Tennessee Hospital Association honors 26 award recipients at Annual Meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) honored 26 individuals during its 77th Annual Meeting at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center this week.

Awards were presented in 14 categories, recognizing contributions of everyone from hospital volunteers and frontline staff to trustees and executives. The complete list of awards and winners is as follows:

Distinguished Service Award

Thomas Gee, chief executive officer, Henry County Medical Center, Paris, was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given by THA. The award recognizes leadership and service by an individual member to THA throughout his or her career, in addition to achievements and contributions to the healthcare industry.

Gee was honored for his commitment and impact on rural healthcare in West Tennessee. A past chairman of the THA board of directors, he has been an active member and supporter of the association for more than 23 years.

President’s Award

Joseph Landsman, president and chief executive officer, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, was honored for his contributions, leadership and support of THA. He is a former chairman of the THA board of directors.

Meritorious Service Awards

Meritorious service awards recognize leadership and service by individuals in support of their hospitals and health systems.

Chief Executive Officer

Bobby Arnold, president and chief executive officer, West Tennessee Healthcare, Jackson, was honored for his growth and development of West Tennessee Healthcare for the past 30 years. He has guided the operation of the health system into West Tennessee’s largest employer and helped ensure healthcare services were available for community residents.

Senior Executive

Rick Wagers, executive senior vice president and chief financial officer, Regional One Health, Memphis, was recognized for his leadership and innovative thinking during a financially challenging time for Regional One Health.

Department Head

Cheryl Allmon, director, volunteer services and programs, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville, was honored for her willingness to do whatever it takes to help the children at the hospital and serves as a role model for the entire management team.

Dawn Parker, director of laboratory services, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital, McMinnville, was recognized for being a leadership champion for employees in her department and throughout the hospital.

Board Member

Phil Shannon, chairman, board of directors, Regional One Health, Memphis, was honored for his thoughtful and strategic leadership through periods of great challenge and opportunity at the health system.

Ted Stubblefield, board member, NorthCrest Medical Center, Springfield, was recognized for being a driving force for high quality community-based healthcare at the hospital for more than 26 years.

Medical Staff

John Lacey, III, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, was honored for devoting his life to improvement the health care in his community, region and state.

Deaver Shattuck, M.D., hospitalist and stroke program medical director, Blount Memorial Hospital, Maryville, was recognized for being a driving force for the hospital’s stroke program, leading to a voluntary Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations disease-specific certification.

John Fincher, M.D., medical director, radiation oncology, Bristol Regional Medical Center, was recognized for more than 40 years of service as a leader in the delivery of high quality cancer care at the medical center.


Ron Edele, auxiliary president, Blount Memorial Hospital, Maryville, was honored for his dedication and commitment to the hospital’s auxiliary program.

Kara Adams, volunteer, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, was recognized for her passion, enthusiasm and her perspective of a parent caring for a special needs child as a volunteer at the hospital.

Diversity Champion Award

This award recognizes leaders who have made outstanding contributions in fostering leadership, workplace diversity and inclusion, and demonstrated his or her commitment to a diverse workforce.

Howard Roddy, vice president, advocacy and health community, CHI Memorial Healthcare System, Chattanooga, was honored for more than 30 years of service devoted to opening doors for diverse populations by providing greater access to health care, work opportunities and education.

Patient Safety Leadership Awards

This award recognizes an individual who has taken extraordinary and innovative steps to make patient safety and quality a top priority in their organization.

Jenny Slayton, executive director of quality improvement, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, was honored for taking extraordinary and innovative steps to make patient safety and quality a top priority at the medical center.

Christopher Edwards, M.D., chief medical officer; Ginger Dickens, clinical care nursing manager; and Lynnelle Murrell, director, infection prevention, Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, were recognized for their efforts to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) at the hospital.

Nurse of Distinction Awards

The Nurse of Distinction Awards recognize outstanding contributions to nursing by registered nurses employed at a THA member hospital or health system.

Executive Nurse of Distinction Awards

Janice McKinley, chief nursing officer, senior vice president of quality, safety and nursing operations, Covenant Health, Knoxville, was honored for her excellence in patient care and nursing leadership during her 40-year career in health care.

Clinical Nurse of Distinction Awards

April Kapu, associate nursing officer, director of advanced practice, Center for Nursing Excellence, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, was recognized for her contributions and positive impact on nursing, care delivery and outcomes at the hospital.

Jennifer Henry, director, Stroke Center, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, was recognized for her work with the hospital’s Stroke Center, Tennessee Stroke Coordinators Consortium and East Tennessee Stroke Alliance.

American College of Healthcare Executives Awards

Senior Level Awards

Wesley Littrell, chief strategy officer and vice president, business development, Community Health Systems, Franklin, is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and past president of the ACHE chapter of Middle Tennessee.

James VanderSteeg, chief operating officer, Covenant Health, Knoxville, is a member of ACHE, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a board member at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System.

Janice Keys, senior vice president, chief nurse executive, Erlanger Health System, Chattanooga, is a fellow in ACHE and implemented the hospital’s journey toward American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet status.

Early Careerist Awards

Jonathan Watkins, vice president/chief operating officer, Methodist Healthcare-North Hospital, Memphis, is a fellow in ACHE and recently was appointed chairman of ACHE’s early careerist committee. He also serves as a member-at-large for the Mid-South Healthcare Executives.

Nate Naugle, director, Cole Neuroscience Center, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, is a registered respiratory therapist whose career has focused on quality care and patient. He is an active member of the East Tennessee Healthcare Executives affiliate, serving on the board as program chair. He also is a fellow designate of ACHE.

The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) was founded in 1938 and serves as an advocate for hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations across the state. The initiatives of THA support the efforts of Tennessee’s hospitals to ensure high quality care for the patients and communities they serve.