Meet the 2023 Healthcare Heroes
In partnership with Roseman University of Health Sciences, Utah Business is proud to honor those who have made it their mission to improve the state of health in Utah during our annual Healthcare Heroes event. Congratulations to this year’s honorees!
Assistant Chief Nursing Officer | St. Mark’s Hospital
Jennifer Jellerson knew she wanted to be a nurse from the time she could talk. Her passion for her profession and community is demonstrated by her 28-year career, throughout which she’s cared for patients from all areas of the bedside. Over the years, Jennifer has worked in various nursing areas and discovered her true passion for critical care. She was instrumental in implementing St. Mark’s Hospital’s extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program, standardizing open heart recovery, expanding neurosurgery services and streamlining critical care response teams. These high acuity services are vital to serving our communities and were particularly important during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the pandemic, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer and suffered life-threatening complications from blood clots. Her own critical care team worked to save her life, and she later collaborated with them to create a new pulmonary embolism protocol for the hospital to improve the emergent care provided for this diagnosis.
VP | Intermountain Children’s Health
CEO | Primary Children’s Hospital
Katy Welkie received her MBA from Regis University and her BSN from the University of Utah. She previously served as a chief operating officer, chief nursing officer and nursing director of the pediatric intensive care unit and as a bedside nurse at Primary Children’s Hospital. She received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Utah Organization of Nurse Leaders in 2008 and the Utah Hospital Association Distinguished Healthcare Executive Award in 2015. She is a previous recipient of the Osler’s Cloak for Excellence in Caring and Curing and has been recognized as a Days of ’47 Pioneer of Progress. Nationally, Katy serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Hospital Association, Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety, the Children’s Hospital Coalition and GameChanger Charity. Locally, she is a member of the board for The Children’s Center Utah, the Nature Conservancy in Utah and the Salt Lake City advisory board for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Owner & Clinical Director | Serenity Recovery and Wellness
Lyndsey Proctor, LCSW, pioneered Utah’s first two maternal mental health centers, helping over 2,500 local mothers in the last six years. She holds a master of social work degree from the University of Utah and has advanced training in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders from Postpartum Support International. Lyndsey’s training also includes the Gottman Institute’s esteemed Bringing Baby Home program, acceptance and commitment therapy, exposure and response prevention, mindful self-compassion and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. Her expertise spans treating the unique nuances women experience in the perinatal period, which include mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, infertility, miscarriage and infant loss. Lyndsey is also responsible for overseeing the clinical development and mentorship of her dedicated staff and graduate student interns.
Maria Isabel Gomez
Administrative Manager | University of Utah AHEC
Maria “Maisa” Isabel Gomez has extensive experience in managing health organizations, social programs and private enterprises across the many countries where she has lived. Since her arrival in the United States in 2002, Maisa has been devoted to helping those in need. She began her career as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault, shaping her future mission of creating equitable opportunities in education and health care for disadvantaged individuals. Currently, Maisa leads the IMPULSE/O project at Utah Area Health Education Centers, an initiative dedicated to providing educational resources to parents and graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. Beyond her professional role, she actively participates in charitable and community organizations, demonstrating her genuine concern for the well-being of others and her commitment to creating positive change.
Founder & Occupational Therapist | Rehab Advocates Mindset Mentorship Program at Intermountain Health
Bonnie Larsen has worked full-time as an occupational therapist for Intermountain Health with the neuro-specialty population since 2007, when she graduated with her master’s degree from the University of Utah. In 2018, she founded the Rehab Advocates Mindset Mentorship Program to help people recovering from stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation and other major medical complexities to live a more fulfilling life after experiencing trauma and disability. This program has expanded to Ogden and Provo, with plans to expand to St. George next year. She is an advocate for mental health, body positivity and holistic wellness, including stress management and self-compassion. She is currently an adjunct professor with the University of Utah within the Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies. She enjoys program development, shopping at farmers markets, cooking, weight lifting, water sports and spending time with her family.
