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Health Care Heroes: Health Care Professional

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

Honors any health care providers other than physicians or nurses whose performance is considered exemplary by patients, peers and other health care providers.


Sarah Bishop

TITLE: Social worker

ORGANIZATION: The Davis Community

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Protecting and advocating for the less fortunate has been second nature to Sarah Bishop her entire life.

When you see her interact with residents and family members, observers immediately feel her calming presence. A decade ago she was hired as a licensed social worker at Davis Healthcare Center. Her role evolved into becoming the social services mentor for the entire community, and she also serves as the household coordinator for the Walker Taylor Household. She is a great asset to her co-workers, residents and staff by being a patient advocate, providing resources and offering guidance.

From a young age, young Sarah knew she wanted to serve the elderly. All of her grandparents had died by the time she graduated from high school, and she missed the relationship she had with these venerable figures. She jokes that she was probably the most annoying visitor in her grandmother’s final days because she took the role of ‘advocate’ VERY seriously. She wanted the best for her and spoke up when she could no longer speak for herself. She later volunteered at a nursing home and became an integral part of the Adopt-a-Grandparent program.”

- Heidi Drueppel, The Davis Community administrator


Kevin Briggs

TITLE: Administrative director of pathology and laboratory services

ORGANIZATION: New Hanover Regional Medical Center

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Kevin Briggs is a servant-leader who influences creativity in organizations and people through his positive, engaging coaching style.
He inspires others through leadership in health care, involvement in the community and church and his passion for helping youth achieve their goals.

Raised in a small town in South Carolina, Kevin’s path was not always clear, but he developed a strong work ethic and desire to help others during adolescence. Kevin attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and after earning a master’s in clinical laboratory science from MUSC in 2000, began working as a cytologist for Danville Regional Medical Center in Virginia.

In 2006, Kevin joined NHRMC as laboratory manager for anatomic and molecular pathology. Kevin was named a Leader of Excellence in 2008 and started in his current role in 2014.

Kevin oversaw the standardization of the system’s primary testing centers. His endorsement of automation and other innovative technologies led to a fully automated microbiology system being implemented, improving efficiency of delivery of lab results.”

- Iris Baker, NHRMC outreach coordinator


Deak Walden

TITLE: Orthopedic physician assistant

ORGANIZATION: EmergeOrtho

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Deak Walden is a trailblazer in ancillary medical care. Trained as a corpsman specializing in orthopaedic patient care in the U.S. Navy, he joined the Wilmington Orthopaedic Group (now EmergeOrtho) in 1974. I have worked with Harry (Deak) Walden for over 24 years, and his commitment to patient care in the community has been exemplary.

He has dedicated his life to personal and professional development including work within the National Board of Orthopedic Physicians Assistants and establishing and maintaining their national program. Locally, he has been involved with his First Baptist Church youth group and young adult classes and the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout program.

He has designed and implemented orthopedic braces for fracture care that have improved patient’s comfort and treatment for their injuries. In the operating room, he has maintained a standard of excellence that is second to none.

He is the one you want with you in the operating room at 2 o’clock in the morning when you are up to your ears in alligators. His experience, wisdom and technique has been a valuable asset for patient care for over 35 years.”

- William Sutton, EmergeOrtho orthopedic surgeon
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