate patients with respiratory conditions and creating a process for checking employees’ temperature. Her selfless service during this unprecedented time was nothing short of heroic.”

Tyler Krohn, MD, Vice President, Northern Market Operations

Children’s Health

 “Early in the pandemic when N95 masks became scarce, Dr. Krohn was charged with ensuring Children’s Health maintained an adequate supply. He quickly formed the Personal Protective Equipment Governance Committee, which established a methodical approach for addressing the organization’s PPE needs. Under his leadership, the committee established N95 usage guidelines to eliminate any unnecessary use of N95 masks and implemented a process for sterilizing used masks for reuse. The committee also identified a domestic manufacturer with a much more robust supply of N95s than the previous supplier and identified masks and respirators to be reserved for departments with the greatest number of COVID-19 patients. By reducing unnecessary mask use, increasing the supply of masks and identifying alternatives, the team reduced the use of new N95 masks by 90% and increased the supply on hand from about two weeks to over a year.”

Vincent Wang, MD, Chief, Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Vineeta Mittal, MD, Divisional Chief, Pediatric Hospital Medicine

Children’s Health

“Dr. Wang and Dr. Mittal are heroes for their work on early COVID-19 patient care protocols. Thanks to their work, providers and staff at Children’s Health have had clear guidance on patient care. Dr. Mittal developed COVID-19 patient care guidelines in collaboration with nursing and physician colleagues. Her efforts included recommendations for keeping employees, patients and families safe, using telehealth, and managing visitors. She shared her recommendations with the subspecialty physicians who took the approach she pioneered. She also bravely led her team to create and oversee patients in the SIU – recognizing the challenge but approaching it with confidence and actions based on science. She was always positive and eager to assist. Dr. Wang created our emergency department patient management protocols, determining which patients to test, when to test and which test to use. In addition, his work provided guidance on how to safely care for patients in the emergency department, from triage through admission or discharge. We are grateful for the outstanding work of these two physicians.”

Virginia Hock, Manager, Media Relations

Children’s Health

“Virginia has been on call virtually every night and weekend since the pandemic began, working tirelessly and taking on new tasks with confidence. She has been an indispensable strategic communications advisor to teams and senior leaders across the organization as they navigate the complexities of maintaining operations, partnerships and public outreach amid this pandemic. Virginia has done all of this while continuing to support her team members and listen to their needs. She navigated what was a turbulent time with foresight and grace, and she continues to do so. Virginia has led many of our internal and external COVID-19 communications efforts. She has managed our daily employee email, providing timely, transparent information to team members and transforming the way we communicate critical updates. She also developed a social media voice that is both inspiring and informative, furthering our reputation as thought leaders and pediatric health advocates. And she has ensured that the expansive response undertaken by Children’s Health is represented positively and accurately in the media.”

Rob Richards, CCO

Kindred Hospital – Arlington

 Rob has been with Kindred for five years as a Nurse Manager and was promoted to CCO in May, 2017. Rob leads a team of 168 hospital personnel that includes nurses, respiratory technicians, C.N.A’s, physical therapist, radiology technicians, dietitians and pharmacy personnel.

During the massive outbreak of Covid-19 at the Federal Corrections in Fort Worth, Kindred Hospital – Tarrant County Arlington was JPS’s preferred surge facility. Rob immediately embraced the challenge and helped to stem the tide while levitating the influx of COVID positive patients. Rob worked tirelessly to get the facility up and running in days to ensure patient safety while staff remained safe.

Rob has been a shining star in the darkest of nights, with his stellar ability to lead a team, while providing a safe environment for the hospital personnel. Rob and his team have also given strength of hope, healing and recovery to those who have effected by Covid-19. A true leader that has both feet planted on the ground..!”

Amanda Smith, RN

ECMO Specialist/ECMO Primer

Medical City – Plano

“During this chaotic time of COVID, Amanda has been a rock for our ECMO program. We lost one of our night time primers to another facility and created a continuous staffing need for ECMO primers on nights. Amanda picked up extra shifts and moved her schedule around for the last 2 months to cover the holes in staffing. She did this without being asked! She’s such a great employee and one of the stars of our program. She also took it upon herself to take on organizing and stocking our ECMO carts without being directed to do so. I love her initiative. She is so selfless when it comes to talking care of our patients. I admire her dedication and commitment to making our ECMO program a success.”

Andrea Morian, Director, Rehabilitation Services

Medical City – North Hills

“I’m not sure anyone can match Andrea’s ability to advocate for safety. Starting with her own team and cascading to each and every person, patient, and community member she touches, Andrea lives the mission of Medical City Healthcare- Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. With the COVID 19 crisis, Andrea has been instrumental in so many initiatives- from leading the implementation of screeners for the facility, to finding safe ways to continue providing an excellent patient experience for all disciplines in her purview, and championing vaccine distribution to as many people as possible. Andrea has been a cheerleader when spirits are down and a compassionate, listening ear during the tougher times when her colleagues need her. Thank you for all you bring to the team, Andrea!”

Alshawn Perry, Director, IT Services

Medical City – North Hills

“Alshawn was instrumental in making sure the COVID vaccine clinic was fully functional and ready for go-live, identifying key IT equipment needs and leading his team to install needed programs. Alshawn was also on site for go-live to ensure that any barriers could be removed timely and there would be no delay in documenting vaccinations. Job well done!”

Angela Sibille, ECMO Specialist

Medical City – Plano

“Angela is such a compassionate person and a wonderful nurse. She went from a part-time position to a full-time position just to be part of the ECMO program and take care of our COVID patients. Most of our patients on ECMO are COVID patients. While training to be an ECMO specialist, she also took on the role of ANM of the CCU during the day shift. Angela is excelling at managing training at bedside for ECMO and being an awesome leader as an ANM. She excels at whatever she does. I have seen her with tears in her eyes on many occasions when talking about one of our COVID ICU patients and them not being able to see their families during these difficult times. She goes the extra mile when taking care of her patients. I see her make a special connection with each patient she takes care of. I would definitely want her to take care of those I love.”

Annette Garza, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Annette Garza is an experienced physical therapist who specializes in treating patients with cardiopulmonary dysfunction. She has been able to use her skills to evaluate and treat patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

April Power, Supervisor, Occupational Therapy

Medical City – Plano

“April is an OT Supervisor in another part of the hospital, but whenever she has time she volunteers to go provide Occupational Therapy to our COVID patients. April leads by example, and always delivers excellent, compassionate care with a wonderful upbeat attitude.”

Carrie Beth Henson, Occupational Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Carrie Beth is an OT who can work anywhere in the hospital and provide excellent care. When we started receiving Covid-19 patients, she stepped right up to begin treating this new type of patient. Carrie Beth leads by example, with a knowledgeable and cheerful demeanor.”

Casey Wood, Manager, Therapy Services

Medical City – North Hills

“Casey Wood is no stranger to early morning hours with her commitment to fitness so it was a seamless transition to showing up almost every morning to the vaccine clinic before the doors opened, even more committed to encouraging her team mates to get vaccinated! Casey has an infectious smile and was a welcome face for our colleagues and community partners as they arrived. We couldn’t have done it without you Casey!”

Cassie Valera, RN, Emergency Room

Medical City – Plano

“Cassie Valera, RN, picked up an additional 35 shifts since July on top of his fulltime commitment in the ER. She has worked long and hard days, evenings and nights without complaining and still comes back for her next shift with a smile. Her willingness to help the ER family with her extra time has been truly appreciated!”

Charles Smith, Administrative Director/Facilities Manager

Medical City – Alliance

“Medical City Alliance is proud to nominate Charles (Charlie) Smith, who serves as our Administrative Director-Facilities Manager. Charlie has worked for HCA Corporation for 35 years, serving different leadership teams at multiple facilities. Charlie is a veteran, with a deep understanding of healthcare facilities, what is required in a crisis, and a thorough understanding of the unique compliance issues facing healthcare facilities. Given a hospital cannot be closed due to bad weather, Charlie is highly regarded across Medical City Healthcare as someone with deep experience and creativity when it comes to keeping a facility open so patients may continue to receive care. Recently, Charlie’s creative problem solving was put to the test when he faced a global pandemic and historic winter storm all at the same time. With the hospital still full of patients recovering from COVID-19, a winter storm was bearing down on North Texas and the forecast called for historic temperatures. In addition, the hospital is currently under construction, complete with temporary walls, exposing portions of the hospital to the extreme elements and running the risk of vital system failure. On the evening of Monday, February 15, when the lows at the hospital reached 1F, alarms signaling boiler failure began around 11:30pm. Charlie and his team immediately responded, quickly learning the hospital was at risk of losing heat, forcing a situation where all patients would be transferred out to sister Medical City Healthcare hospitals. This was further complicated by a high census across the system, so placement would have certainly created issues for facilities receiving the transferred patients. Charlie and his team quickly learned that the boiler failure was due to significantly reduced pressure on the city water side. Charlie developed a creative solution to increase the pressure, despite the frozen water mains on the city-side, and heat was restored to the hospital. To the patients and colleagues working in the hospital, no one was even aware of the crisis that was brewing. However, those that know Charlie best, know that this is the only way he would have it. He understands his role is to provide the essentials needed for high-quality patient care, but from behind the scenes.”

Charity Ballman, Nurse Manager, Med Tele/COVID Unit

Medical City – Plano

“Charity always has a positive attitude with her staff while taking care of the patients. Her positive attitude flows from the bedside nurse to the patient. During this time, her staff was having a hard week, and Charity showed up in a unicorn costume to work. Everyone from the staff to the patient had a big smile on their face for the day. Charity toured other areas as a unicorn — left everyone smiling. Regardless what the day brings for Charity, she can always find something positive to be thankful for and share with everyone she meets.”

Cindy Jose, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Cindy Jose is an experienced physical therapist who specialized in evaluating and treating patients with cardiopulmonary dysfunction. She has been able to use this experience to help care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Craig Brein, Manager of Emergency Preparedness

Medical City – Dallas

“Craig is the Manager of Emergency Preparedness for Medical City Dallas, Medical City Children’s, and Medical City Heart and Spine Hospitals. Throughout this event he has continued to go above and beyond to do what it takes to ensure the staff and facilities are supported in order to continue to put patient care first. He supports the leadership, staff, and physicians of the hospitals to ensure they have what they need to continue to put the care and improvement of human life above all else. Craig’s work also goes beyond the hospital as well, he is volunteers with the Texas State Guard as a Second Lieutenant in the Texas Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate statewide response efforts to this event.”

Cynthia Cooke, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Cynthia Cooke is an experienced physical therapist who has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! Cynthia primarily works in an outpatient setting for Medical City Plano Outpatient PT services, but she also frequently evaluates and treats patients with COVID-19 across the hospital. She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Dawn Normoyle, Clinical Resource Director

Medical City – Dallas

“Dawn was intuitive from the very beginning. She focus on ways to adjust and make patient care easier for providers and front line nurses. She came up with the idea to put hand sanitizer on IV poles, plastic drapes for barriers for anesthesia, constantly making sure that teams were safe. During this time she broke her ankle, and still pushed herself to make sure everyone had what they needed. Though she has not been in direct patient care, she has been working diligently behind the scenes.

Diana Elzind, Ph.D

Medical City – North Hills

“Diana Elzind is the Director at Medical City North Hills where she was instrumental in obtaining the vaccine in an effort to keep our staff and physicians safe. She spent long hours on the phone with the state to ensure that the vaccine was delivered and available to the frontline workers who were putting their lives on the line to fight this battle. In addition Diana worked long hours to make sure each of her team members were safe and had the care they needed for them to support the efforts in the vaccine clinic. We honor Diana for her fearless spirit and compassion for all!”

Gary Busby, MSN, RN, CEN, Director, Emergency Services

Medical City – Frisco

“It is my honor to nominate Gary Busby for as one of our healthcare heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Gary is the Director of Emergency Services at Medical City Frisco. He has served our organization and team for over two decades and has a tremendous track record of exceptional clinical quality, advanced care practices, and leadership. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Medical City Frisco anticipated a surge of patients from Frisco and surrounding cities as the pandemic worsened. Gary sprung into action, building an additional Covid-19 clinic on site by converting a shell space for a physician’s office into a complete ER low acuity Covid-19 clinic. In this clinic ran by ER staff, patients would be screened and monitored for Covid-19 and any other emergency conditions they presented with. Collaborating with the Medical City Frisco ER team, providers, and staff in addition to other Medical City Frisco colleagues, the clinic was ready in about 3 weeks. Unexpectedly, volume in ERs dropped drastically as the community became extremely anxious and afraid of entering emergency rooms across the country. During this time, we began to have significant staffing opportunities in the ER due to staff illness and their families’ illnesses with Covid-19. Gary worked day shift and night shift to ensure that they Emergency room had appropriate resources onsite 24/7 to support incoming patients. Gary is recognized by our entire facility as a leader who is always there to support and encourage during the best and worst of times and is one of the funniest and humble person you’d ever meet. He holds himself and our ER to a high standard and always puts the patient first. Please accept my sincerest nomination for Gary Busby, MSN, RN, CEN.”

