Annual Awards Honor Extraordinary Work on Behalf of Virginia’s Health Centers

The Virginia Community Healthcare Association has announced its annual award winners. Honorees were recognized at an awards dinner on Monday evening, June 6, in western Henrico County. The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding and extraordinary work on behalf of and within Virginia’s Community Health Centers.

Virginia has 29 Health Center organizations which operate over 140 service sites within rural and urban medically underserved areas across the Commonwealth. Using the Patient-Centered Medical Home model, Virginia’s Community Health Centers provide access to high-quality, affordable primary care regardless of ability to pay, geographic location, culture, age, gender, or religion. Community Health Centers in Virginia log over 1 million patient encounters annually, providing primary care to some of our state’s sickest and poorest citizens.

Below are the 2016 Award Winners:


Provider of the Year

2016-provider-of-year

Aghnes Bolusa-Sabugo, MD | Johnson Health Center | Lynchburg, Virginia 

This award recognizes an outstanding health care provider who has demonstrated dedication, expertise and concern for their patients in a compassionate and comprehensive manner.  Provider is defined as physician, dentist, pharmacist, behavioral health or other mid-level practitioner.

Dr. Sabugo is a physician at Johnson Health Center, where she has been an innovator in care coordination, patient centeredness, and the patient centered medical home model. Her efforts have created an environment in which care plans are detailed and customized to the individual patient, and the patient is always first. She is known amongst staff and patients alike as a thorough, compassionate, and productive provider.

Said Gary Campbell, CEO of Johnson Health Center,

“If Johnson Health Center had a MVP (Most Valuable Player) award category, she would win it hands down. She openly lives all five of our core values: respect, integrity, teamwork, innovation, and excellence. She has helped raise the bar on patient centeredness and has done so in a compassionate, caring way. She loves the patients and it shows.”



Team of the Year

2016-team-of-yearThe Behavioral Health Team from Blue Ridge Medical Center | Arrington, Virginia

The team, led by Heather Keyes, LCSW, includes Jennifer Roberts, LPN, and Nina Ferguson, RN.

This award recognizes outstanding teamwork within a member organization that demonstrates the ability to work together toward the common goals and missions of the organization.

The Blue Ridge Medical Center Behavioral Health Team includes three individuals who together have created a behavioral health integration program that has made a critical difference in the lives of more than 600 patients. The team coordinates the warm hand-off program, assesses and triages patients, connects patients with appropriate counseling and medication management services, refers patients as necessary for outside care, and conducts follow-ups regularly to achieve the highest quality care and the best possible outcomes.

Said Margaret “Peggy” Whitehead, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Medical Center,

“The [Behavioral Health] team is unified, focused, and truly engaged in the mission of Blue Ridge Medical Center. There are many stories that illustrate day-to-day successes and major milestones for patients. They work together to achieve this despite a psychiatric provider vacancy that has created unique challenges… Heather, Jennifer, and Nina are truly model staff members in terms of their commitment to patients, to the staff, and to the health of the community.”



The Tony Lawson Special Recognition Award

2016-special-recognitionErnest Augustin | Eastern Shore Rural Health System | Onancock, Virginia

This award recognizes an outstanding staff person of a member organization or of the Virginia Community Healthcare Association, who is a non-provider or non-volunteer, for their extraordinary efforts in support of the organization’s overall mission.

Ernest has served as an outreach worker with Eastern Shore Rural Health System for over 15 years, with steadfast and loyal service to migrant populations. He is known in the community for his attentive outreach, often connecting patients with community partners to expeditiously provide health care and other crucial services. For years, he has been consistent in supporting the health center’s mission and improving access to care for migrant seasonal workers on the Eastern Shore.

Said Nancy Stern, CEO of Eastern Shore Rural Health System,

“When there was an influx of [Creole-speaking] migrants on the Shore, Ernest’s case load increased, as he was the only person employed with us who could speak the language. He never complained and went about his work diligently in working with this vulnerable population; these folks were new to our country and at times lost as to where to turn for help. Ernest’s calming nature and compassion for people was a relief to this population. He exemplifies all that which an Outreach Worker should strive to be, for our most vulnerable populations.”


Staff Member of the Year

2016-staff-member-of-yearSusan McCafferty | Johnson Health Center | Lynchburg, Virginia

This award recognizes a non-medical employee of a health center who has demonstrated dedication and concern to see that patients are afforded the best quality care and who has demonstrated outstanding quality in working with staff, patients, and family members.

Susan is an Outreach and Enrollment Specialist at Johnson Health Center, where she works diligently within the community at large to get Virginians enrolled in health insurance and to expand access to affordable and quality health care. As an active representative of her health center at health fairs and local events, she educates community members about the programs offered at Johnson Health Center, as well as options for insurance enrollment and assistance.

Said Mehgan McCrickard, COO of Johnson Health Center,

“Susan is a walking ambassador for Johnson Health Center. Her impact on our health center and the surrounding community has been immeasurable. While we could count the number of enrollments she has completed, it would be nearly impossible to numerate the lives that she has touched through her efforts to assist those living in poverty. Susan has helped to bring JHC’s mission and programs into the public eye and has assisted in ensuring that our policies reduce, rather than create, barriers for the underserved to receive care.”



Volunteer of the Year

2016-volunteer-of-yearWanda N. Allen, Esq. | Southeastern Virginia Health System | Newport News, Virginia

This award recognizes an outstanding board member, unpaid staff member, or an individual other than board or unpaid staff who has served voluntarily to promote community health care.

Ms. Allen is the Chair of the Board for Southeastern Virginia Health System. Under her leadership and confidence, the organization has experienced exponential growth; she has been instrumental in fundraising for the organization, as well as in securing the addition of two New Access Points and expanded service grants.

Said Angela Futrell, CEO of Southeastern Virginia Health System,

“Committed, dedicated, knowledgeable, advocate, compassionate, teacher, facilitator – the list goes on, with regards to the qualifications of Ms. Allen. She understands the entire community health center mission, the services, the vision, the language, the impact – all of it.”


Nurse of the Year

Melissa Franklin, RN | Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Inc. | Saltville, Virginia

This award recognizes a nurse who has demonstrated dedication, expertise and concern to see that patients are afforded the best quality care and who has demonstrated outstanding quality in working with staff, patients, and family members.

Melissa has been employed as a nurse at Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems for seven years and is described as not only an exceptional nurse, but an instrumental leader in implementing care coordination standards and the patient centered medical home model. She now leads the Care Coordinator team at her health center and is involved with patient education, follow-ups with high risk patient populations, training, and mentoring.

Said Bryan Haynes, CEO of Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Inc.,

“Melissa has had a tremendous impact on SVCHS and our community. She is constantly searching for ways to improve processes to make things easier on the clinical staff, and she is always patient when instructing or assisting a fellow staff member. She goes beyond the call of duty to help the patient, always putting them first and foremost – she is one of a kind. Melissa embodies SVCHS in everything she does, in motivating staff and in helping our community as a whole.”