a photo collage of award winners

Virginia Community Healthcare Association Names 2019 Award Winners

Individuals and Teams honored for their work on behalf of Virginia’s Community Health Centers

June 18, 2019

The Virginia Community Healthcare Association has announced its annual award winners. Honorees were recognized recently at an awards dinner held at the Westerre Conference Center 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 30 Health Center organizations operating 147 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 convenient, 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 those recognized at the 2019 Awards Ceremony:

Ms. Bland holding award

Volunteer of the Year

Denise W. Bland, Esq. | Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. | Onancock, Virginia 

The Volunteer of the Year 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. Bland serves Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. as its President of the Board of Directors. She has served in this role for 17 years. When the Health Center first began in 1976, the organization’s focus was to make primary care more accessible to people living on the Eastern Shore. Today, its eight locations offer a wide range of services including primary care, dental care, behavioral health services, pharmacy assistance services, pediatrics, and a robust school dental program.

Ms. Bland has been actively engaged in the organization’s growth and has been instrumental in helping it expand from a $2 million to a $24 million organization. She actively meets with local, state, and national legislators to advocate for funding and support. She has worked on policies that have enabled more access to care for the people of the Eastern Shore. She stays current on health policy, health legislation, Community Health Center trends, and leadership best and promising practices by participating in activities and trainings offered by the Virginia Community Healthcare Association, the Virginia Health Safety Net Partners, and the National Association of Community Health Centers. She is an active member of her town council and her church, where she continues to share the mission of Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. with the community.

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

“I am so very pleased that Denise has been recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of Eastern Shore Rural Health, Inc. Denise’s impact on our Health Centers is immeasurable because the ripple effect of her efforts expounds in numerous ways, directions, and degrees. Her methodical work and dedicated leadership have strengthened a culture within Eastern Shore Rural Health – the mission; the well being of our community, the constant assessment and improvement of policies and procedures, and the highest regard for integrity and ethics. I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Denise.”


Ms. Alderfer holding award

Provider of the Year

Lois Alderfer, FNP| Blue Ridge Medical Center | Arrington, Virginia 

The Provider of the Year award recognizes an outstanding health care provider who has demonstrated dedication, expertise, and concern for their patients in a compassionate and comprehensive manner.

Ms. Alderfer serves as the Chief Medical Officer at Blue Ridge Medical Center. For over 27 years, she has been an inspirational anchor for the staff and patients. Her motivational leadership has helped the staff overcome challenges and has given them a strong sense of direction in their work. As new staff members join Blue Ridge Medical Center, she nurtures, coaches, and supports them. She prepared the staff for review by the Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standard-setting and accrediting body in health care. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Ms. Alderfer made certain that policies and procedures were in place, improvement cycles were well documented, and the environment of care was compliant with standards. Her work resulted in high marks from reviewers, helping Blue Ridge Medical Center achieve full accreditation.

Ms. Alderfer has overseen and supported a dramatic expansion in Blue Ridge Medical Center’s behavioral health programming, creating a robust integrated care program. She has positively impacted both physical and behavioral health outcomes for patients.

Said Randolph Pirtle, CEO of Blue Ridge Medical Center,

“Lois is constantly evaluating new procedures to improve flow efficiency and enhance the patient experience. She sets the bar for productivity and leads by example. She embodies integrity, compassion, and trustworthiness with a refreshing sense of humor that brightens the day of the staff and patients at Blue Ridge Medical Center. I am so pleased that she has received public recognition for her work.”

Ms. Miles holding award

Nurse of the Year

Lori Miles, RN, BSN, NCSN | Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. | Onancock, Virginia

The Nurse of the Year 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.

Ms. Miles serves as the Clinical Nurse Educator for Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. In this role, she creates health education programs for Health Center staff and patients. Ms. Miles joined the staff one year ago and in that time she has actively worked on seven critical policies and procedures focusing on patient safety and risk management, and addressing staff concerns.

The health education programs she has created and implemented are designed to educate patients and help them improve their health outcomes. She has also worked to develop an onboarding clinical orientation program for new staff which provides them with the right tools to find success in their new working environment.

Ms. Miles also serves as the expert in all clinical federal requirements on the Health Center’s Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement committee. She volunteered to be a lead trainer for the organization’s Breathalyzer Alcohol Training and she led a team to complete 25 respirator fit testings for NASA which operates Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore. Overseen by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, respirator fit testing is mandatory for any worker who is required to use a tight-fitting respirator. These trainings led by Ms. Miles resulted in 100% compliance.