Gene Smith

Medical City – North Hills

“Working behind the scenes is something that comes natural to the support staff of our hospitals. Gene Smith is accustomed to working in the background to support the frontline staff. His efforts made it possible for the vaccine team to quickly mobilize to set up the COVID vaccine clinic. Gene worked long hours and stayed in the clinic from open to close for the first week. All this in an effort to support the nursing staff who was giving the vaccine. These are the people who are the hero’s. Answering the call without expectation of praise. MCNH want to salute the efforts of Gene and all the silent hero’s of Covid. Our battle could not be won without them.”

Huyen Nguyen, Director, Food & Nutrition Services

Medical City – North Hills

“Huyen has been amazing throughout the COVID 19 crisis! Her flexibility and commitment to excellence is unmatched. With each new development and restriction, Huyen rose to the task, encouraging not only her team, but forming an employee engagement committee to maintain morale across the facility. Huyen makes sure the cafeteria is an inviting space even with restrictions. In addition to passing out treats to the staff, she also made sure the COVID vaccine clinic was always supplied with fun snacks that delighted those waiting out their 15 minutes. Thank you, Huyen, for everything you do for our hospital!”

Jacquelin Strug, Occupational Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Jackie is an OT who volunteered at the start of the pandemic to evaluate and treat Covid-19 patients. She is willing and able to go to all of the Covid-19 floors and provide excellent and empathetic care. Jackie’s patients and co-workers appreciate all that she has done and continues to do to provide the best Occupational Therapy during this challenging time!”

Janki Mehta, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Janki Mehta is an experienced physical therapist who has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! She frequently evaluates and treats patients with COVID-19 on the Med-Tele floor as well as her home floor, A5 Med-Surg! She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Jasmine Green, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Jasmine Green is a skilled physical therapist, who specialized in evaluating and treating patients with burn and trauma diagnoses. She has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Jessica Meyer, Manager, Therapy Servcices 

Medical City – North Hills

“A big thank you to Jennifer for all of the volunteer hours she put in to make sure our local COVID vaccine clinic was successful! Jennifer was one of the first to look for opportunities to sign up for both the 1st and 2nd vaccine clinics, often taking the early morning shifts that were difficult to fill. Her willingness ensured our colleagues and community partners were triaged timely and , with over 20 years here at the hospital, Jennifer provided a familiar, calming presence during an otherwise stressful time. Thank you Jennifer!”

Joy Ferdinand, Assistant Nurse Manager, Labor & Delivery 

Medical City – Plano

“As an assistant nurse manager in Labor & Delivery, Jody oversees the care of all deliveries, but especially the care of our COVID19 patients giving birth. Jody also spends her time off doing COVID testing at an area urgent care center. She is highly respected by her team.”

Jay Marble, Supervisor, Physical Therapy 

Medical City – Plano

“Jay did not hesitate to jump right in and begin Physical Therapy for these new type of patients back at the start of the pandemic. He has inspired many staff from the Rehabilitation Department because he is a supervisor who leads by example. Jay is a Physical Therapist who always provides empathetic and clinically excellent care, and his patients love him.”

Jennifer Hancock, Supervisor, ICU RT 

Medical City – Plano

“Jennifer ramped up all RT supplies to ensure the department had plenty for potential COVID surge. She investigated products to validate efficacy to ensure the safety of our caregivers. She worked with the chief of anesthesia to learn how to operate the ventilator portion of the anesthesia equipment, and prepared a video in-service for the RT staff in case the vent were utilized for a COVID surge.
The North Texas Division RT Leadership group recognizes Jennifer for her commitment to patient care and our employee’s safety during this pandemic. The department did not run out of any supplies needed to care for patients and our other sister facilities called upon Jennifer to get supply information or to borrow supplies when they experienced surge.”

Jennifer Ruestman, Infection Prevention Specialist 

Medical City – Plano

“Jennifer has been a tremendous asset to our patients this year. She jumped in without hesitation and supported all of our colleagues with PPE questions and daily reporting of hospitalized COVID + patients. She was instrumental in assisting our colleagues with de-escalation of COVID status, once patients were deemed negative according to CDC guidance. She was successful in minimizing fears they had about reuse protocols and testing in an effort to identify COVID + patients and conserve PPE. She earned the respect of our colleagues and leaders alike during this pandemic. She demonstrated resilience throughout 2020.”

Joseph Brown, Director, Supplies

Medical City – North Hills

“When you reach for an item to care for a patient you take it for granted that what you need will be there. That is a result of excellent leaders who work behind the scenes to make responding to a pandemic successful. Joe lead his team to forward think about supplies and PPE needed to safely care for COVID patients. His ” we can do anything” positive attitude helped secure the supplies that got the vaccine clinic up and running smoothly. His long hours and diligent worked helps support the mission of “care and improvement of human life”. Its an honor to work with the best behind the scene hero’s”

Justin Tomlin, Director, Operations

Medical City – North Hills

“Leading a team in healthcare is a challenge when things are running smoothly, but add a pandemic to your list and you will see the best step up and shine. Justin’s quick thinking and leadership helped mobilize MCNH to be able to set up the vaccine clinic in short notice. He was able direct a team to respond to the need of greeter screening station and the vaccine clinic.
His continued surveillance and quick actions has support the safe environment for the frontline workers and our patients.”

Kaitlyn Elwood, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Kaitlyn Elwood is a talented physical therapist who specializes in evaluating and treating patients with orthopedic injuries or after orthopedic surgery. She has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! Her unique skills helps those patients who come in after any kind of orthopedic accident and need specialized care. She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Kashif Khan, Occupational Therapist/Certified Hand Specialist

Medical City – Plano

“Kashif not only treats COVID patients on the floor he is assigned to, but is always willing to help his co-workers on another COVID floor as well. He is dedicated to his patients and has a great work ethic.”

Kenny Truong, Facilities Supervisor

Medical City – North Hills

“With less than 24 hours notice to set up the vaccine clinic Kenny jumped into action. Working with his team to have the environment set up complete.
Without his constant hard working effort the clinic opened as planned. His support of the clinic helped MCNH be successful in vaccine the frontline workers, which was important in keep them and their family’s safe. Allowing them to be able to care for our patients. Kenny works behind the scenes in doing all he can to support MCNH in the safe care of each patient.”

Kristi Carlisle, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Kristi Carlisle is a skilled physical therapist who has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! Kristi has been volunteering to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She leads by example for her team and she’s a COVID HERO!”

Krystal Shaffer, RN

Medical City – North Hills

“Krystal is more than an excellent manager and nursing leader for her unit. She stepped up in a crisis, embraced the challenge, set high expectations for continued quality care, and worked endless hours hands on helping, educating, supporting her staff and the patients on her unit. She is a COVID hero because even with handling all of her regular unit responsibilities, she took time every day to visit and connect with patients on her unit that were suffering with this unforgiving and often fatal disease. She has such a heart of compassion to make those isolated feel loved and well cared for. She is the gold standard of a hero COVID nurse leader.”

Leslie Lowery, Director, Clinical Informatics

Medical City – North Hills

“Although not currently in a patient facing role, Leslie did not hesitate to jump in to vaccinate our staff and first responders. Often signing up for the late shifts, Leslie made sure there was coverage for our colleagues and community partners who needed a more flexible vaccination schedule. Leslie’s quiet nature and sweet spirit provided a calm environment during an otherwise stressful and uncertain time. Job well done, Leslie!”

Lisa Caylor, RN

Medical City – Frisco

“Lisa has an extreme calling to serve her patients and always goes above and beyond to show her patients and family they are well taken care of. When the Covid pandemic began, Lisa was always the first to volunteer to be on the covid unit and always felt like she had a calling to support and provide excellent care to the patients and their family. Lisa has such a passion for her covid patients that she took on an additional job with another hospital to serve on the covid unit. She has truly been fearless in this journey which also helped put her patients and family at ease.”

Lori Stevens, Microbiology Lab Supervisor

Medical City – Dallas

“Lori has been at Medical City Dallas since January 1, 2005. She has always been a star leading her staff to be the first ones to get their Influenza Vaccine, complete any requirements, and support Medical City Dallas patients and staff.

In the beginning of COVID back in January, Lori was instrumental in searching and requesting the reagent and supplies needed for testing. She created reports to communicate what was needed to test and worked with her director and senior leader to be the first lab in HCA North Texas to fun COVID tests. her response to any request, let’s see how we can accomplish that goal. She recently created a report to provide employee testing results for us and division.

It is people like Lori that support behind the scenes for Medical City Dallas to provide excellence in patient care.”

MacKenzie Lunn, RN

Medical City – Plano

“While rounding on a COVID patient, the patient could not stop talking about the care Mackenzie provided to her. She stated, “Mackenzie provided me reassurance with her words – reassurance that the doctors couldn’t give me. She understood what I was trying to say. She got me!” On speaking with Mackenzie, Mackenzie stated, “I understand what the COVID patients are feeling. They are scared of what might happen and they feel guilt that they might have passed it on to their family. I’m happy that I can care for them and, hopefully, relieve some anxiety.” For her compassionate and empathetic care, Mackenzie deserves to be recognized as a COVID-19 Hero.”

Mandy Gatson, Coordinator, Orthopedic Service Line

Medical City – North Hills

“Mandy was key to the success of our local COVID vaccine clinic. She provided flexibility for other volunteers, always arriving early and ensuring the vaccine was drawn up and ready to go for the first arrival. Mandy was on standby at all times to jump in to either triage or give vaccines to avoid both gaps in coverage and to facilitate throughput. Mandy also managed the standby list to avoid any wasted vaccine. Thank you for all your hard work and willingness to help wherever you were needed!”

Mariah Arrighetti, RN

Medical City – Plano

“Mariah is an energetic, intelligent, go-getter on a busy Tele floor. When the fear and uncertainty of COVID hit, many nurses were afraid. Many were terrified to float, which was needed almost daily. Mariah volunteered and floated in others’ place as she has a love for her team, their concerns, and most of all- giving the best care possible. She continues to float often to provide care for COVID-19 patients, with a full heart and excellent skills. In 25 years of nursing and over a decade in leadership, I have been proud of many nurses. I have never respected, admired, or been more proud of an RN as I of Mariah. She is a hero in that she doesn’t run from the danger, she runs toward it- carefully and skillfully- when people are in need.”

Mary Roberts, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Mary (MK) Roberts is an experienced physical therapist who specializes in patients who have had burns or other traumatic orthopedic injuries. MK’s knowledge and skills allow her to provide top notch unique physical therapy for each patient she sees. She has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Melanie Leonard, RN

Medical City – North Hills

“Melanie Leonard worked endless hours to lead a team to run the vaccine clinic at Medical City North Hills.
Her determination and her servant leader attitude lead to setting up the vaccine clinic with a 24 hour notice. With her leadership her team not only vaccinated the MCNH staff and physicians but EMS, Fire and Police.
To drive the goal of zero waste the clinic managed a standby list and took the vaccine to the departments within the hospital. Running the vaccine clinic 7 days a week for day, night and during holidays allowed staff, physicians and first responders to receive a vaccine so they could offer front line care to the sickest of patients.

Melanie is one of the first to step up in critical need to time to share her giving heart and spirit. During this time she had significant loss of her own family but continued to work to make sure others were safe, despite what was going on in her life. Covid is lossing it’s grip in humanity due to the drive and determination of those like Melanie.”

Nora Molinar, Executive Secretary – Facilities

Medical City – North Hills

“Behind every strong team there is a stronger support person. That is true of Nora Molinar. Nora went above and beyond to make sure that the plant operations team knew where to go and what equipment was needed to make the MCNH safe for all patients, guest and staff. Her critical thinking and quick actions helped to secure the environment for a safe and effective vaccine clinic. Its the hero’s behind the scenes like Nora who made the defect of COVID possible.”

