JMH physician receives Servant’s Heart Award from Mountain States Health Alliance


Dr. Damian Sooklal chosen for MSHA’s highest honor.

ABINGDON, Va. – Dr. Damian Sooklal of Johnston Memorial Hospital (JMH) is one of five physicians from around the region this year to receive Mountain States Health Alliance’s (MSHA) highest honor – the Servant’s Heart Award, recognizing those who exemplify what it means to be a caregiver. He was nominated by c0-workers and chosen by the MSHA executive team to receive the award.

Sooklal serves as the Medical Director of the Johnston Memorial Hospital hospitalist program and the JMH Chief of Medicine in Abingdon, Va. He is well known for always having a smile on his face paired with his upbeat personality. Several of Sooklal’s nomination letters referenced his own motto: “It’s all about the patient.”

A letter of recommendation written by Sean McMurray, vice president and CEO of JMH, stated, “Dr. Sooklal is extraordinarily positive about life and is a great model for excellent behavior among the professional staff.”

Sooklal’s passion for medicine extends into the past as well. He owns the Abingdon Medical Museum, which he opens to student groups and others who are interested in learning the unique medical history of the region.

The four other 2013 awards in the medical staff category were bestowed upon Dr. Douglas Pote of  Glade Spring Community Clinic, Dr. Melinda Lucas of Niswonger Children's Hospital in Johnson City, Tenn., Dr. Alfredo Cervantes of Clearview Psychiatric Unit at Russell County Medical Center in Lebanon, and Dr. Thomas Renfro of Thomas E. Renfro Community Clinic in Coeburn.

“This year’s recipients of the Servant’s Heart Award are outstanding examples of what it means to provide patient-centered care,” said Tracy Boling, Corporate Manager of Patient-Centered Care at MSHA. “These are physicians who truly make a difference in the lives of our patients.”

MSHA’s Patient-Centered Care philosophy provides 10 guiding principles that serve as the foundation of what it means to bring loving care to health care.

“We seek to minister to the whole person” Boling said. “It’s easy to see how we minister to the body, but we also minister to the mind and spirit as well by making sure each patient is well informed and that a relationship is established between provider and patient.”

Each doctor was surprised with a luncheon recognizing him or her as a Servant’s Heart Award winner. Each will receive a crystal trophy, framed certificate and $1,000 donated to the charity of their choice.

About Mountain States Health Alliance

Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit health care organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit

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