Kamaile Tripp-Harris, CHW
Health Equity Consultant | University of Utah
Lead Community Health Worker | Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine
With 18 years of experience in mental and behavioral health care, Kamaile Tripp-Harris’s experience is vast. She provides technical assistance to health equity teams statewide, fostering community engagement and cultivating partnerships to address health disparities within underserved communities. She leads the community health worker team at the University of Utah School of Medicine, guiding a diverse group that aids medical students in tailoring interventions for patients from varied backgrounds. Kamaile also co-chairs the Utah Community Health Workers Association. As a Hawaiian heritage teacher, she shared expertise at the Pacific Heritage Academy. Through hosting the The Island Wave podcast, Kamaile captures the experiences of Utah’s Pacific Islander community, fosters connections and builds bridges for deeper societal understanding.
Care Coordination Strategy Manager | Castell, an Intermountain Health company
A transplant from Texas, Mel Hamor has made Utah her home over the last nine years. As soon as she unpacked in Utah, she pursued employment with Intermountain Health. Mel has worked in a variety of health care roles over the last 30 years, including home care and public relations for small nonprofits and pediatric dentistry. Her passion for helping people is most evident in care coordination, prevention and chronic condition maintenance. At Castell, Mel supports the non-clinical Care Traffic Control team, which currently employs 250 care coordinators. She oversees the development of new services and workflows designed to ease patient navigation through their health care journey and supports clinical staff in providing the best care possible. In addition to her formal role, she often leads workshops for her team on topics like growth mindset, harnessing administrative tools and leadership development.
Pediatric Dentist & Associate Professor of Dentistry | Roseman College of Dental Medicine
Dr. Ryan Craig Moffat has organized dozens of dental health community outreach programs and has supervised hundreds of dental students in implementation of these projects, helping thousands of vulnerable Utahns overcome significant barriers to good dental health. Ryan is an alumnus of Highland High School, Brigham Young University, Creighton University School of Dentistry and the University of Southern California. He practiced as a pediatric dentist for 12 years in Draper, Utah, before turning to a career in dental academics. Under Ryan’s supervision, annual programs like “Back to School Brush Up” and “Give Kids a Smile” provide free dental exams, cleanings and restorative care to over 1,000 economically disadvantaged children each year. “Give New Utahns a Smile” provides free comprehensive dental care to 150 refugees in Utah annually. Other dental outreach programs implemented by Ryan seek to impact individuals with special needs, the elderly, individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty, veterans and racial/ethnic minorities.
Assistant VP, Small Employer & Individual Products | SelectHealth
During the challenging Medicaid re-enrollment period post-COVID-19, Heidi Castaneda leveraged her 27 years of experience at SelectHealth to lead her team through a statewide effort that collectively enrolled more than 33,000 people in Utah who were no longer eligible for Medicaid onto individual plans. Earlier in her career, when the Affordable Care Act was enacted, Heidi and her team went on the road in Utah and Idaho to bring simplicity to a complex industry. She educated the community about the significant changes, helped them understand how to qualify for subsidies and assisted with federal marketplace applications. Heidi demonstrates SelectHealth’s mission to provide superior service, and her impressive work proves she is committed to helping SelectHealth’s communities live their healthiest lives possible.
Health Care Educator
Clinical Transformation Advisor | Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah
Cheryl Carter graduated from the College of Eastern Idaho with an Associate’s of Applied Science in Nursing. She has practiced for over 35 years in a variety of health care settings including hospital, clinic, home health and care management. During that time, she directed patient care and served as a patient educator, quality manager and provider liaison for health plan providers. Cheryl’s hospital experience was primarily in rural facilities, which provided an opportunity to work in multiple settings and gain a broad clinical base. These experiences helped her to understand the need for accessible resources for both patients and providers. Cheryl is passionate about building strong and trusting relationships personally and professionally that enable a free exchange of ideas and collaboration. In her current role, Cheryl supports and advocates for health care providers throughout Utah while developing workflows and processes that more efficiently address patient care.
Francine Bench Jensen
Associate Professor, Nursing | Utah Valley University Department of Nursing
While at Utah Valley University (UVU) Department of Nursing for the past decade, Associate Professor Francine Jensen has taught hundreds of nursing students in more than 100 courses that address adult health needs, skills labs, care coordination and management, and undergraduate research. She is a recipient of the Dean’s and Faculty Senate Excellence Awards and serves as the undergraduate program coordinator at UVU. When the decision was made to expand the nursing program, Jensen initiated a faculty-student mentoring program. She further demonstrated her commitment to students during the COVID-19 pandemic by managing the nursing program’s pandemic response with an aim on keeping academic operations open, safe, and as face-to-face as possible. Francine works with The INN Between in Salt Lake City to promote social model hospice through her ongoing research and currently serves on the Utah County Board of Health.
