HCA Healthcare presents the 2021 Awards of Distinction

Graphic that says HCA Healthcare Awards of Distinction, The Excellence in Nursing Award, The Frist Humanitarian Award and The Innovators Award

Today, HCA Healthcare presented our annual Awards of Distinction to recipients at a ceremony in Nashville. The awards celebrate HCA Healthcare’s positive impact on patients, colleagues and communities by recognizing extraordinary individuals who exemplify our culture and values.

The Frist Humanitarian Award recognizes the highest achievements in serving others; the HCA Healthcare Innovators Award recognizes creative new ideas for enhancing quality of care and efficiency; and the HCA Healthcare Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes the highest levels of performance in the field of nursing.

“The past year has brought unique challenges, but our colleagues continue to go above and beyond to give people a healthier tomorrow,” said Sam Hazen, chief executive officer of HCA Healthcare. “The HCA Healthcare Awards of Distinction recipients being honored today represent what HCA Healthcare stands for: compassionate, quality patient care; innovative, forward-thinking ideas; and above all else — the care and improvement of human life.”

Frist Humanitarian Award Recipients

The Frist Humanitarian Award, named in honor of HCA Healthcare co-founder Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. (1910 – 1998), was created in 1971 and is the longest standing award in HCA Healthcare’s history. The award honors individuals within HCA Healthcare who demonstrate a level of commitment and caring that goes beyond everyday acts of kindness, and who inspire colleagues with their compassion and dedication. In 2020, HCA Healthcare colleagues collectively volunteered more than 83,000 hours in their communities. The recipients of this award are examples of that volunteer spirit and the humanitarian principles established by HCA Healthcare’s founders.

The Frist Humanitarian Award includes a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice and a $5,000 gift for the employee and volunteer recipients. The physician recipient receives a $10,000 donation to the charity of the physician’s choice.

Recipients of the 48th annual Frist Humanitarian Award are:

Woman congratulates a male wheelchair user after finishing a triathlon
Robin Yoder, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C

“The recipients of this year’s Frist Humanitarian Award are compassionate and selfless individuals whose generosity and community service epitomize the vision of our organization’s founders,” said Hazen. “From inside the hospital to in their communities and around the world, these recipients volunteer their time in a way that goes beyond everyday kindness.”

Robin Yoder is an oncology social worker with the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnston-Willis Hospital who has made caring for the welfare of others her life’s work for more than three decades.

While helping others is a part of her job as a social worker, it’s evident to everyone she meets that caring for others is not work, but rather who she is at her core.

She is an advocate, champion, mentor, friend, triathlete, two-time cancer survivor and an amputee who has impacted countless lives in Central Virginia and around the world.

In 2019, she was part of the U.S. delegation to Turkmenistan to assist the country in developing adaptive sports programs for the amputee community. While abroad, she was recognized as a “Woman of Inspiration” by the Turkmenistan news.

Tom and Anne Kettler are MDs at College Park Family Care Center and have provided philanthropic support for more than three decades, not only for the hospital’s patients and colleagues, but for the entire Kansas City region.

Their efforts to provide equitable, high-quality care to thousands of the community’s uninsured, underprivileged and underserved by working in and running the Hope Family Center is a true example of HCA Healthcare’s commitment to improving more lives in more ways.

The Kettlers frequently serve at a hospital and orphanage they founded in Tenwek, Kenya.

They are also involved with the Kitoben Children Vision Center in Africa.

Lewis Franzen has been with HCA Healthcare for 16 years, first as an employee and now as a volunteer at Centennial Hospital in Centennial, Colorado, for the past seven years.

With a remarkable track record of more than 7,000 hours of volunteer service to the hospital, he has positively impacted thousands of patients and families during his time as a volunteer.

He was born with Spina Bifida and has been in a wheelchair for most of his life. Despite his physical constraints, Franzen has remained strong in his commitment to showing up for patients and colleagues.

Additionally, Franzen volunteers at his church and the Food Bank of the Rockies.

