Frist Humanitarian Awards: Physicians

Male doctor wearing white lab coat
Dr. Mark Stavros

Physician Recipient: Dr. Mark Stavros, FACEP, FASAM, West Florida Hospital, Pensacola, FL

The desire to serve others led Dr. Mark Stavros to become a physician. The desire to serve those most in need meant looking not only within his own community but also far beyond.

As medical director of West Florida Hospital’s busy emergency room, Dr. Stavros works side by side with other physicians, nurses and emergency room staff every day as they strive together to provide excellent patient care within their community. Also, as a clinical associate professor and education director of emergency medicine for Florida State University’s College of Medicine, he mentors medical students on the complexities of emergency care.

Having lost a sister to addiction, Dr. Stavros has also embraced helping those with addiction problems. He has begun two clinics in the area, and he lectures nationally on opioid addiction and treatment. In addition, Dr. Stavros serves on the Board of Directors of the Big Bend Community Based Care program, which provides funds to local area families dealing with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Outside the hospital, Dr. Stavros is literally “a man on a mission.” He has completed multiple medical and non-medical service trips to Central America, Mexico and around the United States. He has helped set up medical and dental clinics in rural areas, as well as provided care in citywide addiction clinics. Since 2003, he has been involved with an annual medical mission trip to Panama with FSUCares, often taking one or more of his eight children along so they can see the value of helping those less fortunate. It’s a lot to juggle, Dr. Stavros says, but he believes he’s doing what the Lord has called him to do, wherever that takes him.

“Medicine, for me, is wearing a lot of different hats, but I enjoy every one of them,” he says. “I enjoy seeing patients, I enjoy administrative work … really, I want to serve every time I do something, whether that’s working with a patient or representing my colleagues and the hospital administration. We all have common goals, and the great thing about medicine is that it’s very teamwork-oriented. I appreciate that about HCA Healthcare as well — we are a goal-oriented company with high standards, and while those goals may be difficult to obtain, we know that we are all on the same team pursuing the best ways to provide a great experience for our patients.”

Man wearing suit and tie

Physician Finalist: Dr. John Kupferschmid, Pediatric Specialists of Texas/Methodist Physician Practices, San Antonio, TX

For cardiac surgeon Dr. John Kupferschmid, distance isn’t an issue when it comes to patient care. He treats those who come to him in San Antonio, and he travels around the globe to treat those who cannot.

In late 1998, as the Iran-Iraq war was coming to an end, a horrific chemical attack was launched on civilians in Halabja, Kurdistan. Thousands died and now the aftermath is felt in birth defects. Dr. Kupferschmid and several colleagues travel to the area several times a year on self-funded missions to screen and treat children with heart defects. The team also makes an annual trip to Mongolia. His charitable organization, Cor Nova Foundation, helps cover the costs of bringing some of Mongolia’s most difficult cases to San Antonio.

Much of his empathy can be attributed to personal experience — his son spent his first three months of life in a NICU. So, in addition to encouraging his patients’ families to start a local chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a support group for parents and families with children who have congenital heart defects, he also is working on a program to help with the financial and emotional stressors that affect those families.

“He made Daniel feel so special,” says a parent who watched him bond with her son over pizza as he drew napkin diagrams of his heart surgery. “He’s someone who can talk to you like you’re the only person in the room, whether it’s for an hour or three minutes. When he gives you his time, he gives you all of himself.”

Man wearing plaid button down shirt

Physician Finalist: Dr. Lawrence Banta, Medical Director, Behavioral Health Unit, West Valley Medical Center, Caldwell, ID

Dr. Lawrence Banta is determined to see to it that hundreds, if not thousands, of orphans receive the best food, shelter and medical care possible so that they have a chance at healthy, happy lives.

Many people have benefited from Dr. Banta’s drive to improve the world around him. His missionary trips include a two-year posting in Kenya where he developed and built rural medical clinics. He continues his work in that country, caring for children whose parents died of AIDS.

In the United States, Dr. Banta worked with the Idaho Dept. of Public Health and Welfare, caring for more than 700 patients while also handling administrative duties as a clinical director. At West Valley Medical Center, he has directed the behavioral health unit for 16 years.

Along with his son Nate he co-founded Child Help International in 2012 to care for orphans around the globe, and has written a book, Effective Orphan Care Ministry: Rock Solid Kids to Rock Solid Adults, to raise funds for the organization’s global projects.

He has spent 15 years working with two orphanages on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, where he provides medical care as well as staff training on mental health, drug abuse, trauma and sexual trafficking. He also serves as medical director at Hope House, a local school and home for children who are emotionally impaired, developmentally disabled or come from disrupted adoptions or dysfunctional families.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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