NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 12 HCA today announced the recipients of the 2009 Frist Humanitarian Award. Judy Williams, a volunteer at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Carianna Johnson, a registered nurse at StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna, Tenn. and Kevin Smith, D.D.S., an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., were honored today during a ceremony in Nashville.
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Established in 1971, the awards honor outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. The Frist Humanitarian Awards are given annually in recognition of the caring spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA. Employees, volunteers and medical staff members who demonstrate commitment and dedication to providing care and humanitarianism are selected from around the country and honorees are recognized at the local level. The three national recipients are selected from more than 215 local honorees.
The highest honor HCA employees, volunteers and medical staff members can receive, the Frist Humanitarian Award includes a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient's choice and $5,000 in cash for the employee and volunteer. The medical staff honoree receives a $10,000 donation to their charity of choice.
Judy Williams began helping patients when, as a teenager who was told she was too young to volunteer, she convinced a hospital to start a student volunteer program. She went on to spend 30 years as a nurse, an experience she calls "the best career anybody could have." Her nursing career was cut short after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. For the last eight years, Judy has been a volunteer in Los Robles Hospital's emergency department.
Although she's retired, Judy doesn't have much free time on her hands. She still maintains her nursing license, spearheads community health fairs and organizes flu shot clinics. She also volunteers at the Conejo Free Clinic and the Hospice of the Conejo Valley. In addition, she serves as president of the Los Robles Hospital Volunteer Board of Directors.
"Judy epitomizes the enduring values - compassion and patients-first focus - upon which HCA was established more than 40 years ago," said HCA chairman and CEO Richard M. Bracken. "She is beloved by her Los Robles Hospital colleagues, and we're proud she is part of the HCA family."
Carianna Johnson, a registered nurse in StoneCrest Medical Center's labor and delivery unit, has always known caring for others is her calling. But in 2003, despite the demands of her career and her roles as a wife and mother of five children, she started volunteering with Annabelle's Wish, a nonprofit organization that provides basic necessities to Chinese orphans. She's taken about a dozen self-funded trips to China, volunteering on projects like painting orphanages and distributing blankets and diapers.
She has also journeyed to Africa where she helped orphans and provided AIDS education to HIV-positive patients and assisted with surgeries, working long hours without the benefit of modern medical advances. More recently, Carianna partnered with Dr. Afam Ikejiani to launch Humanity Bridge, an international nonprofit organization that seeks to provide medical care, education and orphanage support.
"With single-minded purpose, Carianna has dedicated her life to helping and caring for others," said Bracken. "The impact she's having on people throughout the world is a reminder that individuals become caregivers simply because this profession is an extension of who they are. We appreciate Carianna's devotion to the cause of helping others and the example she sets for all of us."
Dr. Kevin Smith's passion is helping children grow up to have happy, normal lives. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon has dedicated his life and his practice to cleft lip and palate research and treatment. In fact, he donates his own money and resources to travel to Tecate, Mexico, several times a year to perform life-altering operations for children in need.
At OU's Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Smith helped form a state-of-the-art cleft palate team. In addition, he created the Oklahoma Cleft Support Group and started A Smile for a Child Foundation. The foundation provides financial assistance and emotional support to children with cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial anomalies.
"Dr. Smith has generously given his time and surgical skill as well as personal resources to improve the lives of children," said Bracken. "The impact he has had on so many lives is an inspiration, and reminiscent of the example set by Dr. Frist Sr. many years ago."
All references to "Company" and "HCA" as used throughout this document refer to HCA Inc. and its affiliates.