Health Care

Heroes Who Stay The Course

By Vicky Janowski, posted Oct 15, 2021
It’s been a long year-and-a-half. Those in health care know it, and so do most of us.
But heroes aren’t those who only rise to the occasion in a movie’s big fight scene. In the real world, they tend to be those who keep showing up daily even after the spotlight dims.
For this year’s Health Care Heroes, it’s a good time to fire up the lightbulbs again and shine attention on those who continue day-in and day-out to fight for the community’s health as we near the second- year mark of the pandemic.
COVID has permeated all corners of health care, including the work done by the health providers, volunteers, professionals, administrators and others who are recognized in the awards.
And that was reflected in the nominations that came in this year from patients, peers, co-workers and families.
Meanwhile, others are continuing to improve health and wellness on all fronts from cardiac to pediatrics.
The Greater Wilmington Business Journal has put on the Health Care Heroes awards program since 2013 to honor the people and organizations making an impact on the quality of health care in the region.
Included in this year’s awards special section are the finalists in 10 categories: Community Achievement, First Responder, Innovation in Health Care, Health Care Executive, PA/NP, Physician, Nurse, Health Care Professional and Volunteer. Our panel of judges chose to make this year’s Community Outreach category a spotlight on the different teams, from team leaders to public health officials to school nurses, who played roles in the community’s response to COVID and vaccine rollouts. You can read more about those teams using the link below.
All of the award nominators share their accolades in the links below. And this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Dr. John Powell, a physician who made strides in the OB/GYN field and gynecologic oncology as well as played a leading role in the establishment of the Zimmer Cancer Center.
A big part of the program is to give health care workers a much-deserved night out, holding an event to recognize the finalists and announce the category winners. As we monitor conditions, we’re holding off on the event for now but hope to come together early next year to celebrate their hard work. Stay tuned for details.
In the meantime, please join us in congratulating and thanking these Health Care Heroes.
-Vicky Janowski, editor Greater Wilmington Business Journal
[email protected]
On Twitter: @vickyjanowski

About the Judging

Each year, the Business Journal opens up the nominations process to the community for the Health Care Heroes awards.
Our outside judging panel combs through the nominations and applications to pick the finalists and winners in each of the 10 categories as well as the Lifetime Achievement honor.
Judges who know or work with the nominees disclosed any potential conflicts. In the cases in which judges were nominated in a category, they were recused from the deliberation process.
Jason Clamme, Lower Cape Fear LifeCare
Johnsie Davis, retired nurse
Michealle Gady, Atrómitos
Charles Hardy, UNCW College of Health and Human Services
Jim Hundley Sr., Retired physician and businessman
Alexis Hunter, Wilmington Health
Zac Long, Well Care Health
Elaine Loyack, Delta Dental
Clarence L. Wilson II, representing New Hanover-Pender County Medical Society

Meet the 2021 Health Care Heroes finalists:

Lifetime Achievement:
  • John L. Powell, retired physician/professor emeritus, OB/GYN, GYN ONC
Community Achievement:
  • Quick Response Team, Coastal Horizons
  • Alyssa Thompson, Director of Health Services, Plantation Village
  • Carla Turner, Public Health Assistant Director, New Hanover County Health & Human Services
Community Outreach:
  • New Hanover County Health & Human Services
  • Novant Health NHRMC COVID Management Team
  • School Nurses of New Hanover County Health & Human Services
  • Wilmington Health COVID-19 Vaccine Team

First Responder:
  • Tommy Batson, Emergency Director, Pender County
  • Andrea Blevins, EMT-Paramedic, Novant Health
  • Mobile Integrated Health, Novant Health
Health Care Executive:
  • Zane Bennett, Director of business development, Life Care Services
  • John Gizdic, Executive vice president & chief business development officer, Novant Health
  • Lynda Stanley, President, Dosher Memorial Hospital
Health Care Professional:
  • Fran Johnson, Director of nursing for surgery center, Wilmington Health
  • Michelle Sumrall, Manager of respiratory services, Novant Health
  • Cassandra Taylor, CNA, Well Care Health
Innovation in Health Care:
  • Jonathan Hines, Chief medical officer, Wilmington Health
  • Melissa Odom, Chief operating officer, Physician's Healthcare Collaborative, Wilmington Health
  • Meena Rao, Medical director, Cape Fear Heart Associates Atrial Fibrillation Clinic/Medical director, EP Lab, Novant Health
Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant:
  • McKenzie Kline, Physician assistant, Wilmington Health
  • Jen Parrotte, Current organization: Eastern Carolina Emergency Physicians
  • Carrie Thomas, Physician assistant, Coastal Carolina Care
  • Jo Ann Behounek, Surgical services/emergency services nurse, Novant Health
  • Eryn Davis, Staff nurse, COVID intensive care unit & medical intensive care unit, Novant Health
  • Owen Howell, School nurse at Codington Elementary/Lake Forest Academy, New Hanover County Health & Human Services
  • Michelle Jones, Family medicine physician, Wilmington Health
  • Paul Kamitsuka, Infectious disease/internal medicine physician, Wilmington Health
  • Mayra Overstreet Galeano, Chief medical officer, MedNorth Health Center
  • Susan Gibble, Physician assistant (retired)
  • Laura M. Holmes, Occupational therapy assistant, Well Care Health
  • Bob Young & Walter Sieminski, Volunteers, Novant Health
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