Olga Shvarts, Pharm.D, Critical Care Pharmacist

Medical City – Plano

“Olga is on the front lines of COVID-19 treatment in our sickest patients as a member of the critical care team at Medical City Plano. She assists providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, and dieticians with the selection and monitoring of medication and nutrition therapy in critically ill patients. She also manages medication therapy during code response. In addition, Olga continues to lead the pharmacy department in critically evaluating medication therapies for COVID-19. She led the development of the Medical City Plano adult COVID-19 treatment guidelines and updates these evidence-based recommendations as new data emerges. She regularly communicates new evidence and treatment recommendations to the department, providers, and facility.”

Priscilla Garcia, Director, Health Information Management

Medical City – North Hills

“With her role in HIM, Priscilla is no stranger to making sure medical records are accurate and complete so it was no surprise that she jumped in as a volunteer to triage our staff and community partners as they arrived for their COVID vaccine. Priscilla often signed up for the late shifts, staying long after her normal work hours were complete, ALWAYS with a smile on her face. Thank you Priscilla for making sure everyone was taken care of!”

Puloma Mehta, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Puloma Mehta is an experienced physical therapist who has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! Puloma is a regular when it comes to treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19. She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Randy Benton, Facilities Mechanic

Medical City – North Hills

“Randy Benton can always be found with a smile and kind word, along with his commitment to his team. Preparing battle for the COVID 19 virus found many of those who work behind the scenes as essential. Randy stepped up quickly when he found out the vaccine clinic needs to be up and running in less that 24 hours. His willing and eager attitude was an important part of preparing our front line workers to get the vaccine, so they could care for their patients.”

Roxanne Addison, Respiratory Therapist

Medical City – Denton

“As Respiratory Therapist Roxanne was terminally extubating a COVID-positive patient for comfort care/withdrawal, she leaned over and quietly read a prayer in the patient’s ear from a little book she carries in her back pocket. Then she held the patient’s hand. When asked if she were praying for the patient, she replied that she was, and that it saddened her to see patients pass away alone. She said she that she obviously doesn’t want to offend anyone if they’re not religious, but with no family or friends around, it was just a little gesture she could do to offer comfort. Roxanne’s small gesture demonstrated the dignity, empathy and respect for patients who are unable to be surrounded by their loved ones while they are passing. Respiratory therapists have been on the frontline with patients, helping them recover and take their last breath. Roxanne exemplifies the value of putting her patients first by recognizing that our patients may be going through heartbreaking or traumatic events alone and intervened in a simple but elegant way to let them know that they are, in fact, not alone. This simple act of kindness in the midst of a tragic and heartbreaking pandemic exemplifies all that each of us contended with in caring for patients. We are often the last face they see, the last hand they hold. We are grateful to those who give peace in our patients’ last moments.”

Roel Mediana, Occupational Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Roel was one of the first OTs to volunteer to evaluate and treat our pandemic patients. His capable and competent manner is inspiring to his Rehabilitation Department co-workers and to his patients.”

Ryan Palmer, Senior Tech Analyst

Medical City – North Hills

“Ryan Palmer always puts his servant heart forward to support the frontline workers. The challenge of COVID 19 was no different. Ryan responded quickly when the need arose to set up a vaccine clinic with 24 hour notice. Ryan not only made it possible for the vaccine team to have the IT equipment needed, but also to support the clinic being there during open hours for the first two weeks, but also being on call for any need that would arise. Through his efforts the vaccine staff was able to run smoothly and have all IT needs met.”

Samsook Theisen, CCU ANM

ECMO Specialist/ECMO Primer

Medical City – Plano

Samsook is such a great leader in CCU on night shift. She is also an ECMO Specialist and Primer. When we recently lost one of our night time primer to another facility, Samsook readily picked up extra shifts and rearranged her schedule to help cover all the staffing shortages created from losing a primer on nights. It is a requirement that a primer must be in house when we have a patient on ECMO. Her and the other primer, Amanda Smith, both went above and beyond in covering our patients. Samsook makes sure every nurse is taken care of during her shift. She readily helps everyone and leads the units through some tough staffing times.

Stacy Winchester, Director, Quality

Medical City – Plano

“Stacy has been a tremendous asset to our patients this year. She jumped in without hesitation and assisted in leading the implementation of rapidly changing COVID protocols posted by the CDC in March 2020. Our facility is a 515-bed acute care facility that provides tertiary/quaternary levels of care to people in our community in Plano, Texas. She supported all of our colleagues with PPE questions and was successful in minimizing fears they had about reuse protocols and testing in an effort to identify COVID + patients and conserve PPE. She earned the respect of our colleagues and leaders alike during this pandemic. She demonstrated true grit and has been resilient throughout 2020. For these reasons, it is my pleasure to nominate Stacy Winchester to be a COVID hero this year.”

Stephen Belcher, Manager, Plant Operations

Medical City – North Hills

“The call came out the Medical City North Hills would be receiving the COVID vaccine to give to the front line workers. Steve demonstrated his strong leadership skills and snap into actions with in a hour after the call. He quickly rallied his team to gather equipment and clear a space to host the clinic. His efforted supported the initiative to vaccinate as many front line workers as possible. The MCNH clinic was indeed up and running in 24 hours. Thank you Steve for your support in the COVID battle.”

Suk-Ran Seo, Physical Therapist

Medical City – Plano

“Suk-Ran Seo is an experienced physical therapist who has significant experience with almost every type of patient population. She can be seen on just about any floor of the hospital, working with almost any patient population. She has often helped care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and frequently volunteers to evaluate and treat these patients! She always has a willing attitude and wants what is best for her patients! Her enthusiasm and desire to put her patients first always comes out in her work. She’s a COVID HERO!”

Sydney Maxwell, RN

Medical City – McKinney

“Only six months out of nursing school when the pandemic hit last year, Sydney Maxwell was one of the first nurse heroes at Medical Center McKinney to volunteer to care for COVID-19 patients. With her passionate commitment to care, Maxwell is a great representative of all her nursing colleagues. At the height of the pandemic, she even went shopping for clothing that patients could wear home or food and toiletries they might need to get them through a two-week quarantine after leaving the hospital. Jim Martin was one of those patients. He recovered from COVID after being on a ventilator and battling pneumonia. He was so grateful for the care he received that he returned to the hospital later to find Maxwell and thank her. “I do not know how I would have gotten through it without your help,” Martin wrote in a “thank you” letter. “The amazing thing about it is that you chose to help, knowing full well the life-threatening scenario.” As one of the first nurses on the front lines of the pandemic, Maxwell used her experiences to equip other nurses to care for COVID-19 patients. She assembled special COVID supply kits to help colleagues working the next shift. Maxwell also put together – and regularly updated — a COVID education binder to assist nurses who were new to caring for these patients. Maxwell also wants to be sure that COVID patients do not die alone. She comforts them, listens to their last words and wishes to convey to family, and loves them until family can arrive. The hospital’s palliative coordinator shared this recent example of Maxwell’s outstanding care for an end-of-life COVID-positive patient, who was not even her direct responsibility. “When he started to suffer from terminal restlessness, Sydney stayed at his side, held his hand and comforted him by letting him know that she would tell his children that he had made peace with the world and was ready to go to heaven. He told her that he loved her and she returned the ‘I love you.’ She cried with him, and he told her he would save a place in heaven for her. Sydney called his children to come be at his bedside, stayed with him until they arrived and assured him he was not alone. As nurses, we have had some very hard days, shed tears for patients and families. We are one year into this pandemic and she still, to this day, has the compassion to care for her dying patient with love and respect.”

Travis Barbosa, RN, Relief Charge Nurse, ER 

Medical City – Plano

“Travis Barbosa picked up an additional 35 shifts since July on top of his fulltime commitment in the ER. He has worked long and hard days without complaining and still comes back the next day with a smile. His willingness to help the ER family with his extra time has been truly appreciated!”

Aleasha Johns, Clinical Manager 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Aleasha was instrumental in educating the staff during COVID and developed a manual proning SOP which provided nurses with the tools and resources needed to prone multiple patients. Moreover she developed a PAPR checklist for nurses use and a YouTube video to teach the ICU team in how to use PAPRs. She was personally responsible for monitoring the use of PAPRs and maintaining the equipment. She stayed after her shift and came in multiple times to assist in PAPR use and cleaning for weekend procedures. She also stepped in to work when capacity and acuity doubled. She created multiple YouTube videos to keep the staff updated on frequent changes related to COVID policies and put in overtime to assist night shifts and the sudden high influx of COVID patients. Moreover she took time to speak with nurse residents around the management of COVID patients discussing treatment, admitting aerosolizing procedures, the many unknowns and how nurses adapted and overcame obstacles with limited resources, innovation and celebrating all the successes. She talked about the hardships of COVID 19 and the new normal and how teamwork is the most important aspect of a nurses job. She gave herself to our patients and team and is worthy of being a COVID hero.”

Amanda Binnix, BSN, RN, CEN, LSSYB

Director, Quality

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

“Before many people even realized the full, devastating effects of COVID-19, Binnix looked for ways to thwart it. As a trained nurse with a background working in an emergency setting, Binnix has demonstrated strong crisis management skills, ensured staff had the supplies and equipment they needed, and streamlined hospital processes. Because of Binnix, Methodist Charlton had a plan in place for handling the worst-case scenario. We can’t put a price on her expertise and leadership skills.”

Amy Mabry

Director, Nursing 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“Early on in the pandemic, Amy worked with multiple departments within our hospital to get a COVID unit up and running. First, she worked with Facilities to identify rooms to be designated as COVID beds and to implement the COVID area to go to negative pressure. Amy had to work quickly to develop and implement education materials and sessions for her nursing staff to be ready to safely care for COVID patients.

Throughout all of this, Amy also wanted to keep her staff motivated and let them how much she appreciated their work. Together with Pam Gessling, another one of our nursing directors, she put up white boards to record the number of patients that came off ventilators and the number that were discharged. Amy and Pam also rounded up volunteers and put together care packages with snacks and stress relief items for all nursing staff working in the COVID units.

Anthony Boyer, MD

Pulmonologist/Intensivist

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Anthony Boyer is a pulmonologist on staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. He never gives up on a patient, not even a COVID-19 victim who spent six weeks on a ventilator and almost as many on dialysis after his kidneys failed. When the time came for the patient to go home, Dr. Boyer was right there for the clap-out celebration and to wish the patient’s grateful family well.”

Ashley White

ED Followup Nurse, EMS Coordinator, Staff Nurse 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“As a follow-up nurse and EMS coordinator, Ashley makes hundreds of calls a month following up with patients who visit the ER. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ashley’s caseload of follow-up calls tripled. Despite the increased difficulty of these cases, Ashley took the work in stride. She had the experience, and the caring heart of a nurse, to make those calls and connect with patients. And while she’s only required to make the initial call to provide the diagnosis, Ashley would make multiple follow-up calls after that just to check in with patients.

For one case, there was an 80-year-old patient who tested positive for coronavirus and lived alone. Ashley called her every few days to make sure she was OK and check she had enough to eat. Other calls are to relatives of a patient who recently died from COVID-19; she helps them to schedule testing for themselves and walks them through how to make funeral arrangements. Then, in some cases, she has to call back to tell them they are positive too.

Despite the stress level and emotional toll that Ashley’s job takes, she keeps her calm on every call, she’s empathetic and takes the time to listen to her patients’ questions and give them answers.”

