Healthcare Achievement Awards 2022: Meet the finalists

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
Healthcare Achievement Awards 2022

The Columbus region is fortunate to be protected by a dedicated corps of health care heroes who have risked their lives for us every day since COVID-19 first came into our lexicon two grueling years ago.

The sector employs more than 45,000 people at hospital systems and a nonprofit research institute that are among the best in the nation, where ground-breaking research advances us into the future. In any normal year, honoring our top researchers, care providers and innovators is a treat because their stories are so compelling. In 2022, it’s paramount. This year’s judges scored nominations based on specific criteria for each category. Accumulated results determine winners and finalists.

Healthcare Achievement Awards 2022:See who won

Without further ado, meet our 2022 Healthcare Achievement Awards finalists:  

Healthcare Trailblazer finalist

Ryan Haley, senior director of ambulatory services, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Photo courtesy Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center)

Ryan Haley, Senior director of ambulatory services, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (individual) 

Ryan Haley is the senior director of ambulatory services at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he has been for nearly two decades. Most recently, Haley was key to formulating “Shots at the Schott,” a COVID-19 mass vaccination initiative at the Schottenstein Center. At its peak, the clinic vaccinated as many as 3,900 people a day and was vaccinating patients as quickly as one every 11 seconds. In total, the clinic has vaccinated over 225,000 people. Haley was also responsible for establishing a second vaccination site at Ohio State East Hospital to help reach the underserved.

See the 2022 Healthcare Trailblazer (individual) winner: Dr. Robert Graessle

Vocalize Columbus team members (Photo courtesy Vocalize Columbus)

Vocalize Columbus (Organization) 

Vocalize Columbus is a nonprofit that provides medical interpretation services to bridge the barriers underserved communities face while seeking help. It was launched in 2021 and has since partnered with LifeCare Alliance’s Columbus Cancer Clinic, a free clinic, to provide interpretation for Spanish-speaking patients. After cultivating a pool of volunteer interpreters, Vocalize Columbus donated 102.5 hours of interpretation services, not only contributing to an improved patient experience, but saving the clinic a total of $21,525. In 2022, it plans to expand and offer interpretation services in other languages.

Meet the 2022 Healthcare Trailblazer (organization) winner:OhioHealth Community Mobile Vaccine Project

Pathway to Population Health finalists

Dr. Olivia Nathan, community engagement pharmacist, Equitas Health (Photo courtesy Equitas Health)

Dr. Olivia Nathan (individual) 

Dr. Olivia Nathan is the community engagement pharmacist for Equitas Health and works to provide care for the LGBTQ+ community and those at risk of or affected by HIV/AIDS. One of Nathan’s top priorities is to care for underserved communities and create pathways to health care, which has led her to partner with religious and nonprofit community leaders across Ohio. Through COVID-19, she has helped plan and execute walk-up vaccination clinics in those communities and has personally delivered vaccines across the state. Nathan was also a 2021 Columbus Dispatch Everyday Heroes finalist.

Meet the 2022 Pathway to Population Health (individual) winner:Dr. Electra Paskett, director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, OSU College of Medicine

Ohio Living

Ohio Living (organization) 

Ohio Living is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit, multi-site aging services organizations and operates 12 life plan communities, Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice, Ohio Living Physician Services and the Ohio Living Foundation. Through a partnership with three other senior living providers, Ohio Living spearheaded the creation of the owner-operated Medicare Advantage network Perennial Consortium, giving patients peace of mind knowing that their insurance is being handled. Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice [OLHHH] also offers the Home to Stay program, which allows patients to receive care from their own home without unnecessary hospital trips. In 2019, OLHHH’s 30-day readmission rate was 3 percent, compared to the national average of over 19 percent.