HCA Healthcare Innovators Award Recipient

HCA Healthcare was created through the vision of founders Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., Mr. Jack Massey and Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Frist, Jr., and today HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its more than 32 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives. Established in 2010, the HCA Healthcare Innovators Award honors HCA Healthcare’s legacy of innovation by recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit and forward thinking of HCA Healthcare’s colleagues today. Through their efforts and innovation, HCA Healthcare strives to deliver the most effective care with the best possible results. The HCA Innovators Award recipient receives a $5,000 gift and a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice.

Man wearing scrubs and a surgical cap.
Henok Getahun

This year’s HCA Healthcare Innovators Award recipient is Henok Getahun, manager, Sterile Processing, at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California.

Getahun has greatly improved the efficiency of processes throughout Good Samaritan Hospital, consistently striving for excellence in the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective healthcare for patients. He is recognized for creating several innovative initiatives, including a new process that sends all bed rentals through Central Equipment Distribution (CED), which resulted in a significant expense reduction for the hospital.

He is also being recognized for additional innovations, including the Cart Exchange Program, which combines Crash Carts, Chest Tube Carts, Urology Carts, and Pacemaker Carts; a designated room consisting of fully inventoried items that helps staff easily identify each item and its expiration date; and a new process to clean critical patient care equipment, including IV pumps, and to efficiently transport them to the nursing units.

“In the spirit of our founders, innovation happens every day across our enterprise as we seek to improve clinical quality, advance the care experience, and become more impactful in our roles,” said Bill Rutherford, executive vice president and chief financial officer of HCA Healthcare. “Getahun truly embodies this spirit of innovation, and his work has greatly improved both efficiency and patient care.”

HCA Healthcare Excellence in Nursing Award Recipients

HCA Healthcare’s nurses are the cornerstone of patient care, and the organization is committed to investing in the resources they need to grow professionally and individually. HCA Healthcare is creating an environment where its more than 93,000 nurses have the ability to grow and practice at the top of their license, making HCA Healthcare a desired career destination for top nurses. Created in 2014, The HCA Healthcare Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes the intrinsic value of the nursing practice in advancing HCA Healthcare’s mission to care for and improve human life. With categories for professional mentoring and compassionate care, the HCA Healthcare Excellence in Nursing Award recipients each receive a $5,000 gift and $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice.

Recipients of this year’s HCA Healthcare Excellence in Nursing Award are:

  • Beth Onnen, RN, BSN, a nurse at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas
  • Rachel Marcellus, MSN, RN, CCRN, clinical education professional development educator at HealthONE in Denver, Colorado
A woman with curly hair and wearing glasses.
Beth Onnen, RN, BSN

“Nurses are on the front lines of these unprecedented times, and I’m incredibly proud of how our HCA Healthcare nurses show up every day for their patients and each other in the most inspirational ways,” said Jane Englebright, senior vice president and chief nurse executive of HCA Healthcare. “This year’s Excellence in Nursing Award recipients are truly admirable in their delivery of compassionate care, eagerness and commitment to mentoring new nurses, and ability to drive quality improvement.”

Beth Onnen, a nurse at Wesley Medical Center, exemplifies HCA Healthcare’s standards of integrity, compassion, respect and excellence each day.

In the past, Beth has used her personal time to come to the hospital before and after her shifts to bring joy, comfort and support to her patients and their families.

In 2019, Onnen received the DAISY Award in recognition of the indelible impact she made on a family as they welcomed the birth of a child, only to learn shortly thereafter of the mother’s cancer diagnosis, which unfortunately led to her passing. Beth offered support to this family in what was a very emotional time of mourning and loss – while at the same time helped celebrate new life with the birth of a child.

Three female nurses wearing scrubs and face masks looking at a notebook.
Rachel Marcellus, MSN, RN, CCRN

Rachel Marcellus, clinical education professional development educator at HealthONE, created the “New Stages Concept” in her previous role as clinical nurse coordinator.

This highly successful program helps to guide preceptors on how to follow stages when teaching policies and procedures.

In addition, the program supports new hires so they may efficiently care for their critical patient population.

Marcellus also created and implemented the Diary Project for ICU staff, patients, families and friends.

The Diary Project provides support in overcoming the emotional and mental challenges of Post-ICU Syndrome through the practice of writing small diary entries that help patients fill the gaps of their hospital stay and recovery process. 

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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