Brook Williams, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, CENP

Nursing, Director 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Brook leads the critical and emergency care units at the hospital and was instrumental in developing the protocols for PPE as well as screening visitors and staff during this COVID pandemic. During the pandemic she has helped sustain top quartile patient satisfaction currently at the 99%ile and employee engagement. She has also been instrumental in decreasing ventilator associated events through structured interdisciplinary plan of care rounds. She was instrumental in developing the protocols for PPE and screening for visitors and staff during this COVID-19 pandemic. She opened a new FastTracker ER as well as a new 15-bed inpatient unit in the medical-day unit to handle the demand for hospital beds during COVID-19. During the pandemic, she has helped sustain top quartile patient satisfaction and employee engagement.
Brook has also been instrumental in decreasing ventilator-associated events through a structured interdisciplinary plan of care rounds. She is an innovator and proponent of nursing research and evidence-based practice. She implemented a new care delivery model for patients undergoing cardiac surgery. A new clinical pathway led by her decreased the average length of stay from 8.25 days to 6.5 days. This research project was disseminated via Podium at the L2E Summit and via presentation at the National Magnet Conference. She also benchmarked a wearable FitBit step monitor for postoperative cardiovascular patients to increase their movement and improve recovery time. This research is ongoing and is showing evidence that movement improves recovery.
This excellent nurse also implemented with Mayo Clinic an evidence-based voiding trial protocol to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections. She purchased bladder scanners for the unit and worked with IT to integrate the protocol into the electronic medical record. She created a Free Lunch for a Line with the staff, whereby any nurse who removed a catheter would receive a gift card for lunch. Since she implemented the program, not a single urinary tract infection has occurred, and this has continued for 10 months. She also established early mobilization of ventilated patients, which reduced intensive care unit stays from an average of 4.1 days to 2.8 days in one year”

Chanse Boehringer, Charge Nurse 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Chanse volunteered to head the COVID 19 unit at the hospital. He has taken on the role of charge nurse as if all of us are his family members.

Chanse reassures family members constantly communicating with them and making sure they are comfortable knowing their family member is being well cared for in the COVID 19 unit. He was also instrumental in discharging COVID 19 patients out the back of the hospital for their privacy and reserved two parking areas for COVID patient family members to use. He is a servant leader in the unit, going above and beyond for all the members in the unit.

Chanse provides exceptional leadership and works closely with the physicians to foster relationships between nursing and the ancillary departments, creating teams that respect one another and have one focus in mind: our patients. He has been innovative in allowing patients the use of an iPad for face time visits with family members and the hospital had a no visitor policy. He promotes cluster of care in the COVID 19 unit to reduce nurse exposure time and relocated the IV pumps outside the doors using extension tubing to reduce the need of nurses to frequently enter rooms of COVID 19 patients.

Chanse keeps the patient’s priorities at the forefront by providing a focus on physical therapy or speech therapy as needed. He also decreases exposure of nurses in the COVID 19 unit by limiting access to the area requiring nurse patient hand-offs of meal delivery, dedicated housekeeping and dedicated physical therapy so the exposure to infectious diseases is kept at a minimum. He manages the distribution of PPE and reassuring staff about the proper protocols in doing what is best for patients and staff. He also manages up leadership and organizational efforts to peers and other staff on the unit. He proactively identified potential barriers to care and collaborating with others to find solutions. He is an outstanding example of a unsung hero who goes above and beyond every day.”

Cheryl Wherry, Manager, Infection Prevention Control 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“This hero has been instrumental in monitoring and providing updated on the COVID virus to the team a few months before it hit. She developed communications, including alerts, flyers and guidelines on PPE, visitor policies, employee screenings, contingency plans and conservation plans, testing, etc. She was instrumental in training the staff on doning and doffing PPE helping to create videos and verifying inventories of N95 and isolations masks and gowns to ensure the staff had everything needed to combat the virus. She also set-up a 24 hour telephone hot line and Internet link to handle all the internal and external COVID information and established a task force for emerging infectious diseases. She served on the campus operation team and met weekly disseminating information to all campus leaders. Furthermore she was on call 24 hours a day helping with guidance in opening a 16-bed COVID unit and constantly updating everyone on the latest evidence based practices to combat the virus. When our supply of disinfection became fragile she provided an alternative solution before the supply began scarce. She also created processes in response to patient influx which was doubling daily. She was also instrumental in acquiring initial vaccine for employees and crating processes for immunizations. She helped manage patient flow, isolation of patients and fielded questions. She was the person everyone looked to when uncertainty surrounded them. She was the voice of reason and has a calming spirit to help lead everyone through these unprecedented times. She was reassuring and a team player who helped everyone remain calm and is worthy of being named a COVID hero.”

Chisom Mwachukwu, MD

Associate Medical Director 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“This COVID hero has been known to wear a superman cape to brighten the spirits of the staff. She has been an associate medical director of the COVID unit for six years. She ensures the team needs are being met, the hospital quality metrics are been fulfilled to the highest potential and is ready to give sympathy and compassion to the team and her patients. She spends more time at the hospital than she does with her own families and she loves what she does and has a passion for hospital medicine. Her leadership style conforms to a family type mentality. This includes the medical staff, nursing and ancillary staff as well. When COVID hit, she was very proactive in preparing the physicians and staff with PPE and insuring everyone was safe. She meticulously strategized protocols, policies, safety and patient care concerning COVID from the information gathered from various sources, infectious disease specialists and other hospitals. She attended daily meetings with all the key leaders that were essential to the start up process on how to effectively care for the COVID patients and keep the staff safe. She was part of the first COVID unit. The patients consisted of both med/surg, IMC, and ICU patients. She worked diligently with the staff on PPE. She contacted her church and had them make home made N95 masks from surgical materials and helped sew them on her day off. She also contacted the American Medical Association and submitted all the paperwork to obtain more PPE and stepped up to lead during the COVID crisis. She entered COVID patients rooms to examine patients and be the best physician she can be rather than using telemedicine. Not knowing mush about the virus, naturally she was frightened; however, it is her calling, her passion in life to serve others. She is sympathetic to the patients that their loves ones can not be with them at all, and they are isolated in their fooms for weeks, sometimes months at the beginning. She spent many hours with COVID patients, praying with them, and spending countless hours on Facetime or video conference to bridge the communications gap, giving the patients and family members updates on their plan of care and a chance to see their loved one. There is not much treatment even now for COVID and Dr. Nwachukwu often times was the life coach, the counselor, and pray warrior for patients. She got to know the families intimately and many were in the hospital for weeks and months. Many lives were lost, and this hurt her as well. She became attached to many family members. She prayed with them tirelessly, and gave them what they needed the most, love. She participated in weekly meetings in the beginning to review when we know and what we were learning about the virus and it was everchanging. She continued her efforts to communicate with patients and staff, organize and provide updates on treatment protocols, especially what worked and what didn’t. She is a dedicated leader during this unprecedented time in history. She treats others with love, respect, and leads by example. She i worthy to be a COVID hero.”

Danielle Cooper, BSN, RN, PCCN

Nurse Manager 

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Danielle Cooper had just been promoted to nurse manager of a newly constructed Intermediate Care Unit at Methodist Richardson. That unit had been open for just a few short weeks before it became the dedicated unit for the sickest COVID patients. Those patients were mostly on ventilators and needed constant care.”

Debbie Derda, Director, Operating Room 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“As decisions to reduce elective surgeries at the start of the pandemic were made, literally overnight, Debbie re-assigned her staff to begin performing extra cleaning duties throughout the hospital to keep our patients safe. To see operating room nurses and housekeepers working side by side in hallways, waiting rooms and patient care areas wiping down all surfaces was a testament to Debbie’s leadership. Her staff also began coordinating employee, physician and visitor screening stations to make sure everyone entering our hospital was safe and healthy.

Around March 23, a surgeon called me and asked me to stop by a meeting room in our operating room area. I asked why, and this surgeon said, “Necessity is the mother of innovation.” I immediately went to meet him and found four of Debbie’s staff sewing cloth masks just in case we might need them at a future date. Needless to say, all the masks made by Debbie’s staff were put to good use.
Debbie didn’t wait for someone to tell her to do the things described above; she did them because she wanted to help, keep her staff safe and try to save lives.”

Delfina McLemore-Rohde, RN

Methodist Midlothian Medical Center

“Delfina, a nurse in the emergency department for over twenty years with the Methodist Health System, consistently provides patient-centered care in a safe & efficient manner. As Methodist Midlothian opened & quickly began to see an influx of patients, Delfina continually worked extra shifts to meet the increasing demand that has been required for emergent treatment needed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. As new staff is added to the team, she also serves as a mentor to co-workers and is an advocate to patients/family alike.”

Duyen Taylor Nguyen, RT 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Taylor has worked tirelessly in the fight against COVID 19 at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. She was the first to step and work 7 days a week in the COVID unit to help save lives. At first she learned all she could about the virus and shared her clinical knowledge with others as a respiratory therapist. She worked tirelessly in a 16-bed COID unit many times triaging patients because so many were starving for air. Her goal was to prevent intubation and encouraged self-proning because she found this helped patients breath. She a was scared and took all the necessary precautions to ensure her family was safe by changing in and out of clean scrubs once she left the unit, wiping her shoes and wearing PPE. She also purchased PPE with her own money to be extra cautious and doubly protective herself. Days were exhausting as she responded to numerous code blues, blood pressure drops, stroke and respiratory distress. The COVID virus made many people really sick and effected every major organ in their body, and while a lot survived they all had a long process of rehab and Taylor was there to hold their hand, talk to family members and build teamwork among her team. She was our COVID warrior also looking for creative ways to help each patient survive and work on the unit as a team to provide the best of care. She would also display a supportive attitude and encouragement from the bedside. She was also celebrating patient successes when they were able to be discharged they she was elated to share in the happy moment. It was emotionally taxing and especially end of life or when there were changes in a patients vitals. She says safety was most important and that they leaned on each other when her co-workers felt stressed or overwhelmed. Taylor worked multiple weekends and night shifts to accommodate the sudden influx of patients and relied on her faith and her co-workers to persevere. She is worthy of being named a COVID hero.”

Heather Elliott, Coordinator, Pathology & Labs

Methodist Midlothian Medical Center

“Heather Elliott serves as the pathology & lab coordinator at Methodist Midlothian Medical Center.  Opening a new hospital is always a daunting & busy task, but opening a hospital in the middle of a health pandemic, adds additional layers of difficulties & challenges.  Heather responded to the call and has organized a high-performing team, while also coordinating the supplies necessary during the pandemic (PPE, reagents, etc.).  Likewise, she has been able to keep the lab running efficiently with an influx of COVID testing and regular lab testing that goes along with patients’ diagnosis.”

Jenny Tillery, Director, Volunteer Services 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“Jenny had the foresight, weeks before the CDC recommended that all hospital patients and employees wear masks, to begin the important task of collecting homemade cloth masks. Thanks to Jenny’s work with many local volunteer groups, all of Methodist Health System now has access to this vital resource. Putting her organizational management skills and inviting personality to use, Jenny developed and deployed screeners for each entrance of our hospital. Before the pandemic, Jenny oversaw all of the 461 people, young and old, who volunteer at the hospital. These volunteers serve roles that are vital to our patients, but when the pandemic hit, they were all asked to stay home. Even so, Jenny continues to check on the well-being of the senior volunteers and delivers care packages to them.”

Jacklyn Yeap, BSN, RN, CCRN-CSC

Nurse Manager 

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Since joining the ICU team at Methodist Richardson, Jackie Yeap has embraced team nursing and has served as charge nurse, a runner, and a primary nurse for COVID-19 patients. Her positive attitude and unwavering professionalism make her a role model and inspiration to her ICU team.”

Jennifer Allen, BSN, RN

Nurse Manager, ICU 

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

“While managing a 44-bed unit filled with the hospital’s sickest patients, Allen took a proactive approach by visiting another unit with COVID-19 victims in less dire conditions. There, she showed nurses how to care for patients so they could keep breathing on their own without the need for mechanical ventilation.”

Jennifer Coffman, MD

Director, ED 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Dr Coffman was also instrumental in creating a COVID treatment area in the ED where patients could be seen quickly and treated. She also authored clinical guidelines to treat COVID patients in the ED and serves on the COVID 19 task force keeping all physicians informed and accountable. She was also a champion for appropriate PPE for the ED staff and was instrumental in obtaining PPE donations from others for the hospital to ensure ample supplies of N95 masks. Additionally, she created a fast COVID-19 response plan and led changes in patient flow to create dual pathways for vertical and horizontal patients resulting in decrease LOS for all patients and reduced door to provider times for patients. These changes resulted in high patient’s satisfactions scores in the 99%ile that have been sustainable for 21 months currently in the 95%ile even with the COVID 19 pandemic. Most recently, she gave up her office to make way for a flu clinic that streamlines flu patients for treatment and release in a timely manner isolating them away from other severe patients. She also gave up half the ED lobby to set-up a COVID private treatment areas so that COVID 19 patients could be treated quickly and be separated from other more severe ED patients like heart attack and stroke and children with minor injuries and broken bones.”