Assistant Professor | Rocky Mountain University
Dr. Jonathan Wright received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Brigham Young University and his doctorate degree in physical therapy from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He worked as a lead inpatient physical therapist at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington, from 2010 to 2018. In 2014, Jonathan became a certified stroke rehab specialist through the American Heart Association. In the summer of 2018, he joined the Doctor of Physical Therapy faculty at Rocky Mountain University. As an assistant professor, he teaches 100 student therapists how to evaluate and treat individuals dealing with neurologic conditions each year. Beyond teaching full-time, Jonathan continuously seeks to learn and serve. He recently earned his doctoral degree in healthcare leadership and administration and continues to care for patients at Intermountain Health.
Professor & Director, Social Connection and Health Lab | Brigham Young University
In addition to her roles at Brigham Young University, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad is the founding scientific chair and board member for the U.S. Foundation for Social Connection and the Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection. An international scientific expert, she focuses on individual and population health effects, biological mechanisms and strategies to mitigate risk and promote protection associated with social connection. As the lead scientific editor for the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory and National Strategy, Julianne works toward translating evidence into practice and policy. She has provided expert testimony in a U.S. congressional hearing and served as a member of multiple National Academy of Sciences consensus committees, the U.K. Cross-Departmental Loneliness Team, the European Joint Research Council and theWorld Health Organization. She also serves as a subject matter expert for the Gravity Project, Commit to Connect and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health Care Practitioner
Elise Mecham, MD
Owner & Reconstructive/Cosmetic Microsurgeon | Real You Plastic Surgery and Wellness
Dr. Elise Mecham, MD, is a Utah Valley native and the mother of five amazing children. After graduating Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of Utah School of Medicine, she completed her residency in plastic surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She then went on to finish an additional year of fellowship in microvascular reconstruction at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She specializes in cancer and trauma reconstruction, cosmetic surgery and massive weight-loss body contouring, as well as burn and wound healing. With an exceptional eye for detail, she is passionate about making her patients look and feel their best in any setting. Elise safely offers multiple surgical and non-surgical options for cosmetic and reconstructive concerns. Her goal is that each patient receives individualized care based on their desires and expectations.
RN, SANE Coordinator | Cache Valley Hospital
Kathy Higbee has been a registered nurse for 28 years in hospital, long-term care and public health settings. She found her true passion when she joined the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) team at Cache Valley Hospital in Logan, Utah. Kathy coordinates the only SANE program serving the Cache Valley community and is a member of the Cache County Sexual Assault Response Team, working closely with victims’ advocates, law enforcement agencies, county attorneys and other community service providers. Kathy also sits on a sextortion task force to help bring awareness and education to students, parents and employees of the Cache County and Logan school districts. She provides trauma-informed care for survivors of sexual assault, works with law enforcement to collect evidence, and helps educate the community on issues related to sexual violence. She coordinates continuing education for the nurses on her team to ensure survivors receive care according to the best evidence-based practices.
Founder, Owner & Pediatric Dentist | Happy Tooth Pediatric Dentistry
After completing his pediatric residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, Dr. Tyler Hanks returned home in 2020 to start the practice he wished existed for his own kids. Down to every tiny detail, Tyler designed Happy Tooth to specifically not feel, look or smell like a typical dental or medical experience. Happy Tooth currently serves over 600 kids monthly throughout the Salt Lake City area. The Happy Tooth team recently launched Happy Tooth products, and the Happy Tooth Foundation helps underserved kids with dental needs locally and around the world.
Alisa Thomas, PharmD, MBA
Clinical Pharmacy Manager | Intermountain Homecare and Hospice
Alisa Thomas has expanded many programs that allow patients in Utah to receive care. Recently, she was influential in establishing Intermountain Health’s hospital-level care at home program and has worked on an interdisciplinary team of providers, pharmacists, nurses and home medical equipment specialists to ensure essential medications are delivered to patients’ homes. Alisa has also grown a clinical oncology program that allows patients to receive chemotherapy and other cancer treatments either in their homes or at hospitals near their homes in rural parts of Utah and Idaho. As a leader and manager, she cares for her team on a personal level, frequently asking about their families and remembering things that matter to them. She provides many opportunities for the professional growth of her team members, encouraging them to receive additional training to better themselves and their teams.
