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Updated: November 27, 2023

WBJ names inaugural winners of Champions of Health Care awards

Headshots of the 2023 Champions of Health Care 2023 Champions of Health Care

Nearly two decades have passed since WBJ created an awards specifically for healthcare professionals. Today, though, such an honor feels more important than ever.

The last three years have been nothing short of harrowing, as the COVID pandemic tore through the global population, leaving in its wake strained hospital finances, burnt out providers, and – in some cases – distrust in the entire medical field. Yet, despite these ramifications, the healthcare system largely came through when we needed it most, delivering vaccines, providing assurances, and reaching out to at-risk populations in the most difficult circumstances.

More than just the pandemic, the healthcare industry is full of people who’ve been going above and beyond for centuries. Even without COVID on everyone’s mind, the opioid crisis still is sidelining entire communities, rising inequities are creating two different care systems, and less-attention-grabbing diseases – ranging from cancer to congenital cytomegalovirus – are wreaking havoc on individual patients’ lives.

With all the headwinds professionals in the industry face, WBJ wanted to start a new honor highlighting the very best who are struggling and succeeding in this high-profile industry: a doctor who has fought infectious disease for decades; another doctor who volunteered to help refugees from the War in Ukraine; a nurse helping teenagers in mental health crisis, a support staff who revolutionized the way patients and providers communicate; the administrator who ensures patients’ basic needs are met. These are just a handful of the dozen stories you’ll read on the people who make up WBJ’s inaugural Champions of Health Care class.

Beyond the amazing individuals whose stories we get to tell, the healthcare industry is one of the most vital to the Central Massachusetts economy. It is the largest industry by employment and includes the region’s largest employer: UMass Memorial Health in Worcester, with its 16,000+ employees. Healthcare courses make up key curriculum at every Central Massachusetts college and university, the region’s manufacturing industry is flush with medical device makers, and the burgeoning life sciences industry is inextricably tied to the healthcare needs of the population. The industry is everywhere.

In addition to honoring the 12 Champions of Health Care with these stories, WBJ will have an awards ceremony at our annual Health Care Forum on Dec. 13 at the College of the Holy Cross. The forum will include an open and honest panel discussion about the status of the healthcare industry and where we go from here. There will certainly be plenty to talk about, but most importantly, we get to talk about the best of the best making a difference in Central Massachusetts health care.

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