Jenny Tillery, Director, Volunteer Services 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“Jenny had the foresight, weeks before the CDC recommended that all hospital patients and employees wear masks, to begin the important task of collecting homemade cloth masks. Thanks to Jenny’s work with many local volunteer groups, all of Methodist Health System now has access to this vital resource. Putting her organizational management skills and inviting personality to use, Jenny developed and deployed screeners for each entrance of our hospital. Before the pandemic, Jenny oversaw all of the 461 people, young and old, who volunteer at the hospital. These volunteers serve roles that are vital to our patients, but when the pandemic hit, they were all asked to stay home. Even so, Jenny continues to check on the well-being of the senior volunteers and delivers care packages to them.”

Jody Tolar, Director, Volunteers 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Jody servant heart is exemplified in so many ways throughout the hospital and our community. She has been instrumental in setting up the screening stations at the hospital and keeping in touch with the volunteers as they cannot be at the hospital during this COVID pandemic. She had to quickly cross-train in a totally different position and develop visitation policies, hire screeners and train them almost in a 24 hours day. She jumped in to distribute PPE to all employees and departments and managed all the public and employee entrances ensuring every one was safe. Additionally she purchased all the screening tablets, temperature monitors and interfaced with the public. It was difficult at times as no visitors were allowed in to see patients and many family members had to change their thinking and rely on technology to communicate with their loved one in the hospital. This hero realized that many family members were scared and alone thinking of their loved one, so she held their hand, prayed with them, hugged them and gave them the support that was missing .Her dedication to patient satisfaction is apparent each time she walks through the door and she cares about her team. Jody is often seen rounding in the waiting rooms, visiting with patients and family members, and offering to escort patients to get them where they are going. She doesn’t hesitate to build relationships with our patients, families, and staff. During the COVID pandemic when patients could not have family members in the hospital she went and purchased new adult coloring books and pencils, Suduko books, crossword puzzle books, magazines and non-fiction books and brought them to the hospital for the patients so they would have something to occupy their time and feel special. She also gathered up volunteers to pay for food for the entire staff at the hospital as a sign of appreciation of the work they were doing during this COVID pandemic. She is thoughtful, considerate of others and kind. During the pandemic she also experienced COVID first hand and was hospitalized. After several weeks she recovered and played it forward sharing her stories with others who needed to hear. As a courtesy she established a process to deliver patient belongings to the patient floors to help support the nurses. She also took time to train her screening staff in de-escalation as emotions got extremely high. Furthermore, she established good communication between pastoral services and screeners and developed a support system for families going through difficult times. The screeners have been instrumental in providing comfort to families going through the loss of a love one. Many know family members by name and have built relationships with our families. Jody is a role model and a true example of what it means to have a servant heart and is worthy of being named a COVID hero.”

Julian Escamilla, Manager, Supply Chain

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“During this COVID 19 pandemic Julian has been instrumental in protecting the hospital’s staff by managing PPE every day for healthcare personnel and identifying the most critical needs and alternative ways ways to provide patient care. During COVID 19 he actively solicited N95 masks from cement plants, tool companies, dentist offices, nail salons and more optimizing PPE supplies and helping stretch PPE supplies for critical needs. He also inventoried all donations as Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer from the community and help develop a policy for the staff to stretch the resources further. He also developed contingency options for the most critical needs and availability of supplies including eye protection, isolation gowns, gloves, face masks, N95 respirators, powered air purifying respirators and ventilators to name a few.? He also worked with hospital departments to develop strategies that identified and extended PPE supplies, so that recommended PPE would be available when critical staff caring for COVID 19 patients needed it most. He also provided numerous samples to the education department for training and fit testing.

Obtaining donations from many different countries and in foreign languages was no struggle for this healthcare hero. Julian managed to categorize the various N95, KN95, and other respirators from China and Korea, along with hundreds of surgical masks and identified which ones would be best used in specific areas of the hospital. He also sorted through thousands of hand sanitizer’s brands that were donated to the hospital organizing each brand by alcohol content and more. He did this while organizing the larger than normal purchased supplies by the hospital to handle the pandemic and keep staff safe. Moreover, he also helped sort through the various sanitary wipes that were donated to the hospital again sorting the thousands of donations by alcohol content and ingredients verify the best ones for specific areas of the hospital to keep patients safe. Whether serving in the Army or serving at the hospital this healthcare hero is protecting and serving his country. He is deserving of being named a COVID healthcare hero.”

Kathleen Harris, Coordinator, Respiratory 

Methodist Midlothian Medical Center

“Kathleen is the coordinator for respiratory at Methodist Midlothian Medical Center.  She consistently works around the clock during the pandemic to help patients recover through diagnosis, treatment and management of their pulmonary issues.  Being the head of our respiratory department, she goes above & beyond to ensure her team is educated and always looks for ways to improve clinical practice.”

Katherine Hartdegen, BSN, BS, RN, CPN

Manager, Infection Prevention & Control 

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“After 15 years as a pediatric and NICU nurse, Katherine jumped at the opportunity to head up the Infection Prevention department at Methodist Richardson. Little did she know, five months later, the biggest global pandemic in a generation would hit. Katherine never missed a beat, coordinating the hospital’s infectious disease protocols and the ever-evolving use of personal protective equipment (PPE).”

Kevin Berwise, Manager, Environmental Services 

Methodist Midlothian Medical Center

“Kevin serves as the Environmental Services Manager at Methodist Midlothian Medical Center.  He has gone above & beyond to make sure our hospital is well-equipped & sanitary for our guests.   He helps clean COVID rooms, wax floors, and do whatever it takes to make sure the job is done for patient safety.  Amongst his many duties at our new hospital, he has also helped at the Methodist Mansfield campus to fill staffing gaps throughout the year.”

Julie Norris, Nurse Manager

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“This excellent nurse manager is highly intelligent and knowledgeable. This excellent nurse manager converted her telemetry stroke unit to a COVID unit when the pandemic began in March, and it has remained a COVID unit since. She had to educate and support her team through personal and professional challenges that the pandemic has brought. She has had to facilitate communication with family and patients at a time when there was no face-to-face contact by setting up virtual visits. She has been there at the bedside alongside her nurse saying goodbye to patients while loved ones, family members, and friends paid their last respects remotely via Facetime. She did while keeping up her staff’s morale and employee engagement is in the top quartile and the second highest of all nursing units at the hospital. It is no surprise that her unit has the lowest turnover and consistently the best staff. This nurse manager optimizes her unit base council to engage staff, and they accomplish high advanced certification and BSN rates, high levels of Clinical Advancement Program participation, and best practices in nurse-sensitive quality indicators such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections and central line–associated blood stream infections. This excellent nurse manager took the lead in providing PPE from the start of the pandemic and implemented best PPE practices to conserve supply while keeping her staff and patients safe. She has turned her unit around from the 55th percentile to the 88th percentile in the nation for patient satisfaction according to Press Ganey. She piloted the Dyad model, which involved partnership with a hospitalist to focus on patient experience and to hold each other’s staff accountable. Working with the hospitalist, they have achieved great success. She was also responsible for the idea of dedicated discharge callback nurses, which has been a game changer for the unit’s overall patient experience. She is currently piloting a mid-shift PCT model to improve the responsiveness domain. She also designed staffing spreadsheets for the entire hospital, electronic peer evaluation forms, and many other SharePoint tools that nurse leaders use daily. This nurse manager is known for her technology skills. She helped collect snacks, cookies, and sodas for goody baskets for frontline staff working the COVID-19 pandemic. This nurse manager demonstrates honesty and integrity in her day-to-day functions. She is a valuable resource for consults for all the COVID care team members. She keeps up on COVID-19 data and research and shares findings with her staff. She is an ambassador of the hospital’s core values and missions, has excellent clinical skills, and has high integrity, and she gives 100 percent every day while keeping the patient experience at the forefront. Her ability to naturally lead allowed her to serve as a care manager for complex, highly acute COVID-19 patients. She was able to take her staff of various specialties and combine them into one COVID unit. She is worthy of being named a COVID hero.”

Les Cler, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Cler has been the link to all members of our medical staff. He ensures communication and planning with the medical staff are intact. It’s no secret that he is the glue that is holding things together. What isn’t so obvious is the behind-the-scenes actions that Dr. Cler consistently carries out to ensure a safe environment.

At day and evening shift changes, Dr. Cler would lead short sessions on the “do’s and don’ts” of personal protective equipment, answer staff questions and make time to check in on patients. When we implemented a no-visitors policy and communication with families became a challenge, Dr. Cler helped establish plans for iPad and other telecommunication devices to be used to connect families and patients.

When sons and daughters were afraid because they could not sit with their mom or dad who was a patient in our ICU, Dr. Cler was the one who called the patients’ families, even when it meant taking time away from his own family.”

Luke McKittrick, Director, Supply Chain

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Equipping a hospital to face a global health crisis is no easy task, but Supply Chain Director Luke McKittrick at Methodist Richardson Medical Center worked tirelessly ensure the hospital had the PPE and other supplies needed to face the pandemic. In the early days, that meant working 7-days a week. He rose to the occasion to make sure colleagues had the tools they needed to tackle COVID-19.”

Linda Turner, MSN, RN, CCRN

Nurse Manager, ICU 

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Linda is a veteran ICU nurse manager who helped develop a nursing model to expand critical care capacity during the pandemic. She partnered her ICU staff with COVID-19 nurses to form mentoring teams that share four patients a shift. Her innovative approach gave patients who needed ventilators the around-the-clock care they required.”

Mark Gemina, BSN, RN, CCRN

Nurse Leader 

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

“Gemina fearlessly leads a team of nurses and patient care technicians to treat a 30-bed unit of COVID-19 patients. Recognizing that being quarantined away from their families took a toll on his patients, Mark helped obtain tablets so patients could chat online with family members. Gemina has worked 16-hour days to support his staff, and his empathic leadership style has boosted the unit’s morale. Mark is an exceptional leader.”

Michael Busch, BSN, RN

CCRN Nurse, ICU 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Michael works on the front line of the COVID unit and has a unique way of getting patients to understand the importance of post-discharge follow-up and medication compliance. It is no surprise that patient satisfaction on his unit is in the 99th percentile in the nation. He says the most powerful tool that he has is the iPad he uses to connect patients with their family members.
When a police sergeant came into his unit with COVID-19 and began to give up and decline, this nurse jumped into action. He called the hospital police to salute him outside his room. He called the local police and his fellow officers who came and held up signs of encouragement outside the patient’s window, giving the patient hope to keep fighting. He recorded the patient’s heartbeat and placed the recording in a Build-A-Bear® to remind the patient that people care and that he needed to fight to get better. Because of this nurse’s actions the patient got better, and after 66 days, he was discharged to a rehabilitation facility.
Michael gives love, faith, strength, and hope to patients. He has a heart of gold and works every holiday so others can be with their families. He has been described as a change agent who involves others and makes a difference in the lives of patients. He gives hope and encouragement while caring for patients. He is a go-to person for staff and physicians because of his clinical strength and is always ready to listen, troubleshoot when needed, and find solutions.”

Michael Foster, MD

Pulmonologist/Intensivist

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Dr. Michael Foster is a pulmonologist on staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. He specializes in critical care medicine, internal medicine, and pulmonology – the trifecta for caring for COVID-19 patients. He wrote the book on COVID-19 for Methodist Health, taking it upon himself to chronicle the latest research on testing and trends for the system’s COVID-19 manual. He did all this, while caring daily for COVID patients.”

Nora Frasier, DNP, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC

Vice President and CNO 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Nora Frasier, chief nursing officer, has been working tirelessly During this COVID-19 pandemic, leading our staff and ensuring our patients are safe and well cared for. She inspires others, and although we’ve been hit with hundreds of patients, she has taken the time to treat our nurses and nonclinical staff like family. She has improved morale by posting “Heroes Work Here” signs, celebrating Nurses Week with signage and snack carts, and installing signs for employees and physicians at screening entrances that say “Faithful, Steadfast, Strong,” reminding everyone that we are in this pandemic together.
Nora is a modest, humble, charismatic leader and a champion for our hospital. She has been leading our clinical COVID-19 response and adjusting hospital operations without a decline in quality metrics or patient satisfaction scores, which remain top-notch in the 90th and 95th percentile in the emergency department. Nora participates in systemwide task force meetings and ensures collaboration with physicians and consultation with Mayo Clinic regarding best practices for patient care.
She is an innovator and consistently excels in thinking outside the box to improve patient safety and satisfaction as well as the medical center’s capacity. She has accommodated the influx of patients and their needs by implementing a flexible schedule that uses beds in other parts of the hospital to accommodate inpatients with top-notch cross-trained nurses. She is a strong advocate of patient-centered care and has taken the medical center to unparalleled levels of achievement, as evidenced by the community and national recognitions it has received. From chairing and leading initiatives to charity work in the community, she exemplifies servant leadership. She is worthy to be named an healthcare hero.”