Meet the 2022 Pathway to Population Health winner (organization): LifeCare Alliance Medical Nutrition Therapy Program

Practitioner of the Year finalists

Virginia Ruef, regional pharmacy officer, Mount Carmel Health System (Photo courtesy Mount Carmel Health System)

Virginia Ruef, regional pharmacy officer, Mount Carmel Health System

Virginia Ruef is the regional pharmacy officer for Mount Carmel Health System, a position she secured during the onset of the pandemic. She leads a team of nine who report directly to her and 200 pharmacy associates and has guided hospitals, pharmacies, and outpatient ambulatory services as they treat patients in the ICUs. Ruef also built from scratch multiple Mount Carmel vaccination clinics and spearheaded the hospital’s efforts to vaccinate thousands across the region. In the early days of the pandemic, she co-formed a regional colleague learning group with chief pharmacy officers at OSU Wexner and OhioHealth to share findings.

Dr. Andrew Dagg-Murry, infectious disease practitioner, Fairfield Medical Center (Photo courtesy Fairfield Medical Center)

Dr. Andrew Dagg-Murry, infectious disease practitioner, Fairfield Medical Center 

Dr. Andrew Dagg-Murry is an infectious disease practitioner at Fairfield Medical Center. When Fairfield Medical Center began admitting its first COVID-19 patients, Dagg-Murry ensured that he or another infectious disease team member saw every patient and he has been present for every meeting, interview or conversation that involves the hospital’s response to COVID-19. As the vaccine emerged, he became an advocate and made himself available at all hours to answer questions and address vaccine hesitancy. Dagg-Murry also serves as the hospital’s medical director of the infusion/wound care sector and the assistant medical director of infection control.

Meet the 2022 Practitioner of the Year winner:Dr. Maria Barnett, Central Ohio Primary Care

Executive of the Year finalist

Lorrain Lutton, president and CEO, Mount Carmel Health System

Lorraine Lutton, president and CEO, Mount Carmel Health System

Lorraine Lutton is president and CEO at Mount Carmel Health System, a position she accepted amidst COVID-19. Since, she has led a $71 million financial turnaround in the 2021 fiscal year. Through the pandemic, Lutton helped bolster the digital capabilities of the patient and care provider experience by expanding Mount Carmel’s telemedicine model to include 24/7 access to on-demand primary care. During one of her firsts tasks as CEO, she assessed leadership needs at the hospitals’ various locations and assembled a 16-person leadership team, 10 of whom are women—four of those women are presidents at Mount Carmel’s four hospitals.

Meet the 2022 Executive of the Year:Charles Gehring, president and CEO, LifeCare Alliance

Lifetime Achievement Award finalist

Brenda Rendelman, registered dietician and certified diabetes care and education specialist, LifeCare Alliance (Photo courtesy LifeCare Alliance)

Brenda Rendelman, registered dietician and certified diabetes care and education specialist, LifeCare Alliance

Brenda Rendelman has been a registered dietician and a certified diabetes care and education specialist at LifeCare Alliance’s Wellness Department since 2018 and has spent the entirety of her career working to improve the lives of those living with diabetes. Over the years, Rendelman has provided over 1,000 group classes and countless individual nutrition and diabetes consultations and has partnered with the YWCA to provide group classes. In the first half of 2021, LifeCare Alliance’s Wellness Center saw a 96 percent success rate in the combination of improvements in diabetes management, lifestyle behaviors and blood glucose levels.

Meet the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner:Deb Palmer, former vice president of administrative services, Fairfield Medical Center

Volunteer of the Year finalist

Kitty Handley, volunteer, Fairfield Medical Center (Photo courtesy Fairfield Medical Center)

Kitty Handley, volunteer, Fairfield Medical Center 

Kitty Handley has been a volunteer at Fairfield Medical Center since 2015 and has served nearly 2,000 hours. Handley began by volunteering in the Cancer Care and Infusion Center at the hospital, a sector she holds close to her heart as someone who has suffered from cancer, where she greets patients and visitors, escorts patients to treatment areas, assists with wig fittings and provides snacks, a smile and a listening ear.  She also volunteers with messenger services, which involves sorting and delivering the mail throughout the entire main campus of the hospital. Handley is also a supporter of the Fairfield Medical Center Foundation.

Meet the 2022 Volunteer of the Year winner: Mary Smith, volunteer, Mount Carmel Hospice and Palliative Care