Chief Clinical Officer & SVP | Health Catalyst
Holly Rimmasch has been steadfast in her mission to create a higher-quality, lower cost, sustainable health system. Key areas of accountability include clinical improvement, patient safety, quality, population health, operations and health care finance. Prior to Health Catalyst, Holly held many roles at Intermountain Health where she affected change at a system level. Holly co-founded and was a principal in HMS, Inc., a health care strategic consulting firm focusing on population health. She has dedicated the last 30 years to identifying opportunities through data and analytics, implementing best practices, supporting adoption, and improving clinical, operational and financial outcomes. Holly holds a master’s degree in adult physiology from the University of Utah and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Brigham Young University.
John Dougherty, DO
Founding Dean & Chief Academic Officer | Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine
Dr. John Dougherty was dean of the medical school at Touro University Nevada immediately before coming to Noorda. Prior to that, he served in a variety of senior leadership roles at his alma mater in Kansas City for over 20 years. John is board-certified in family medicine and holds a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine. John has served as an organizational physician for the Kansas City Royals since 2008, serving the team primarily in the Dominican Republic. He is a certified physician leader in administration, has completed a fellowship in health policy, and holds a certificate in finance from the University of California, San Diego’s Rady School of Management. He is recognized as a visionary educator and serves as a mentor in the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s senior leadership development program.
CEO | Savvos Health
Lucien Morin received his finance degree from Brigham Young University in 1996 and founded Magellan, Inc. in 2003. As a pioneer in human capital management, he brought integrated business services and technologies to employers in Utah and across the country. Lucien sold Magellan in 2018 and began working on the U.S. health care crisis by addressing the unintended consequences of federal regulations in the U.S. health care system. Today, Lucien is the co-founder and the CEO of Savvos Health, a digital health care fintech company that supports the changing relationships between patients, payers and providers. Savvos has pioneered immediate cash payment solutions for scheduled medical procedures and acts as a cash pay clearing house between providers, health plans and their members.
Contract Management Expert | Optum Utah
Kenneth Coon joined Optum Utah in 2015 and has held his role as contract management expert since 2021. In his day-to-day, Kenneth is responsible for working with Optum’s health care network to build strong, stable, fairly compensated teams of doctors, nurses and care providers. Kenneth’s heart is truly in his volunteer work, and after the Christmas Day tsunami in Indonesia in 2004, he was moved to become a volunteer with the American Red Cross. This journey has led him to become a blood services transportation expert in Utah and Idaho, delivering donated blood to where it’s needed most throughout the region. He’s also active with Meals on Wheels and the International Rescue Committee. Kenneth is a past volunteer for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, among other organizations.
Consultant | Eliana White Consulting
Eliana White is a seasoned health insurance executive, lobbyist and consultant and has been advocating for affordable, accessible health care for more than 25 years. Starting on Utah’s Capitol Hill as a Hinckley Institute legislative intern in 1998, she discovered the best public policy was created from the inclusion and collaboration of subject matter experts, working the legislative process and overall tenacity. In her former leadership role at Select Health, Eliana was responsible for federal and state government relations in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Montana. Eliana served as the president of the Utah Health Insurance Association in both 2006 and 2022. She currently represents several clients in the technology and health care space and guides them through the legislative and regulatory process.
Pamela K. Corrent
Registered Nurse | St. Mark’s Hospital
Pamela K. Corrent is a beacon of dedication and resilience in nursing and has committed nearly five decades to her profession, with 49 remarkable years in the intensive care unit. Pam’s impact transcends her years of service. She’s a guardian nurse known for her critical thinking and unwavering compassion. Pam is a genuine patient advocate who crafts patient care as an art form with empathy and attention to detail. Her work in the ICU—a place where every choice is critical—showcases her ability to blend critical thinking with compassion, saving lives and offering solace to countless patients and families. Her legacy is not just a testament to health care professionals but a reminder of the immense influence one individual can wield.