Pam Gessling, Director, Nursing 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“For the first weekend after we received our first COVID patient, Pam took over the ICU while Amy Mabry, also a nursing director, was out for surgery. She covered staffing for ICU and initiated COVID screenings at the Emergency and the Labor and Delivery departments. Perhaps most importantly, Pam educated nurses on N95 mask training and also created organized these mask in a central location to regulate and preserved crucial PPE. She also devised a new process to use Rovers, a device that could be used by nurses on COVID patient during medication scanning and patient identification would photography to decrease exposure and conserve PPE on COVID units. Together with Amy Mabry, she develop and implement specialized Code Blue protocols for COVID patients. They also worked together on keeping up staff engagement and morale by putting up white board tracking the progress of COVID patients.”

Patricia Retzer, Charge Nurse

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Patricia encouraged family members to visit their loved ones through the windows of the hospital and communicates with them daily to provide COVID-19 updates. At the beginning of the pandemic, patients were coming in very scared because nobody knew much about the virus. The nurses were the only people going in the room, covered in PPE with their faces barely visible. To make the staff feel more “human” to their patients, Patricia nurse made large pictures of staff members’ faces and put them on the patients’ plan of care boards. This way, patients would know the face behind the PPE and not be so scared. She also collected new crossword puzzles, handheld games, and books for patients to make their stay a little easier. 

In the COVID unit, she promotes cluster of care to reduce nurses’ exposure time. She requested that the IV pumps of COVID patients be moved outside their rooms using extension tubing to reduce the need for nurses to frequently enter the rooms. She also decreased exposure of nurses in the COVID unit by requiring handoffs of meal delivery, dedicated housekeeping, and dedicated physical or speech therapy as needed. She is a champion for managing the distribution of PPE and reassuring staff about the proper protocols in doing what is best for patients and staff. She is very proactive in identifying potential barriers to care for patients and approaches every endeavor with a positive attitude and endless enthusiasm. She keeps the patients’ priorities top of mind by including a focus on physical or speech therapy as needed. She has been innovative in allowing patients the use of an iPad for Facetime visits with family members while the hospital has had a no-visitor policy. She reassures family members and stays in constant communication with them to ensure that they know their loved one is being well cared for in the unit. She also was instrumental in discharging COVID patients from the back of the hospital for their privacy and reserved two parking areas for family members. She often sits at the bedside and holds patients’ hands and visits with them so they feel they are loved and cared for.

She takes time to mentor staff and supports them during any crisis. She has won several awards and routinely receives numerous kudos from her patients, co-workers, and community members. She is a Clinical Advancement Program Level 4 nurse and a member of the Community Health and Wellness Council. She is a superior leader and is able to give feedback to staff while maintaining a supportive environment. She is a navigator for The Joint Commission and is instrumental in helping the hospital earn Chest Pain reaccreditation by navigating critical patient charts.”

Rosa Nyaoga, E&P Director

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“This fantastic support staff member stepped up to work along side her staff to help clean rooms and sanitize them when census and high acuity patients doubled. She reassured her staff not knowing much about COVID at first, its’ dangers and how contagious it was; however, it was her calling, her passion in life, to serve others, and do the best she can. She helped ensure the hallways, walls, elevators, door knobs and everything inside the hospital was sanitized and cleaned. She worked multiple weekends and night shifts to accommodate the sudden high influx of COVID patients. She also implemented a daily break with her team so that they had a moment to ease their minds and destress and relax with co-workers. She knew that teamwork and trust within the team would be strengthened. She also encouraged input from her staff and PPE safety was most important. She also encouraged her staff to take care of themselves and provided resources if they felt overwhelmed. She also helped any staff member that was going through hardships by offering gift cards, food, and essential items and paid for from her own finances. She is the heart and soul of the hospital and worthy of being named a COVID hero.”

Renee Elue, RN, Charge Nurse, ICU

Methodist Midlothian Medical Center

“Renee is a charge nurse in Methodist Midlothian’s Intensive Care Unit.  Throughout the past year as patient needs have increased in the region, she took on many extra shifts and continued to deliver passionate care to COVID patients during the night shift.  As a preceptor in the department, she has also provided important mentoring & learning experiences for new nurses to our hospital.  Renee is compassionate to her patients, their families and team members.”

Senalt Woldai, MPH, CIC, LSSGM

Manager, Infection Prevention Control 

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

“Senait’s contributions are hard to overstate: She fields staff questions 24/7, updates administrators on new data and guidelines, and helps contact-trace employees for possible viral exposures. She also helped to create algorithms that are used for interrupting COVID-19 test results, guiding treatment, and deciding which precautions are necessary based on testing and symptoms. The success of these initiatives is a testament to her expertise and resolve.”

Shannon Jackson, MSN, RN-BC

Nurse Manager 

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Shannon Jackson had just taken on the role of nurse manager of a newly constructed unit at Methodist Richardson when the pandemic hit. Her unit quickly became one of the designated COVID-19 units at the hospital. She relied on her training as a trauma nurse to help lead her new staff to face the unknowns of caring for these patients.”

Shantala Smart, MD

Infectious Diseases 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“During the COVID pandemic Dr. Smart has kept everyone at the hospital abreast of recent findings regarding the corona virus and shares her knowledge and expertise with the staff serving as a subject matter expert and resource for treatment.  She was instrumental in working with our hospital and Mayo to collect plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to help our hospitalized patients as part of an expanded access program.

Dr. Smart has also was influential in co-horting COVID 19 patients, isolating them in one area of the hospital, and limiting staff exposure by promoting cluster care, and moving IV pumps to outside the door using extension tubing to reduce the need to enter rooms for IV medication administration.  She also managed the distribution of PPE and reassured physicians and staff about proper protocols. She is also leading an initiative to provide probiotics for every patient that is placed on antibiotics at the hospital. This program helps the patient’s digestive system when they are on antibiotics to reduce their risk for C-difficile”

Shelly Lenamond, DO, Medical Director 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“Dr. Shelley Lenamond, DO is the medical director supervising the hospitalist at Methodist Mansfield and Methodist Midlothian Medical Centers. She leads the COVID units at the hospital and has developed protocols for the unit. She also serves as an Internal Medicine Specialist and is certified in internal medicine. She has more than 18 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine medical school in 2003. She was instrumental in being very proactive in preparing the hospital with PPE and insuring the staff and physicians were safe. She meticulously strategized protocols, policies, safety and patient care concerning COVID from the information gathered from various sources, infectious disease specialists and other hospitals within Methodist. Daily meetings with all the key leaders were essential to start up our process on how to effectively take care of COVID patients and keep staff safe. She was on a mission to defeat COVID, and do it well, while preserving PPE, and making sure staff was safe. She started the COVID unit and confirmed positives in the ICU. Not knowing much about COVID, its’ dangers, and how contagious it is, she worked diligently with staff on how to properly place PPE, and served as a mentor. She had daily huddles with the staff that promoted a positive spin in the area and educated them daily on the information coming out concerning COVID. She was the cheerleader for the staff. She hosted numerous lunches our of her own pocket as a token of her appreciation for the staff’s hard work and the team became a family in the unit. Rather than using telemedicine she went into the rooms of COVID patients, touched them and was really with them, as the days and weeks wore on, the isolation and loneliness of our patients were readily know. This great physician was sympathetic that their loved ones could not be with them and served as their family member. She spent countless hours with our COVID patients, praying with them, spending time on Facetime or video conferencing to bridge the communication gap and give family members and patients a chance to see each other. There was not much treatment, even now, and she was often a life coach, counselor and prayer warrior for our patients. She rotated 7 days on and 7 days off and got to know the families intimately as many of our patients were there for months, many slowly dying. It was her mission to win a victory and have COVID patients recover and go home and she began unit celebrations for patients that showed any signs of improvements to encourage the patients as well as her staff as many lives were lost. This was the least she could so in such a world of COVID 19 where no one had real answers, and she was in uncharted territory of medicine. She gave her all for the patients and family members and staff. She prayed with the patients tirelessly and gave them what they needed the most, love. She had weekly meetings in the beginning of the pandemic to review what we know and shat we didn’t know about COVID. She reinforced that everyone was in this pandemic together and all fighting to get patients better. She continued her efforts of communication, organization and monthly updates on treatment protocols, especially of what worked and what didn’t and witnessed the deaths. Her leadership skills improved exponentially during this unprecedented time in history. Her motto never fails – treat others with love, respect, and treat others the way you want to be treated and lead by example. She is truly a COVID hero.”

Shibu Thomas, MD; Tung Tran, MD

Physician, Critical Care 

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“As the COVID-19 pandemic began to gain traction in DFW, Drs. Thomas and Tran were at the forefront. They led the evolution in COVID-19 critical care at three of the Methodist Health System hospitals and in many parts of the city with protocols and best practices as their group covers three of the four health systems in DFW. Whether it is providing input on clinical protocols, facility infrastructure, advanced innovation or utilization of personal protective equipment, these two physicians were always available regardless of their “on” days at Methodist Dallas. Their research on the ever-changing disease state of COVID-19 allowed Methodist Dallas to stay in front of the challenges as they developed. Their clinical expertise on the pandemic provided nursing and respiratory staff peace of mind knowing they had the best of the best standing next to them caring for potentially the greatest burden of critical patients the city has ever seen. Their steadfast commitment to their patients, physician colleagues, and the South Dallas community will never be forgotten.”

Teresa Ortiz, RN 

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

“She was the first nurse at our hospital to volunteer and step up to treat COVID-19 patients. She developed a 6-minute walking test for COVID-19 patients that when used enables them to expand their lungs and recover faster than if the patients were idle. She has a passion for training and teaching nursing skills and listens intently before providing advice to her students. She was instrumental in initiating and opening an intermediate care unit for patients who need more advanced care at the hospital. She developed a new workstation on wheels that is lighter in weight and safer for nurses to use at the bedside and ensured electrical outlets in the hallways were placed waist high and easily accessible. She also updated patient discharge criteria and policies.

This nurse is cross-trained in COVID-19 and was the first to volunteer to take care of COVID-19 patients. She was instrumental in setting up the first COVID-19 unit, which limited the number of nurses exposed to the virus by suggesting that the majority of equipment be placed outside a COVID patients’ room.

While a wheelchair patient was being admitted to the hospital with COVID, this nurse retrieved the patient’s personal belongs from her vehicle — a photo of her late husband and her Bible, two of the most precious things in her life. The COVID patient was so elated that she began to cry and was so thankful. This patient wanted to pray and look at her husband’s photo each night.  Patients often send notes of praise about this nurse and how much it meant to have her care for them. Just yesterday, a patient and family member shared that this nurse helped give their dad hope and the ability to fight COVID again for the second time. This great nurse also took the time to communicate with a family that did not speak English. She sat with them and held their hands, listening, and answering questions. She acted as their family’s guardian and facilitated communication between them and the physician. She often spends time holding patients’ hands, sitting with them, and celebrating special occasions. She receives flowers, cards, fruit baskets, and more from her patients. She sits and visits with each COVID patient, so they don’t feel isolated or alone with a smile. She is truly a COVID hero.”

Tina McNabb, Administrative Director, Laboratory Services 

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

“Tina and her team run an average of 100 tests a day for COVID-19 patients, in addition to thousands of other tests, delivering results in record time. Her department is the only one within the Methodist Health System equipped to test for the novel coronavirus, cutting the wait time from days at outside labs to four hours or less from hers. Without her team, doctors would not have the proper guidance to determine treatment plans, and nurses would not know which safety precautions are necessary. Tina and her team are priceless assets to Methodist Charlton Medical Center and Methodist Health System.”

Todd Steele, RRT, RCP, Respiratory Therapist 

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

“Todd Steele, a respiratory therapist on staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center was among the first to volunteer in the COVID-19 unit. He stepped up and adapted to every situation, caring for the sickest COVID patients.”

