Health Care

Health Care Heroes: Health Care Executive

By Staff Reports, posted Oct 20, 2017
Here are the finalists in the 2017 Health Care Heroes Executive category.

Honors an individual whose job performance is considered exemplary by people within their organizations, peers and community members.

John Devaney


ORGANIZATION: Cape Fear Clinic

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Fortunately for the medically underserved in our region, health care executive John Devaney is at the helm of Cape Fear Clinic. When Devaney was hired as executive director of the then- Tileston Clinic in April 2010, he brought more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit health care and human services. Under his leadership, the clinic has evolved to better serve our patients.
Successful actions include:

• Transforming the board from one that led operations to one of strategy and policy;
• Expanding clinical programs;
• Increasing depth and talent of staff;
• Improving collaboration with other providers and partners;
• Increasing collaboration with our community’s safety net umbrella organization;
• Implementing an electronic health record system;
• Enabling the clinic to accept Medicaid patients;
• Preparing the clinic to serve pediatric patients, an initiative expected to launch within the current fiscal year.
• Annual increase in patients from 686 in 2010 to 1,439 in 2016, an increase of 119 percent.”

Mike Kane, Cape Fear Clinic board president

Henry Hawthorne III

TITLE: Administrator of oncology services

ORGANIZATION: NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: Henry grew up in Wilmington, the son of beloved pediatrician Henry Hawthorne Jr. After receiving a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002, Henry served in hospital executive roles in several locations and as CEO at Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Whiteville, before joining New Hanover Regional Medical Center in 2014 as administrator of Oncology Services.

Wanting to provide what the patients and providers need, Henry engaged front-line staff, physicians and patients at Zimmer and Cape Fear Cancer Specialists in the design of the recently expanded NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center, which reopened in August.

Henry has focused on improving patient care and treatment through increased physician leadership and improved teamwork and communications. Henry led efforts with the region’s primary radiation oncology group to unify oncology services under NHRMC. Early wins include improved communication across the service line as a result of integrated electronic medical records and colocation of Wilmington’s three linear accelerators.”

Iris Baker, NHRMC outreach coordinator

Althea Johnson


ORGANIZATION: MedNorth Health Center

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “As the state of North Carolina and the nation struggle with health care as a right or privilege, MedNorth strives forward, delivering quality primary care services without regard for the patient’s ability to pay. Althea Johnson, chief executive officer for MedNorth, believes it is an honor and a privilege to lead MedNorth in fulfilling this mission. As the only federally funded health center in New Hanover County, MedNorth Health Center began providing health care services in 1993. When pediatric services for the uninsured and Medicaid population became difficult to access in New Hanover County, MedNorth stepped up to add a pediatrician to its staff. When prenatal care for the uninsured and Medicaid population also became even more difficult to access in New Hanover County, MedNorth again stepped up and added prenatal care to the list of services provided. Uninsured patients living with hepatitis C were being referred to UNC-Chapel Hill before MedNorth incorporated this special protocol into the primary care services offered.

Ms. Johnson is working diligently to remove the barriers that prevent anyone from accessing the health care service needed.”

Linda Pearce Thomas, MedNorth Health Center board chairwoman
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