TBJ Selects Nine Health Care Heroes from UNC Medical Center, School of Medicine, and UNC REX

The winners of the 2020 Triangle Business Journal Health Care Hero Awards were honored in a ceremony on February 13.

The Triangle Business Journal selected seven winners from UNC Medical Center, the UNC School of Medicine and UNC REX Healthcare in its 2020 Health Care Heroes Awards

The following were honored in the awards ceremony on Feb. 13: 

Catherine Coe, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine, was selected in the Rising Star category.  This award honors a recent graduate or new hire under 40 years old that shows real promise in the fields of scientific research or in the practice of medicine. Dr. Coe, completed her undergraduate and medical school training at the University of Washington and completed family medicine residency at UNC-Chapel Hill in June 2017. Following an additional Chief Resident Year, she joined the department as an assistant professor. She helped develop UNC’s three-year MD curriculum, the Fully Integrated Readiness of Service Training (FIRST) Program and currently serves as the Director for FIRST. Her academic interests include design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative curricula and pipeline initiatives for family medicine.

Cristie Dangerfield, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at UNC Hospitals, was selected in the Nurse category. This award honors a nurse who shows exemplary performance in his or her field. She was previously selected as a 2012 School of Medicine Nursing Recognition Award winner for her demonstrated excellence in nursing practice and a commitment to teaching and education of health science students and health care professionals. In the CICU, which is part of the UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care, Dangerfield is responsible for staff development, induced hypothermia teaching and research, and orientation for new hires, charge nurses, code nurses, etc. She is also a VAD resource nurse and is valuable member of multiple committees, including the Magnet Operations committee and the Adult Rapid Response committee.

The Dementia Friendly Hospital Initiative was selected in the Community Outreach category. The award honors an individual or organization for the development of a program that improved access to, and the quality of, medical service in an underserved area. The Duke Endowment-funded training program will train nearly 4,000 staff in five UNC Health Care hospitals in dementia-friendly communications and care. Jan Busby-Whitehead, MD, Chief, UNC Division of Geriatric Medicine and Director, UNC Center for Aging and Health, received the Community Outreach award on behalf of participating hospitals. “There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. What we can do now is provide better care to improve outcomes for patients. I’m so proud of all the teams at our 5 UNC hospitals who have embraced this goal and taken up the dementia-friendly charge,” said Busby-Whitehead.

Stuart Gold, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics at the UNC School of Medicine, and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC Children's Research Institute, was selected in the Physician/Physician Practice Groups category. This award honors an MD or a physician group who show exemplary performance in the health care field. Dr. Gold is an accomplished clinical research specialist with special interests in acute leukemia’s brain tumors and late effects of cancer therapy. With the assistance of Gwen Konsler, RN, Gold opened a late effects clinic to serve the needs of children long off treatment but at risk for late occurring side effects of their chemotherapy. Gold also heads a comprehensive brain tumor clinic that meets monthly. This clinic brings together experts from the disciplines of neurology, neurosurgery, radiology, psychology and sociology. Patients receive comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation, treatment planning and therapy. Gold also runs a monthly clinic in Wilmington and Raleigh that serves the pediatric oncology needs of those communities.

In addition to these responsibilities, Gold serves on multiple important cancer committees. Gold is a member of several key committees and treatment protocol committees in the Children’s Cancer Group (CCG). The CCG is the largest group of Pediatric Cancer institutions in the world, which pools its resources and patients to advance the treatment outcomes for children with cancer. Gold also serves on several state committees and is an officer of the board of the Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald House.

Andrea Hayes-Jordan, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery and Surgeon-In-Chief of UNC Children's Hospital, was also selected in the Physician/Physician Practice Groups category. Dr. Hayes-Jordan, Surgeon-in-Chief for UNC Children’s Hospital, was the first African American female pediatric surgeon board certified in the United States and is an internationally recognized leader in pediatric surgery and pediatric oncology. She was the first surgeon to perform cytoreductive surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) in a pediatric patient. She specializes in treating desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCT), a rare sarcoma, which spreads throughout the abdominal and chest cavity. The procedure, which can last from 12 to 22 hours to remove hundreds if not thousands of tiny tumors, has since doubled the survival rates for patients. Dr. Hayes-Jordan has treated patients from across the globe and traveled extensively in the United States and abroad, teaching the operation to other surgeons.

Logan Jones, who served as chaplain at UNC Rex Healthcare for 25 years before his retirement in November, was selected in the Support Services Executive category. This award honors a specific individual or an organization for their role in improving the care in health care. Jones doesn’t practice medicine, but he is regularly called upon to help patients and their families, especially during life-and-death moments. Logan became the first chaplain at UNC REX Hospital in 1994, started the hospital’s Pastoral Care program and expanded it into a model that’s recognized across the country for its “care of souls” – providing much-needed comfort for patients, families and staff. At the end of October, Logan retired from UNC REX, the culmination of a career that included training hundreds of residents and students in pastoral care and comforting thousands of patients and staff. In retirement, Logan plans to continue his outreach in the community, spend time with family, travel and write more books.

April Lalumiere, Director of Women's and Children's Services at UNC REX Healthcare, was selected in the Health Care Manager category. This award honors achievement by an administrator at either a health care institution or at a corporate or institutional employee benefits plan. Lalumiere leads a team that helps bring thousands of babies into the world every year. As director of the UNC REX Women’s Center, April oversees more than 350 physicians, nurses and other medical providers who provides OB-GYN, Maternity, and other services to women from Wake County and beyond. Every year, nearly 5,000 babies are born at UNC REX. April began her career as a Labor & Delivery nurse, joining UNC REX in 2005. In 2019, she was named Director of the Women’s Center because of her passion for providing excellent and safe care for mothers and babies, her clinical leadership, and dedication to her staff and the community.

Deborah Murphy, a Clinical Nurse III in the Inpatient Eating Disorder Unit at UNC Hospitals, was selected in the Nurse category. She leads distress tolerance, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, cooking, and processing patient groups. She is also a Charge Nurse, Preceptor, and active member of the Clinical Practice Group, Professional Shared Governance, Eating Disorder Unit Multidisciplinary, and Behavioral Response Team Oversight Committee. 

Mahesh Sharma, MD, Chief of Congenital Cardiac Surgery and Co-Director of the North Carolina Children's Heart Center, was selected in the  Physician/Physician Practice Groups category. Dr. Sharma is an associate professor of surgery in the UNC School of Medicine and also serves as Co-Director of the North Carolina Children’s Heart Center and Director of Pediatric Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support. His special interests include neonatal, infant, pediatric cardiac surgery, adult congenital cardiac surgery and pediatric transplantation. In the past year Dr. Sharma has had a profound effect on the congenital cardiac surgery program that touches the lives of multiple patients across North Carolina. He breathed new life into the pediatric heart transplantation program at UNC Children’s Hospital and his surgery record stands as testament to his skill and expertise.

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