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Distinguished Service in Healthcare 

2023 NMHA Distinguished Service in Healthcare Awardees

This fall, 14 New Mexicans were recognized by NMHA for their dedication to patient care and the joy they bring to their teams and the patients and families they serve. They make a difference in the lives they touch and represent the best in New Mexico healthcare. 

Watch our video and find the list of these exemplary hospital team members below. 

Award Summary
Kelli Rivera, Director of Surgical Services
Lovelace Women’s Hospital
Led effort to become the first hospital in NM to become a Center for Excellence for hernia and robotic surgery and minimally invasive gynecology and invasive surgery. Organized community event to provide others including local children with firsthand knowledge of robotic technology.
Mary E. Perez, ACNO
University of New Mexico Hospital
Adolescent, behavioral health, nurse leader changed culture and improved care in child psych center, creating a safe, judgment-free environment for staff, patients and families.
Terah Condrey, Physical Therapist
Lovelace UNM Rehabilitation Hospital
Individual care with a focus on identifying early signs of complications allowing patients with limb-loss to get emergency care more quickly resulting in better outcomes.
Dara Jenkins, Clinical Education Specialist
Lincoln County Medical Center
Teaches intensive care nursing skills in rural NM, coordinated health fair for underserved, and developed a horse therapy program.
Rebekah French, Certified Nurse Practitioner
San Juan Regional Medical Center
Initiated the Covid-to-home program allowing patients to recover at home which has helped save lives.
Loriella Haden, Supervisor-Outpatient Clinical
Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital
Puts patients experience first with personal attention and a smile for all patients from the time they enter the clinic to the time they leave, local 4H youth leader.
Melva Lujan, Patient & Financial Advocacy
Nor-Lea Hospital District
Passionate about reaching out to the most vulnerable populations, led the indigent drug affordability program so they may obtain live saving and otherwise expensive drugs for cancer treatment, developed a private pay program for behavioral health, a transportation program, advocates for patients with agencies and connects immigrants to resources.
Ben Gerke, Rehab Services Manager
Presbyterian Espanola Hospital
Staff leader who supports his peers, and is a model in engaging the team in respectful and fun ways to improve their performance which in turn improves patient outcomes.
Ron Green, Director of Clinic Operations
Gila Regional Medical Center
Strategic, humble leader whose efforts saved the hospital’s cancer center, tirelessly recruited providers, raised up staff and is a fierce patient advocate.
Dr. Frank Walker, General Surgeon
Sierra Vista Hospital
Touched the lives of over 443 patients since Dec. 2022, providing access to endoscopic and laparoscopic surgical expertise and care close to home, promotes colonoscopy screening awareness in the community and participates in an elementary school tutoring program.
Clayton Putney, Surgical Tech V
Holy Cross Medical Center
Introduced a surgical tech trainee program allowing the hospital to fill open positions with permanent staff. Goes above and beyond to promote an environment of transparency, collegiality and quality clinical experience.
Gabriela Renteria, Patient Relations Representative
Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital Albuquerque
Takes the time to hold patients’ hands, recognize their progress and celebrate the milestones of healing. Creates a success story for each patient on how far they have come and as inspiration for new patients.
Melissa Phillips, Emergency Services Director, RN, MSN
Roosevelt General Hospital
Instrumental in developing policies and processes to reduce medication errors, improved sepsis times and decreased the use restraints in the ER to zero. Created a culture of collaboration among all staff.
Mario Pena Munoz, LPN
Haven Behavioral Health
Ensures excellent patient care with is “wonderful people style” and “never wavering kindness”, allowing patients to focus on their recovery. His ability to capture detailed information on admitted patients leads to personalized treatment plans and high-quality patient experience. Facilitates nursing groups, is a trainer and educator for new hires who feel more comfortable because of his guidance.
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