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


Niswonger’s Dr. Melinda Lucas chosen for MSHA’s highest honor.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Dr. Melinda Lucas of Niswonger Children's Hospital was 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. She was nominated by co-workers and chosen by the MSHA executive team for the award.

Lucas is often found working late hours in the pediatric intensive care unit, ensuring that each of her patients receives the highest quality of care possible. As a nomination letter stated, “Dr. Lucas puts the work of caring for families and children above anything else she does.” Lucas gives her time freely to the pursuit of quality care and education. She has also built a strong relationship with the Niswonger staff, including the volunteers who give their time in the hospital.

Lucas always strives to make others feel appreciated. Each year during nurse’s week, she plans a picnic for the pediatric floor staff, setting aside a special time to celebrate her co-workers. She is also a strong supporter of family-centered rounds, during which she visits each patient on the floor to establish relationships with family members in order to best communicate the plans of care needed.

The four other 2013 awards in the medical staff category were bestowed upon Dr. Douglas Pote of  Glade Spring (Va.) Community Clinic, Dr. Damian Sooklal of Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va., Dr. Alfredo Cervantes of Clearview Psychiatric Unit at Russell County Medical Center in Lebanon, Va., and Dr. Thomas Renfro of Thomas E. Renfro Community Clinic in Coeburn, Va.

"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 www.msha.com.

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