Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) 2021 Annual Meeting was the backdrop for association leadership and board of directors as they honored this year’s superlative hospital and health system executives across the state. THA President and CEO Wendy Long, M.D., and THA board chair Paul Korth, CEO of Cookeville Regional Medical Center presented awards to these individuals in the respective categories:
- CEO of Distinction – Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Memphis
- Senior Executive of Distinction – Angela Beard, vice president and COO/CNO at TriStar NorthCrest Medical Center, Springfield
- Trustee of Distinction – William Rukeyser, member of the Board of Directors at the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s University Health System, Inc., Knoxville
- Nurse Leader of Distinction – Joselyn Freeman-Singleton, nurse manager at Regional One Health, Memphis
- Clinical Nurse of Distinction – Mark Allen, a registered nurse in the ICU Dept. at TriStar Horizon Medical Center, Dickson
- Patient Safety Leadership – Gail Fraine, system infection prevention director at Ascension Saint Thomas, Nashville
- Diversity Champion – Joseph Webb, D.Sc., CEO at Nashville General Hospital
- Small and Rural Hospital Leadership – Lisa Casteel, CEO at Henry County Medical Center, Paris
- COVID-19 Healthcare Hero Award – Paul Deaton, M.D., with Mid-South Pulmonary & Sleep Specialists and Hanan McNamee, R.N. and Callie Lillard, R.N., with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Memphis
“During an unparalleled year for our industry, the outstanding contributions of hospital and healthcare leaders were both a barometer and beacon of the incredible work of all those who have served and fought to save lives in the most remarkable of times,” said Long. “THA’s 2021 Awards of Excellence winners have endured, rising to meet unimaginable challenges. We commend them, fully acknowledging their efforts to improve healthcare outcomes for all those seeking care in Tennessee.”
CEO of Distinction Award, the association’s highest honor, recognizes leadership and service by an individual member, in addition to achievements within and contributions to the healthcare industry.
Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, was recognized for leading his hospital system in achieving the highest performance grade for quality and safety in a recent evaluation, and being instrumental in efforts that led to boosting the network’s five-star quality ratings with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and for the Germantown campus being recognized as one of the country’s top teaching hospitals. Additionally, Ugwueke has been dedicated to reducing health disparities through community outreach programs, fostering a diverse team of healthcare leaders and placing a deeper focus on improving social determinants of health.
Senior Executive of Distinction Award recognizes leadership and service by an individual in support of a THA member hospital and health system.
Angela Beard, vice president and COO/CNO at TriStar NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, who, in addition to serving integrally during the COVID-19 pandemic as head of NorthCrest’s COVID-19 task force, has led her organization to achieve the highest grade possible in a recent evaluation of quality and safety performance for 11 consecutive terms, and to be recognized as a top performer on key quality measures from the Joint Commission for five consecutive years, 2009 – 2014.
Trustee of Distinction Award recognizes an active or recently retired member of the board of directors or associate/advisory board of a THA member institution.
William Rukeyser, a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s (UTMC) University Health System, Inc., in Knoxville, served for 21 years in numerous volunteer board roles, including the last 10 years as chair. Prior to this appointment, Rukeyser spent seven years helping develop and oversee the transition to an independent, not-for-profit, board-governed academic medical center. With quality as his top priority, he was a driving force in setting and meeting ambitious goals for team members that advanced the care and safety of patients. Recently, UTMC achieved the highest grade for quality and safety performance for the 11th consecutive time under Rukeyser’s leadership.
Patient Safety Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has taken extraordinary and innovative steps to make patient safety and quality a top priority in their organization.
Gail Fraine, system infection prevention director at Ascension Saint Thomas in Nashville, has led efforts to prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections among patient populations in a variety of settings. At Ascension, she is co-chair of the National Infection Prevention Committee and serves as the Tennessee market lead. Due in large part to Fraine’s efforts, both healthcare-associated infections and surgical site infections have improved. Board-certified in infection prevention and control and a member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), Fraine has held local and national leadership roles with the professional organization.
Nurse of Distinction Awards recognize outstanding contributions by registered nurses employed at a THA member hospital or health system.
Nurse Leader of Distinction
Joselyn Freeman-Singleton, nurse manager at Regional One Health, Memphis, successfully combines the compassion to ensure exceptional bedside care, the medical knowledge to treat patients with a wide range of conditions, and the acumen to develop and implement optimal service models. She has earned a reputation as a proven leader who garners the respect of her direct reports, colleagues and leadership by using her operational and clinical skills to build new services to expand care to patients, all the while boosting morale. Recent successes include establishing a medical oncology program to administer chemotherapy and other cancer therapies, and a unit for patients from a Mississippi federal detention center.
Clinical Nurse of Distinction
Mark Allen, a registered nurse in the ICU department at TriStar Horizon Medical Center in Dickson, has a heart for service, with generosity that has no bounds. Considered a nurse’s nurse among his team, he is known for his attention to detail, immeasurable compassion, regularly going beyond the call of duty for his patients, co-workers and supervisors. A military veteran, Allen served in the Air Force from 1977 to 1995, and was awarded the Iraqi Freedom Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and several commendation medals. After working as a nurse in an adolescent treatment facility and correctional facility, he rose to the rank of director of nursing at Turney Center Prison where he worked for eight years before joining Horizon.
Diversity Champion Award recognizes leaders who have made outstanding contributions in leadership and workplace diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated commitment to a diverse workforce.
Joseph Webb, D.Sc., CEO of Nashville General Hospital (NGH), has spent his 35-year healthcare career striving to improve Tennesseans’ health and wellness, and is a demonstrated leader addressing health disparities for populations of color, improving access to care and creating innovative programs. Board-certified in healthcare management and a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, Webb has led the launch of NGH’s first off-site clinic in Midtown Nashville; the groundbreaking of a second off-site clinic in Bordeaux; the expansion of the NGH School of Health Science programming as an apprenticeship program for CNA, EKG and radiologic technology students; and the opening of the Food Pharmacy Outreach Program, which has provided more than 205,000 meals to patients since its launch in March 2020.
THA Small and Rural Hospital Leadership Award is presented in recognition of significant contributions to rural healthcare in Tennessee.
Lisa Casteel, CEO at Henry County Medical Center (HCMC) in Paris, is a strong advocate for the interests of rural hospitals and has been a leader in her community in responding to the COVID pandemic. She combines results with compassion, empathy and warmth for the benefit of both patients and employees. Casteel joined Henry County Medical Center as chief financial officer in 2005 and was chosen as CEO in 2017. An active board and committee member of THA, she is an avid supporter of St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
The COVID-19 Health Care Hero Award is presented in recognition of contributions made in Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paul Deaton, M.D., with Mid-South Pulmonary & Sleep Specialists; and nurses Hanan McNamee and Callie Lillard with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, made remarkable contributions and saved the life of a COVID-19 patient who was 26 weeks pregnant when she was hospitalized. Because of the disease, the expectant mom was put in a medically induced coma for three weeks where Deaton, McNamee and Lillard stood watch. Her aby boy was delivered safely via Cesarean section. The team spent time with the patient after delivery, even arranging a fundraiser. Their genuine compassion and unbelievable perseverance were integral to the survival of the patient and her son.