Ms. Miles is also a valuable member of the School Nurses Association. The local community college nursing program considers her a valuable resource for their program.

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

“I believe Lori is the embodiment of this award. She is truly committed to our mission and to the people of the Eastern Shore. Since her arrival to our organization in the past year, Lori has actively worked on seven critical policies and procedures addressing staff concerns, focusing on patient safety, and risk management. As our organization’s clinical nurse educator, she coordinates with all clinical teams helping to insure that our patients receive the highest quality of care. I am so pleased that Lori has been recognized for her outstanding achievements.”

Ms. Carter holding award

Staff Member of the Year

Nancy Carter | Clinch River Health Services | Dungannon, Virginia

The Staff Member of the Year 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.

Ms. Carter serves as the Pharmacy Connect Director at Clinch River Health Services. Pharmacy Connect is a program that helps provide prescription medications to chronically ill, uninsured individuals. Often a matter of life and death, Ms. Carter works to help patients get their prescriptions. She makes countless phone calls to patients in order to assess their needs, and spends numerous hours researching available programs and connecting patients to those programs. She spends as much time as necessary helping people understand confusing and complicated paperwork and instructions. Ms. Carter often works overtime to accommodate patients who work late or have unusual hours. She selflessly drives miles of remote back roads to locate patients in order to deliver necessary life-sustaining medical supplies. Ms. Carter is also a good listener when that is what patients need from her.

Said Sabrina Mitchell, Executive Director of Clinch River Health Services,

“Nancy is most deserving of this award. Her selflessness and service to others is the embodiment of compassion. Compassion is a trait necessary in helping our Health Center patients achieve their best quality health outcomes and our community to grow. Nancy gives every patient her undivided attention and care with diligence to every detail concerning that patient. She is an inspiration to our staff and community. I am so pleased that Nancy and her work have been recognized with this award.”

New Day Recover Team holding award

Team of the Year

The New Day Recovery Team | Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems | Saltville, Virginia

The Team of the Year Award recognizes a team within a member organization that demonstrates outstanding synergy in working together toward the common goals and missions of the organization.

Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems’ New Day Recovery is a team-based addiction and recovery treatment program dedicated to helping patients address substance abuse, including opioid addiction.

The team consists of professionals who are trained and qualified in the treatment of addiction. They are committed to promoting patient dignity and self-respect. Patients in the program are provided the opportunity to obtain treatment and embrace recovery with the least amount of disruption in their lives. Each treatment plan is personalized, assuring that patients receive necessary medical care and counseling attention. As a result, patients can continue to receive support from their communities and families.

The New Day Recovery Team is also a recognized leader in the Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) model. They have graciously provided opportunities for other Federally Qualified Health Centers a Community Service Board to shadow the program in order to learn more about the model. New Day Recovery’s Director, Marcy Rosenbaum, LCSW, CSAC has been appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction.

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

“Courage. Commitment. Compassion. All three words can be used describe our New Day Recovery Team of which I am very proud. Whether they are serving the people of Southwest Virginia or assisting other care providers in starting their own treatment programs, the New Day Recovery Team is such a dedicated group of individuals. The results show that this program is successful and our success is due to this team’s commitment. I am extremely pleased that the team has been recognized with this state-wide award.”

Rod Manifold: Young Professional of the Year

Joban Singh | Johnson Health Center | Lynchburg, Virginia 

This award recognizes the accomplishments of an exceptional staff person of a member organization who has helped further the mission of providing high-quality, culturally-competent health services to underserved populations and supports the organization’s overall mission.

Mr. Singh serves as Director of Business Intelligence and Strategy at Johnson Health Center. He joined Johnson Health Center four years ago as a college intern tasked with conducting face-to-face patient surveys. He happened to come on board at a time when the Health Center was in the early stages of transforming their workplace culture. Even though he was an hourly paid intern, he took a special interest in the Health Center’s mission and exceeded expectations in driving the The Employer of Choice® initiative. Employer of Choice® Recognition is earned by employers that have successfully completed the rigorous evaluation process and are recognized for their leadership, culture, and best practices that attract, optimize, and hold top talent, achieving corporate objectives.