The Vaccine Clinic Team

Candace Adams; John Vo, MSN, RN; Katrina Nesbitt, BSN, RNC-MNN, CMSRN; Lee Ohlson; Kelly Wauters; Carly Pryor; Ro Calderon, RN; Donna Gutierrez; Lorri Roquemore; James Gillis; Jon Albrecht, RPh, MHA; Kirk Bradford, MSN, RN, NE-BC; Nancy Wingler; Robbie Duran; Valerie Hayes; Jeff Hulstein

                                                 Methodist Health System

“The Methodist Health System COVID-19 vaccine clinci was the first hospital in North Texas to receive vaccines back in December. Since then, this team has worked countless of hours to administer more than 35,000 vaccines to Methodist employees, our patients, and members of the public. The team even stepped up to help the City of Dallas vaccinate residents. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson visited the Methodist vaccine clinic and called it comfortable, friendly, and efficient.”

Dolores Diaz, Nurse Manager, Medical Services Program

Parkland Health & Hospital System

“This nurse leader leads by example. She is in the trenches with her team, often working long 12-hour shifts five times a week. Her singular focus is to ensure her team has adequate support and supplies. She is resilient and ensures that she portrays a positive attitude to her team.

She has worked in our hospital since she first became a nurse, which was inspired by the death of her younger brother. In addition to the leading the COVID-19 drive-through testing, she is the manager of the homeless program which provides health care services for unsheltered residents in Dallas County. She loves to reward and recognize other nurses. She serves as the DAISY Committee co-chair in our hospital. Dolores has been featured in Dallas Morning News and was recognized by Texas in InStyle Magazine’s 50 medical personnel and the Univision Network.”

Heng Koum, Manager, Environmental Services

Parkland Health & Hospital System

“Heng has been an amazing asset to the EVS Team at Parkland. He has utilized his incredible knack for building, fixing and making things work throughout the COVID – 19 response. As all hospitals have been hit with supply chain challenges, Heng has been able to create opportunities to sustain the EVS Operations. Heng has personally build hand sanitizer stations to be distributed throughout our healthcare system. He has made multiple trips across the County to deliver supplies to ambulatory sites to keep them stocked. When the supply of bleach was at a critical low, he developed a system to safely pump bleach from a drum into small useable canisters to be used by the Housekeepers. Heng’s selfless attitude to ensure anything he does is done at an exceptional level is evident that he has compassion. He has a deep understanding that the job that he has impacts the safety of the staff and patients that we serve at Parkland. It really is difficult to put into words all that Heng has done for the EVS Department. He has delivered, build, developed, and worked tirelessly many early mornings and late nights. As much as he works, you can never find him without a smile.”

Jonathan Abalos, Nursing Operations Specialist, Ambulatory Specialties Clinic Admin

Parkland Health & Hospital System

“In March of 2020, after being tasked with creating a COVID-19 result call center, Jonathan sprang into action and put together a team of 4 nurses to assist with the task. From scratch, he created educational material for patients, training material for the team, guidance on workflow and daily operations. He also made calls to hundreds of patients and as the volumes grew he trained over 200 additional staff to assist with the crisis. He coordinated internal processes that needed high level staff in IT, Clinical Care, Public Health and Administration to get the job done.

Jonathan still seamlessly completes his duties as NOS for Outpatient Clinics while even assisting with COVID needs in the Jail. He has since helped to create another large call center for non-Parkland patients, organized meetings with Spark for staff to help with the emotional strain associated with such traumatic events.”

Jose Zamora, Manager I, Nursing

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital – Plano

“Throughout the pandemic Jose has continued to remain positive and he personally rounds on staff and patients to ensure everyone is well informed and no one feels isolated. There have been numerous patients in which Jose has been very helpful, but this one stands out – an active, independent retiree and avid golfer. The patient and his spouse visited their family in New York and were exposed to the virus. Both were infected, but only the husband had to be hospitalized. After a lengthy ICU stay, he was transferred to the COVID unit after he was extubated. The patient required a lot of bedside care, and Jose was frequently in the patient’s room assisting with his care. Discharge planning was a challenge since there were very few facilities that would accept a Covid-19 patient at that time. Jose kept the patient’s spouse updated with his condition on a regular basis and assured her that he was well taken care of. When the day for discharge to rehab came, Jose made it possible for the spouse and his friends to see him for the first time from a distance and coordinated a going away parade. The patient’s wife said about Jose, “This man has been a godsend in the last few weeks. He has always made himself available to me and helped me with any concerns I have. He is an asset to your hospital. I have been able to count on him.”

Klava St. John, RN

Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Fort Worth

“Klava St. John, B.S.N., R.N., PCCN, NCAP-V, helped translate for a Russian family during the father’s last days at Texas Health Southwest. The patient was awaiting test results for COVID-19 and he was not doing well. He only spoke Russian and couldn’t grasp what his caregivers were saying to him. The progressive care unit had become a COVID-19 unit with no visitors, so his daughters could not come see him. Because the man was lethargic, care teams were having problems assessing his neurological state. Nurse Klava St. John, B.S.N., R.N., PCCN, NCAP-V, stepped in to help. A Russia native who moved with her family to the U.S. when she was 12, she is fluent in the language. The minute she spoke to him, he began to respond. As he continued to grow sicker, Klava took on the difficult role of helping his daughters to decide whether he should be kept alive using life support or allowed to die naturally.

Dr. Kevin Conley, M.D., the pulmonologist who cared for the man, said Klava’s contribution was invaluable. In a nomination for a Texas Health Applause award, he said: “Without her help, the patient would’ve been intubated and certainly would have died regardless of our care, but it would have potentially exposed multiple other people and utilized resources in a futile effort and likely would have increased the patient suffering at the end of his life.” Gretchen Hunt, hospital chief nursing officer, said she is proud of Klava, particularly during the grueling time of COVID-19. “Klava exemplifies what our caregivers have always been — compassionate, skilled and devoted to the art of nursing,” she said. “I am grateful to them for their bravery during the pandemic.”

Alexis Barina, MD Palliative Care Physician

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Dr. Barina has poured her compassion and intimate knowledge of the human experience into her work with the patients, families, and care teams on the COVID ICU at Clements Hospital. She has been a key member of the team, providing guidance and assistance with communication in working with families during desperate situations. Dr. Barina guides provides vital information for follow-up bereavement care to families who have lost a loved one in isolation due to COVID. Her passion for providing care to all who are dealing with this difficult pandemic situation, including frontline staff, has been inspiring and continues to provide an example of what it truly means to be a caregiver.”

Byron Carlisle, NSICU Nurse Manager

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Byron has from the very start of the pandemic gone over and beyond to make sure his staff feels safe providing prudent and compassionate care to patients over in the covid ICU. In the Neuro icu, we tend to float and help out our nurse friends quite frequently in the covid ICU and Byron wanted to make sure that we were just as prepared and trained to take on that role. Byron set up a mock covid room in an empty room that allowed us to practice donning, doffing, and utilize equipment specific to covid patients. Byron additionally hosted weekly and at times even biweekly covid update meetings that assisted us in being up to date quickly with the ever changing practices and guidelines in the care for covid patients. He has really listened to our feedback and advocated for the staff to ensure we feel safe taking care of these patients. Thanks for being our voice!”

Cara Slaybaugh, Radiologist Technologist

UT Southwestern University Hospitals

“A letter from mom Adrienne Barker: Please take the time to read and catch a glimpse of my daughter, a radiologic technologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Cara is on the front lines in the fight against COVID. Since Cara lives with another healthcare professional. She has volunteered to do all x-rays on all COVID patients in the ER and ICU during all her weekly shifts working 10-hour shifts, & volunteering for weekend shifts. I’m explicitly nominating her because we hear a lot about nurses and doctors who are doing incredible work; however, there is very little recognition for someone like Cara and her team members in imaging. EVERY #COVID #patient has numerous chest x-rays. Radiologic technologists must suit up in full PPE, multiple times a day and take care of many patients. I’m glad to have gotten this opportunity to let you know how many radiologic technologists are working hard behind the scenes. They are workhorses that capture diagnostic images so that physicians and nurses can do their part to heal patients. Radiologic technologists are warriors!”

Charina Bautista, Registered Nurse

UT Southwestern University Hospitals

“She has gone above and beyond during Covid 19, takes care of Covid patients, shows compassion, love and kindness. I am so proud of this nurse.”

Darby Oney, Radiologic Technologist

UT Southwestern University Hospitals

“Darby was a new imaging technologist and new to UTSW a month before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Without hesitation, she volunteered to be one of a few imaging technologists to perform chest x-rays on PUI and COVID + patients. Her willingness to do this helped the department in providing a team that was well versed with donning and doffing of PPE as well as provided her the opportunity to train others on the appropriate manner of performing imaging studies on these type of patients.”

Donald Jones, Senior ED Clinical Coordinator, Special Pathogens Lead

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Donald has been a consistent trailblazer during this pandemic. He was at the frontline of Ebola, and now COVID. He has been the trainer for PPE, implemented action to create process for COVID, and has worked day/night to be on call for our staff. We would not have been as successful during this token to keep our staff safe and implement a process during this pandemic. I am so proud to work alongside him. He also has performed and sang opera to our staff to boost the morale. He is a vital stakeholder.”

Franklin Lopez, Logistics Manager

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals- Clements

“Franklin and his team have gone above and beyond to make sure that the staff at UTSW have the equipment and supplies needed to be safe and provide excellent care to the COVID population. Without these amazing members of the healthcare team, many would be left in need of supplies and PPE. These are the HEROS that are protecting the Frontline and allowing for frontline staff to be able to do what is needed at the bedside.”

Hunter Bradshaw, Operating Room Registered Nurse

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Hunter Bradshaw had just started her job at UTSW when covid started. She had recently changed from the Emergency Department to the Operating Room and was excited to start her new training. However, covid had other plans for her. When she finished orientation, the hospital began asking for volunteers to go to the ED and Hunter selflessly put her self on the frontline to help out in a department she had previously chosen to leave. She put the community of DFW above her feelings and above getting ahead in her training with the OR. Hunter is a true hero and we’re all so proud to have her serving in the OR once again!”

Jacob Shelton, Assistant Nurse Manager

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Jacob is an Assistant Nurse Manager who puts his whole heart into everything he does. When COVID hit, he was a consistent line of support for staff day or night. This included daily meetings with our leadership team, coming in before and after shift to train staff on PPE/protocols. He was the first person in our ED to jump in and take care of a COVID patient. Jacob has shown his unwavering dedication to this job. Safety of staff was his number one priority, with many long days and hours to make sure the staff were confident to take on this pandemic. He helped prepare our ED during this very stressful time that changed daily. I am very proud to work alongside such an amazing nurse and Assistant Manager! Thank you Jacob you are a COVID-19 Hero!”

Javier Rodriguez, Manager, Inventory Control

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Javier and his team have gone above and beyond to make sure that the staff at UTSW have the equipment and supplies needed to be safe and provide excellent care to the COVID population. Without these amazing members of the healthcare team, many would be left in need of supplies and PPE. These are the HEROS that are protecting the Frontline and allowing for frontline staff to be able to do what is needed at the bedside.”

Jessica Yi, Registered Nurse

UT Southwestern University Hospitals

“Jessica has been an outstanding nursing, both pre-COVID19 and during. She has handled emergency situations with grace. She consistently goes above and beyond for her patients, always putting their needs before hers. She is an excellent communicator – expressing patient and her needs with the nursing staff, doctors, and other healthcare teams. She always makes those around her feel welcome by routinely checking on the staff, regardless of what unit they come from. She is always willing to teach, strives to learn each day with any and all new changes, and has maintained a positive outlook throughout the pandemic. She inspires us to be better nurses, to rise up to challenges, and out pandemic response would not be the same without her.”

Kim Pongsatianwong, Ultrasound Team Lead

UT Southwestern University Hospitals – Clements

“Kim Pong’s leadership during this pandemic has been extraordinary. When members of her team were quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19, she was able to supplement assistance and both educated and keep her team and others calm while keeping a brave face. Kim and the ultrasound team streamlined donning/doffing and had buddy assistants till the team was comfortable changing into and out of the personal protective equipment for patient care missions happening inside and outside the COVID rooms. Kim collaborated with the diagnostic x-ray department and continued the best practice to document what each ultrasound technologist wore in every exam in the electronic healthcare record. Due to the community spread, quarantined employees became a challenge, yet Kim’s strong leadership continued. With creative shifts, and working with the outpatient ultrasound technologists; she ensured continual and unwavering coverage that kept up with the hospital census.

