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Health Care Heroes: Community Achievement

By Staff Reports, posted Oct 16, 2020

The Community Achievement category honors an individual or team who successfully implemented a program addressing a problem in health care administration or delivery.


Elizabeth Barnes

Title: Co-founder and executive director 

Organization: Hope Abounds Cancer Network Inc. 

What the nominator said: “Elizabeth is a woman of not just talk but action. Hope Abounds serves children and adults who have been diagnosed with cancer. However, they go beyond that, and facilitate the families around the individual diagnosed by supporting the unit as a whole. Without Hope Abounds, I would have been drowning in confusion, debt and fear. They gave me and my family hope when many times we saw none. 

“The organization fights for advocacy and explanations. They put together resources for the unique needs of those of us who are battling cancer. 

“The best part is how special they make you feel … Hope Abounds serves in every area of care from initial diagnoses to follow-up care years later. 

“At the time of my son’s diagnosis, I was starting school for my master’s to become a family nurse practitioner. Hope Abounds gave me such peace and encouragement that without them, I would never have finished school. Today, I can say I am now a board-certified FNP! There are so many ways Hope Abounds shines and thus why they deserve this award.” 

- Raishael Tessari, family nurse practitioner 


Marissa Bryant Franks

Title: Health equity outreach coordinator 

Organization: New Hanover Regional Medical Center 

What the nominator said: “Marissa has done a phenomenal job leading initiatives aimed at mitigating health disparities all throughout her work here at NHRMC. Her most recent project has been dedicated to eliminating disparities in birth outcomes for Black moms and babies, which is extremely important work at a local, state and national level. 

“She has effortlessly and fearlessly lead this work by engaging and influencing a plethora of partners and organizations ranging from clinicians to nonprofits and does a great job connecting and collaborating with each. 

“She has been a pleasure to work with and a tenacious leader dedicated to change, despite recently giving birth and battling the effects of the pandemic our country is facing. 

“Her efforts and work speak for themselves, having earned much recognition in the arena of community outreach and advocacy. 

“Her drive, motivation and continued impact in battling health disparities is what makes her worthy of the Health Care Hero award. She is the definition of a fearless, innovative leader in health and health equity.” 

- A colleague 


Desirae Hrynko

Title: Marketing manager 

Organization: Wilmington Health 

What the nominator said: “In February of this year, I was promoted from my role as Business Office Team Lead to Marketing Manager of our amazing company, Wilmington Health. I have served at this company for six years, and I started in a Patient Representative (front desk, patient check-in role). 

“Wilmington Health is dedicated to transforming the healthcare delivery system, but also hugely committed to providing an exceptional patient experience. My role as Marketing Manager began in one of the most pivotal times in healthcare, when COVID-19 truly ramped up and measures had to take place for our company to position ourselves as COVID Safety Advocates. 

“Within my role, I supported our organization in launching and educating our community of our WH Anywhere Virtual Visit program, which provided excellent access to care for the communities we serve. This launched within a couple of days. 

“Additionally, I knew it was important for our organization to stand up with our neighboring healthcare organization/ hospital, NHRMC, to provide valuable PSAs to our community. I teamed up NHRMC healthcare leaders and our healthcare leaders/infectious disease experts in creating PSAs with their personal advice on slowing the spread.” 

- Self 


Read more about all of the 2020 Health Care Heroes finalists here.

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