In four years time, Mr. Singh has revolutionized the way Johnson Health Center uses information in decision-making that impacts patients and staff. For example, through research, facility review, and use of the Uniform Data System mapper statistics, Mr. Singh discovered an unmet need in the community and brought it to the attention of Johnson Health Center leadership. The Health Center now has a very successful OBGYN, Pediatrics, and Pediatric Dentistry practice in a community that needs it.

Additionally, Mr. Singh is a member of the 43rd Class of Leadership Lynchburg. He has been recognized for his work at the state level with the Quality and Compliance Team. He was also selected to speak nationally on how Johnson Health Center uses data in decision-making. This year, Mr. Singh has been appointed to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) advisory committee for the 2019 FOM/IT presentations review.

Said Gary Campbell, CEO of Johnson Health Center,

“Hiring Joban has been one of the best hiring decisions we have made. The Health Center relies on his commitment and dedication to our mission and vision of expanding access to care for all and creating strong community partnerships. Joban is most definitely a rising star in Community Health and has most certainly impacted our Health Center as well as Health Centers across this country. He is a true servant-leader.”

07-kbruno-special recognition award

Special Recognition Award

Kandace Bruno, CPA | Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. | Onancock, Virginia 

The Special Recognition award is presented to an outstanding staff person of a member organization who is a non-provider or non-volunteer for their extraordinary efforts in support of the organization’s overall mission.

Ms. Bruno has served as the first and only Chief Financial Officer at Eastern Shore Rural Health, Inc. Keeping her Health Center’s mission top of mind and working with the organization’s Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, and Health Center Leadership, Ms. Bruno was key in helping her organization grow from a $2 million to a $24 million organization that currently operates eight Health Center sites spanning the Eastern Shore.

Her organization’s Board of Directors consistently applauds her finance presentations, be it the top ten monthly financial highlights, or the intense reporting and discussion she initiates for the Finance Committee. She has earned their respect and trust.

Ms. Bruno’s financial policy development has assured compliance with industry-standard accounting, proven by successful annual audits. She has also developed her organization’s finance department, currently a staff of fifteen that manages the day-to-day financial operations. Her leadership and efforts in empowering her team have yielded an effective, hard-working, and outcome-focused department.

Additionally, the medical providers at her organization are grateful for her willingness to support them. She assists them with hiring medical and dental coders, helps them understand the business and financial side of their practice, and provides them with weekly reports. They recognize that she has a detailed understanding of medical and dental practices which helps them collaborate on programs and services. Ms. Bruno has also immersed herself in the organization’s dental program and attends the National Network for Oral Health Access, sharing the best practices she learns at sessions with her colleagues.

Ms. Bruno is a trusted community leader. She teaches financial classes at the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. In all she does, she consistently puts the people of the Eastern Shore first.

Said Nancy Stern, CEO of Eastern Shore Rural Health Inc.,

“Because of her enormous contributions to Eastern Shore Rural Health and the people of the Eastern Shore, Kandace is very deserving of this award. Through her leadership as Chief Financial Officer, she has been instrumental in helping us to grow from a $2 million organization to $24 million. This growth has created opportunities for us to offer more services at more locations along the Eastern Shore so that the communities we serve have access to convenient, high quality, cost effective care. I am so proud that Kandace is a part of the Eastern Shore Rural Health team and that her many contributions, talents, and skills have been recognized across the Commonwealth.”

a collage of the nine leadership institute teams

Also during the evening, nine Community Health Center (CHC) teams from around the Commonwealth were honored with graduation certificates from the Virginia Community Healthcare Association’s Virginia CHC Leadership Institute. The Virginia Community Healthcare Association provides this nine-month intensive program for teams from its member Health Centers. The program assists teams of CHC leaders in learning about and implementing best practice strategies in clinical, management, and community settings. The Virginia CHC Leadership Institute facilitates these teams in identifying their own objectives in order to design and complete a Capstone Project that addresses a priority issue at their CHC. Participating teams also present their projects to their cohort class so that all may benefit from the learned innovations, experiences, discoveries, solutions, and best practices. This year’s Virginia CHC Leadership Cohort Class included teams from the following Health Centers:

  • Central Virginia Health Services | New Canton, Virginia
    • Two teams from this Health Center participated in the program
  • Clinch River Health Services | Dungannon, Virginia
  • Daily Planet Health Services | Richmond, Virginia
  • Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. | Onancock, Virginia
  • Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness | Martinsville, Virginia
  • Neighborhood Health | Alexandria, Virginia
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center | Lexington, Virginia
  • Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems | Saltville, Virginia


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