16 May, Monday
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Utah’s Top Healers Recognized at 2016 Healthcare Heroes Awards

In healthcare, there are doctors and nurses and administrators and assistants who do their jobs—and then there are heroes who go above and beyond the call.

On Tuesday, Utah Business honored those cape-less supermen (and superwomen) who have made healthcare in Utah in a class all its own.

Carole Mikita, senior correspondent with KSL News and emcee of the event, said she was pleased to put the spotlight on those helping make the state healthier and happier.

“Those working in healthcare serve in a variety of roles: administrator, physician, educator, nurse, volunteer. But they all share a dedication to healing and a commitment to improving the quality of life of their patients,” she said. “From newborns to accident-prone teenagers, and from adults working to improve their health to those facing serious illness, healthcare heroes touch us all. Each of the heroes we’re celebrating today have shown a special passion for healthcare and we appreciate all you have done.”

Utah Business‘ Sam Urie said the idea of healthcare heroes hit close to home for him this year, after a bout of cancer and the resulting treatment and recovery.

“It’s amazing the way your life can take such a sharp detour into the realm of hospitals and paper gowns and medical terms you’ve never heard before. It’s easy to feel lost and alone in that world. And let’s be honest: there’s a lot of pain involved, and fear, and sometimes despair,” he said. “So what’s the difference between a healthcare worker and a healthcare hero? A healthcare hero is the receptionist who greets you with a smile instead of indifference. It’s the nurses and assistants who see you at your absolute worst, but who still care for you with compassion and kindness. It’s the hospital administrators who ensure their facilities are not only well-run, but soothing places of healing. And it’s the physicians and practitioners who dedicate their lives to learning their craft and using that knowledge to heal.”

Twenty-two doctors, administrators, practitioners and volunteers from hospitals across the state were honored for their strides in healthcare. Among them were three who have made a career of helping people heal.

Dr. John R. Hoidal, Clarence M. and Ruth N. Birrer Presidential Endowed Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said he was humbled for the recognition. He feels honored to have done the work that he has, but cautioned that the healthcare industry needed major reforms to benefit all more fully.

“The opportunity to work towards the better understanding of and contribute to the health of our society is really a privilege,” he said. “I encourage you to embrace the change [coming to healthcare]. Do what you can to ensure everyone in this great country has access to excellent healthcare.”

Dr. Mark W. MacKay, clinical manager and nutrition support coordinator at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, spent the bulk of his career researching and developing better ways to deliver nutrients via intravenous feeding. He related a story of his last day before retirement, when a mistake was made with a patient, and his research was able to repair the error—a fitting cap for a career he considers a gift.

“I had a dream and I had the ability and knowhow to solubilize some things to make it easier for people [to process nutrients],” he said.

Dr. Stephen Minton, chief of neonatology at Intermountain Healthcare, pioneered the first non-university neonatal intensive care unit at Utah Valley Hospital nearly 40 years ago. He credited his wife for his success, citing her great support, and the many ideas she gave him for improved processes.

“When she gave me the ideas, I’d tell her why they wouldn’t work in a neonatal intensive care unit. When I revisited those ideas a couple of weeks later and it was my idea, they seemed a whole lot better,” he said, joking.

You can read more about the 2016 Healthcare Heroes here. They are:

Lifetime Achievement

John R. Hoidal, MD The Clarence M. and Ruth N. Birrer Presidential Endowed Professor University of Utah School of Medicine

Mark W. MacKay Clinical Manager and Nutrition Support Coordinator Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital

Stephen Minton, MD Chief of Neonatology Intermountain Healthcare


Helen Feltovich, MD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Intermountain Healthcare

Dr. Brandon Fisher Radiation Oncologist Gamma West Cancer Services

Anne Kieryn, MD Surgical Breast Oncologist Jordan Valley Cancer Center

Administrative Excellence

Blair Kent Administrator/CEO Riverton Hospital

Wendy L. Hobson-Rohrer, MD, MSPH Professor (Clinical) of Pediatrics, South Main Clinic Medical Director University of Utah

Paula Strasburg Director, Quality and Risk Management Timpanogos Regional Hospital

Community Outreach

Janet Brooks Community Outreach Manager Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital

Traci Heiner Cardiac Rehab Supervisor Utah Valley Hospital

Healthcare Educator

Julie Aiken, DPN, RN, CNE CEO Ameritech College of Healthcare

Cindy Johnston, RN MSN CDE Educator/Director, Diabetes Care Center Davis Hospital and Medical Center

Tyler M. Rose, PhD Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Roseman University of Health Sciences

Healthcare Practitioner

Viet Le, PA Cardiology Research Physician Assistant Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute

Aaron Pugh Physician Assistant and Director of the APC Post-Graduate Residency Program Intermountain Medical Center