Kim has remained calm, kept up the team spirit, and put in appreciation cards for her peers. She sent weekly updates to communicate all the changes; she laminated new workflows, was available 24/7 for questions, and the most amazing part was she kept her sense of humor. This by far had the most impact on the team.”

Martin Marshall, Logistics Director

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Martin and his team have gone above and beyond to make sure that the staff at UTSW have the equipment and supplies needed to be safe and provide excellent care to the COVID population. Without these amazing members of the healthcare team, many would be left in need of supplies and PPE. These are the HEROS that are protecting the Frontline and allowing for frontline staff to be able to do what is needed at the bedside.”

Roma Mehta, COVID ICU Pulmonary/Critical Care Attending

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Dr. Mehta is a champion of patients rights and goes above and beyond to provide excellent patient care! She advocates for the patient and their families when they cannot themselves, and is a kind and compassionate doctor. She also has tremendous respect for her fellow COVID ICU ancillary staff (nurses, RTS, pharmacists, environmental services, etc) and we love that she approaches all ICU level care in a team based manner. She may be full of really unfunny jokes, but those jokes have carried us all through sorrow and lightened tense situations. Thank you for all that you do, Dr. Mehta!”

Scott Contino, Materials Manager

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Scott and his team have gone above and beyond to make sure that the staff at UTSW have the equipment and supplies needed to be safe and provide excellent care to the COVID population. Without these amazing members of the healthcare team, many would be left in need of supplies and PPE. These are the HEROS that are protecting the Frontline and allowing for frontline staff to be able to do what is needed at the bedside.”

Shawnesty Connally, Radiologic Technologist

UTSW Medical Center University Hospitals – Clements

“Shawnesty was one of a few imaging technologists to immediately volunteer to perform chest xrays on COVID-19 suspected or positive cases. She continues to present herself in a positive manner with an upbeat attitude that allows patients to be reassured that they are in great hands. Her smile is contagious which goes a long way when dealing with difficult circumstances. She is a pro at donning and doffing PPE and has been instrumental in establishing workflow processes for the diagnostic imaging department at UTSW Clements Hospital.”

Alice PhillipsMD, Vice Chair of the Physician Network Board of Directors

Cook Children’s

“With information changing almost daily throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult for doctors to stay on top of the latest information, while getting a chance to talk to one another. Dr. Phillips rallied the primary care physicians across the Cook Children’s Network to meet the challenge of COVID-19 through her Wednesday morning “Virtual Coffees.” She participated in the development of the policies and strategies for the Network working on the CCPN Taskforce. She was instrumental in communication and aided in the development of instructional policy documents, testing strategies, processes and site of treatment decisions. Since Primary Care Physicians are the first to see so many ill children before a diagnosis can be made, she bolstered the courage and confidence of the Primary Care Physicians and others in that environment to be smart and available for the children…and to each other.

Amanda Martin, Director, Laboratory

Cook Children’s

“As the Director of the Cook Children’s very busy Laboratory, she maintains the daily operations of the department. Then when the pandemic arrived, Amanda was instrumental in developing and operating the Cook Children’s COVID-19 drive-thru testing. When the need arose, she quickly established a process for onsite COVID-19 testing through a drive-thru at multiple locations throughout DFW. She coordinated the staffing and logistics of all of these locations as well as coordinated the interface between the lab, registration, primary care offices, and the drive-thru testing sites. Amanda has since expanded this operation to multiple satellite locations that allows patients from out of town to be tested in their respective location without having to arrive days early to Fort Worth for testing. She’s made sure that all patients tested have received their results in a timely manner even sometimes on nights and weekends.

Brady Gendke, Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Home Health

Cook Children’s

“Brady Gendke has thought outside of the box in assisting in many facets of acquiring and producing PPE for Cook Children’s employees, patients and families. At the beginning of the response, without hesitation, Brady and his team evaluated, designed and repurposed available equipment in Home Health orthotics and prosthetic fabrication lab resulting in the production of tens of thousands of cloth masks as well as the 3D printing of face shields. Because of Brady’s teams quick response and call to duty, every employee was provided with a cloth mask upon the entering a Cook Children’s facility. Brady and his team are applauded for maintaining the high standard of care and service required of Cook Children’s and our Promise that every child’s life is sacred.

Brian Bergeron, Director, Environmental Services and Facilities Appearance

Cook Children’s

“One of the largest concerns at the beginning of COVID-19, and throughout its duration, has been cleaning. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Brian used his knowledge gained from a career in EVS to help Cook Children’s prepare for the pandemic before it began. His goal and team-orientated approach has allowed for cleaning and coverage of all areas, to ensure a safe and clean environment for everyone. Public areas, high traffic, and high touch surfaces were cleaned more often to protect all that enter our buildings. He also used his professional connections to make sure that we always were stocked with needed required items in order for bedside caregivers to continue their care of patients without the concern of a shortage of cleaning supplies.

Bridget Page, Director, Occupational Health

Cook Children’s

“Bridget Page and her team were tasked with making sure all front line staff were properly fit tested for N-95 masks. This was difficult, as the normal supply of these masks was significantly disrupted at the beginning of the response. Bridget and her team outfitted their testing abilities to be able to take them to clinics and do mass fit testing to meet the clinic needs. Bridget and her team also started the initial COVID-19 phone bank and contact tracing pod to respond to our employees’ questions and concerns. They worked long hours and did whatever was necessary to meet the needs of our employees.

The Communications Team

Laura Van Hoosier, AVP Public Relations; Jeff Calaway, Director Internal Communications; Daron Aldridge, Manager Internal Communications; Abigail Hodgson, Social Media Specialist; Kim Brown, Senior Media Relations/Communications Specialist

Cook Children’s

The lines of internal and external communications have blurred since the arrival of the pandemic. This small team bonded like never before and came together to be there for the employees of Cook Children’s The Communications team played a pivotal role within the Command Center. They were the critical resource in communicating the information and decisions being made in the Command Center out to our staff across the System in a timely manner. They were responsive 24/7 throughout our response. The team has done a phenomenal job of providing critical and necessary information in a way that was meaningful and engaging to our staff. Working together, they were also able to find positive and uplifting stories within our organization that provided a sense of joy and light when things felt dark.

To date they’ve produced more than 35 videos and written more than 200 COVID-19 update emails. The team has created more than 50 educational flyers and answered more than 4,000 staff emails. In addition, they’ve managed two COVID-19 resource pages, made daily updates to the intranet scroll and submitted nominations for staff to be honored by the PGA Tour. This team has also hosted virtual meetings like the annual Town Hall broadcast, System Leadership Meetings, Collaboration Forums and the Nursing Forum all the while doing their every day jobs of regularly sharing the news of the day with employees across the System.

Gina Hernandez, Director, Nursing Administration

Cook Children’s

“Since day one, Gina Hernandez has been a part of the Incident Command team. As one of our Inpatient Nursing Directors, she has helped in creating workflows, policies, and procedures to best assist in navigating patient care throughout the response. Gina has been a very valuable asset to the response and continues to offer guidance and oversight from a nursing leadership perspective.

Kara Starnes, MD, Medical Director, Urgent Care Centers

Cook Children’s

“The leadership of Kara Starnes, MD and her can-do spirit established Covid-19 testing sites at Cook Children’s Prosper Surgery Center, Alliance Specialty Care Center and the Hurst Surgery Center. She and her Urgent Care team provided all logistical support for these operations to provide safe and efficient testing to our patients and families. In the face of manpower shortages from community exposures, Dr. Starnes craftily maintained an experienced provider staff at all the Urgent Care Centers when children needed the access in this emergency situation. While providing such leadership, she also manned many shifts herself.

Kaysey Pollan, Director, Safety and Emergency Management

Cook Children’s

“Kaysey Pollan has been preparing Cook Children’s for an event such as a global pandemic, long before anyone heard of COVID-19. Kaysey has been at the core of Cook Children’s COVID response since day one. Her expertise in Emergency Management has helped align Cook Children’s with a significant amount of outside support. Kaysey has also handled all local, state, and national reporting requirements, all while monitoring the daily needs that come with such a prolonged event. And while others may have been overwhelmed, Kaysey was ready and prepared for whatever challenges came her way.

Marc Mazade, MD, Medical Director, Infection Control

Cook Children’s

“Who do you turn to when you are facing a global pandemic, the likes of which has never been seen in our lifetime? Marc Mazade, M.D., Medical Director of Infection Control at Cook Children’s, has and will continue to be an invaluable resource to the system as one of our physicians in Infection Diseases (ID). Dr. Mazade assisted in leading the COVID response from an ID perspective for not only Cook Children’s but our community, even creating guidelines for the safe return to school for our children’s in local school districts. His work as the Infection Control medical director has led to numerous correct decisions in the face of the unknown. His influence and guidance has been proven at the bedsides where no transmission of the COVID-19 virus to health care workers has occurred.

Melodie Davis, Pediatric ICU

Cook Children’s

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 response, Melodie Davis has been a key piece in getting the Cook Children’s ICU prepared to safely treat and care for COVID-19 positive patients in the critical care setting. One of Melodie’s many responsibilities as a Director includes the nursing leadership of our Pediatric ICU. With her leadership and help, a dedicated unit within the existing facility was created, staffed, and trained to care for these sick, sometimes medically complex kids.

Morgan Pence, PhD, Clinical Microbiologist

Cook Children’s

“As our Clinical Microbiologist, Dr. Morgan Pence has been integral in our response to COVID-19. She helped navigate the response from a testing perspective from day one. In addition, Dr. Pence assisted the organization in the selection and management of the multitude of tests that existed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her knowledge and expertise helped position the Medical Center to best respond to Cook Children’s patients to the best of our abilities.

Natalie Carpenter, Director, Emergency Services

Cook Children’s

“Many COVID-19 journeys for Cook Children’s patients began at the Medical Center’s Emergency Room. As the Director of Nursing for Emergency Services, Natalie and her team have been on the front lines of the response for patients needing emergency care since the pandemic began. Natalie and her team have worked through training, workflows, and protocols to be put in place to help serve our emergency patients, all while keeping staff safe and well.

Shakyryn Napier, Director, Med Surg-3P/N/S/, 4N/S

Cook Children’s

“Under Shakyryn’s direction, Cook Children’s Medical Center was able to carve out dedicated inpatient space for the COVID-19 positive population requiring an inpatient stay. As an Inpatient Nursing Director, Shakyryn was able to do this, redirect and train staff, and help create a safe environment for our patients and families that needed to stay at the Medical Center while COVID positive.

Sharon Holmes, Director, Infection Prevention/Control

Cook Children’s

Sharon worked tirelessly on guiding the organization to keep both patients and staff safe throughout Cook Children’s response. Sharon has helped in guiding the safe care of patients through proper PPE use and creating many educational materials. Sharon continues to track and trend all of our positive tests as well as report on all tracing activities. She uses this and other data to contribute to improvement efforts as we navigate this pandemic journey. She has also assessed and prioritized the non-COVID Infection Control Program activity so we can strategically use resources efficiently to maintain safe patient care.

Sharon has been open to learning from every healthcare organization in our region so Cook Children’s could make the best choices for our patients and organization. Caring for children adds some specific challenges and Sharon is not only an expert in Infection Control but she has the experience to recognize the nuances in pediatric care. She brought all of her knowledge and skills to the Incident Command Center and helped Cook Children’s make thoughtful decisions about providing safe care for our kids and a safe working environment for staff. She has made sure the Infection Control team is accessible around the clock so staff feel supported and leadership has the resource needed at all times. Sharon is knowledgeable, calm, thoughtful and passionate about preventing the spread of infection.

Susi Whitworth, MD, Medical Director, Infectious Diseases

Cook Children’s

“As Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children’s, Susi Whitworth. M.D. has worked tirelessly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her work during the COVID response has been invaluable to our organization and the community. Dr. Whitworth has served as our subject matter expert throughout the pandemic; keeping us abreast of all changes and guidance from the CDC as well as local and state agencies. She guided the organization through critical decision making regarding PPE requirements for our staff and kept the organization up to date on all medical research and findings related to COVID-19 so we best treat our patients while ensure the safety of our staff.

In addition, Dr. Whitworth has been a pivotal resource for our community and region providing valuable information and resources on COVID-19, specific to the impact on pediatrics. This summer, she spoke at a session of Cook Children’s Ground Rounds about the pandemic and issues of interest to clinicians with more than 600 viewing the presentation. Dr. Whitworth was also called upon by numerous news agencies as well as various medical organizations for expertise and knowledge regarding the COVID-19 response.”