Oct 22, 2014 2:00 PM

Author: Eryn Gorang

From physicians who have dedicated their entire lives to caring for their patients to volunteers who have spent countless hours comforting people who are going through difficult times, the University of Utah Health is full of an incredible team of individuals who are making a difference. 

On October 21st, Utah Business Magazine recognized many of our outstanding University of Utah Health employees during their annual Healthcare Heroes award luncheon. 

Join us in congratulating all of the Healthcare Heroes from the University of Utah, who are working to change the face of Utah’s healthcare industry for the better.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Thomas Caine
Dr. Thomas Caine, clinical professor, School of Medicine, University of Utah

Dr. Thomas Caine has always been guided by a singular attitude: his deep concern for every patient.  For more than 40 years, Caine has been practicing internal medicine—an area that has been a natural fit for him. He has been known to meet his patients at the emergency room shortly after they call and to visit hospitalized patients on his days off. Because of this, he’s been recognized with the establishment of three presidential endowed chairs, one professorship and two lectureships.

“It is extremely important to get to know your patients,” Caine says. “The very best way to do this is to listen and take the time. You may be busy, but your patients deserve your undivided attention and care.”

Ginette Pepper
Dr. Ginette Pepper, associate dean for Research and PhD Program; director of Hartford Center Geriatric Nursing Excellence; professor; Helen Bamberger Colby Presidential Endowed Chair in Gerontological Nursing, College Of Nursing, University of Utah

Dr. Ginette Pepper is widely regarded in the medical community for her pioneering work as the nation’s first geriatric nurse practitioner.  Her research has been focused on preventing harm resulting from pharmacologic interventions, particularly in the elderly population.

Pepper is also an advocate for working parents—specifically women. During her career she has worked to make sure nurses are able to work in “an environment that provides the resources working parents need so they can fully contribute to patient care,” she says.

Innovation Award

Dr. Thomas Miller, chief medical officer, University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics; Chrissy Daniels, director of Patient Experience; Brian Gresh, senior director, Interactive Marketing & Web

In late 2012, University of Utah Health Care took a bold leap into the unknown: It began posting patient reviews and comments about its physicians online—and it was the first hospital system in the country to do so.

After launching the online reviews, the university quickly noticed a sharp spike in web traffic to its online physician profiles, from about 32,000 views each month to more than 122,000 views. “It’s evident patients and consumers making healthcare decisions want online access to trusted reviews from other community members,” says Tom Miller, chief medical officer for University of Utah Health. “The ratings give visitors a powerful tool to make informed decisions about our physicians, providers and entire healthcare system.”

“There are many [hospital] systems out there looking at how to do this,” says Brian Gresh, senior director of interactive marketing and web. “We’re pleased that we’ve set the bar high.”

Non-Physician Award

Nadia Miniclier Cobb, MS, PA-C, director, Office for the Promotion of Global Healthcare Equity, University of Utah School of Medicine, Division of Physician Assistant Studies

Nadia Miniclier Cobb’s influence and efforts to improve health span across the globe. While in rural Ghana, she saw that physician assistants (PAs) were under a huge strain, regularly seeing 80 to 150 patients a day. To enable them to better serve the health of the Ghanaian people, Cobb spearheaded efforts to establish a partnership between the University of Utah’s PA program and the College of Health, Kintampo, which has the largest PA training program in Ghana. More than 2,600 PAs have passed through the program in eight years.

“Our students come back seeking to serve their communities and have become leaders in community health centers, homeless street medicine, [and] care on the Navajo Reservation to name a few,” Cobb says. 

Cobb is currently focused on further expanding the U’s PA studies curriculum to involve more service learning so students will get a broader education as they learn from and serve a variety of communities.

Community Outreach Award 

Shawn Nelson
Q. Shawn Nelson, marketing manager, John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Health

For nearly a decade, Nelson has led marketing and community outreach for the Moran Eye Center, and in this role he has personally screened tens of thousands of Utahns for vision acuity and glaucoma.

In 2013 alone, Nelson and his team provided 6,000 screenings at more than 50 health fairs at organizations as diverse as the Indian Walk-In Center, Lions Clubs, homeless shelters, major corporations and Salt Lake County Aging Services.

“There is nothing more rewarding than to visit with patients about their vision needs and then to have them follow up with me later and tell how I may have saved their eye sight by recommending that they see an eye doctor,” says Nelson.

Eryn Gorang

Eryn Gorang is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs

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