Health Care Heroes to be selected from nearly 100 nominees

Nearly 100 health care organizations and professionals were nominated for BizWest’s Health Care Heroes awards, which will be announced at a virtual event on June 24.

Health Care Heroes was devised as a way to recognize professionals and organizations throughout Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley for work that they accomplished over the past year fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nominations were submitted in 10 categories. Six judges with former affiliations in health care in the region were selected to judge the entries and select the winners.

Judges were Gene and Julie Haffner, both formerly of Banner Health; George Hayes, formerly of UCHealth; Ron Secrist, formerly with Boulder Community Health; Charlie Harms, formerly with McKee Medical Center; and Dr. Joel Montbriand, formerly of Gastroenterology of the Rockies.

Finalists in each category and the winner of each category will be identified at the Health Care Heroes event, which will be from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on June 24. The event is virtual, and there is no charge for attendees. People can register to attend here.

Categories and nominees in each category are:

Community Service — Honors an individual or organization — from within or outside of health care — for leadership focusing on a particular health-care issue or need. Nominations will be evaluated on criteria including impact on health care within the community and how they fulfilled a need that might otherwise not have been met.

  • Boulder Community Health (Organization).
  • Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County (Organization).
  • Cultural Enrichment Center (Organization).
  • First United Methodist Church (Organization).
  • Fuerza Latina (Organization).
  • H2 Manufacturing (Organization).
  • ISAAC of Northern Colorado (Organization).
  • Janet Werst, UCHealth (Individual).
  • La Cocina (Organization).
  • Meals on Wheels (Organization).
  • Noelle Rodriguez (Individual).
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes Boulder (Organization).
  • Queen’s Legacy Foundation (Organization).
  • Sunrise Community Health (Organization).
  • The BIPOC Alliance (Organization).
  • The Family Center / La Familia (Organization).
  • UCHealth Healthy Hearts (Organization).
  • UCHealth Research (Organization).
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Division of Geriatric Medicine (Organization).

COVID-19 Frontline Health-Care Worker — Honors an individual who displayed excellence, dedication and perseverance in responding to challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including physicians, EMTs, paramedics, and emergency department personnel and others. 

  • Amie Meditz, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Catherine Hebert, Good Samaritan Medical Center (Individual).
  • Clinton Dale, North Shore Health & Rehab Facility – Columbine Health Systems (Individual).
  • Jennifer Hogestad, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Kayla Elfgren, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Kim Feldhaus, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Lori Nilles, UCHealth Greeley Hospital (Individual).
  • Maria McLain Cox, UCHealth-Poudre Valley Hospital (Individual).
  • Marilyn Schaefer, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Mark King, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Melanie Hofferber, SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center (Individual).
  • Mo Lyons, Banner Health (Individual).
  • Rebecca Jackson, Columbine Health Systems (Individual).
  • SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center (Organization).
  • Tara Horne, Longmont United Hospital (Individual).
  • Tracy Lippard, Kaiser (Individual).

COVID-19 Front-Line Nurse — Honors a nurse who displayed excellence, dedication and perseverance in responding to challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Amy Provopulos, UCHealth Mountain Crest (Individual).
  • Avista Adventist Hospital (Organization).
  • Brittany Ford, Banner Health (Individual).
  • Brittany Vanbenschoten, Good Samaritan Society Loveland Village (Individual).
  • Chandler Lowham, Banner Health (Individual).
  • Cheryl Baum, New Mercer Commons ALF/Columbine Health Systems (Individual).
  • Hannah Kuntz, LAHR (Individual).
  • Jessa Owen, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Joel Bitler, Columbine Health Systems (Individual).
  • Laura Sessions, UCHealth/Poudre Valley Hospital (Individual).
  • Pam James, Columbine Poudre Home Care (Individual).
  • Sandra Schell, Longmont United Hospital Centura (Individual).

COVID-19 Health Care Ally Award — Honors an individual outside of traditional health care who excelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, including firefighters, members of law enforcement, and representatives of civic and nonprofit organizations. 

  • AMR (Organization).
  • Diane Jackson, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Foothills Unitarian Church (Organization).
  • Susanne Murray, Larimer County Health Department (Individual).
  • UCHealth Northern Colorado Foundation (Organization).

COVID-19 Support Worker — Includes non-physician and non-nurse members of the multidisciplinary team, such as physician assistants, CNAs, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, medical imaging, researchers, technicians, etc. 

  • Avista Adventist Hospital (Organization).
  • Boulder Community Health Pandemic Committee (Organization).
  • Cynthia Heuer, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Gloria Gonzalez-Engle, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Jeremiah Martinez, Boulder Community Health – Sterile Processing Department (Individual).
  • Kerri Gonzales, Poudre Valley Hospital (Individual).
  • Marilyn Schaefer, UCHealth Greeley Hospital (Individual).
  • Matt Putman, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Michael Anderson, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Olga Tucker, UCHealth (Individual).
  • UCHealth (Organization).
  • University of Colorado School of Pharmacy (Organization).

Distinguished Service — Honors a health-care administrator who has displayed leadership excellence within his or her organization during COVID-19. 

  • Ben Keidan, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Casey Diekmann, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Clinton Dale, North Shore Health and Rehab/Columbine (Individual).
  • Ethan Carter, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Individual).
  • Fred Pitzl, Good Samaritan Society Fort Collins Village (Individual).
  • Joan Ivaska, Banner Health (Individual).
  • Joel Bitler, Columbine Health Systems (Individual).
  • Lauren Shimp, Columbine West Health & Rehab Facility (Individual).
  • Linda Berens, AltaVita Senior Living (Individual).
  • Mark Wallace, Sunrise Community Health (Individual).
  • Robert Wagner, UC Health (Individual).
  • SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center (Organization).
  • Wendy Sparks, Banner Health (Individual).

Health Care Innovator/Researcher — Honors an individual or organization for an innovation in medical technology or research. Priority will be given to breakthroughs that contributed to testing, treatment, safety equipment or vaccines for COVID-19.

  • Banner Innovation Group (Organization).
  • Diego Restrepo, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Individual).
  • Michael Lindsey, Thermal Strike Ranger (Individual).
  • Thomas Greany, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Individual).
  • UCHealth (Organization).
  • UCHealth – Northern Colorado Research (Organization).

Mental Health Care Provider of the Year — Recognizes a mental health-care provider who has positively impacted his or her organization and/or patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Adena Kling, Longmont United Hospital Centura (Individual).
  • Alicia Milar, SummitStone Health Partners (Individual).
  • Janina Fariñas, La Cocina (Individual).
  • Neill Epperson, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Individual).

Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living Facility of the Year — Recognizes the top skilled nursing and assisted living facility or group in the region. Nominations will be evaluated based on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how they prioritized patients’ physical, mental and emotional well-being.

  • Garden Square at Westlake Assisted Living (Organization).
  • Good Samaritan Society Fort Collins Village (Organization).
  • Tamara Gebhardt, New Mercer Commons ALF/Columbine Health Systems (Individual).

Volunteer Award — Recognizes non-paid volunteers for service in a health-care organization. Nominations will be evaluated on criteria including length of service, impact on the organization and how they fulfilled a need that might otherwise not have been met.

  • Carol Lathrop, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • Emily Kemme, UCHealth (Individual).
  • Fuerza Latina (Organization).
  • Mark Meyer, Boulder Community Health (Individual).
  • UCHealth (Organization).