WHA Awards

For more than 55 years, the Wisconsin Hospital Association has honored individuals who have served the health care community. WHA’s annual awards have recognized a broad array of distinguished health care leaders throughout Wisconsin including health care executives, public officials, health care trustees, auxilians, clergy, educators and physicians for their extensive service in support of health care.

WHA Distinguished Service Award:  honors senior health care executives who have made an exemplary commitment to WHA and the communities they serve.

Pandl of HSHS-Eastern WI wins 2019 WHA Distinguished Service Award

Cited as one who “embodies the spirit of this award,” HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division President and CEO Therese Pandl was recently awarded a WHA 2019 Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes senior executives who have made an exemplary commitment to WHA and the communities they serve. Pandl received the award from WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding at an HSHS senior leadership meeting earlier this month.</p>

“For more than 60 years WHA has recognized those who are dedicated to leadership and participation not only in WHA but in their home communities,” Borgerding said when presenting the award. “I’m very proud to be able to present this award to someone I’ve known a long time and have seen how much she cares about her community and WHA.”

The HSHS-Eastern District of Wisconsin includes HSHS St. Vincent Hospital (Green Bay), HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center (Green Bay), HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital (Oconto Falls) and HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital (Sheboygan).        Read more.


The AHA Grassroots Champion Award was created to recognize those hospital leaders who most effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect the hospital’s vital role in the community, who have done an exemplary job in broadening the base of community support for the hospital and who are tireless advocates for hospitals and their patients.

David Lally Presented with AHA "Grassroots Champion" Award

Following a meeting with Congressman Glen Grothman on August 28 in Mequon, WHA Director of State and Federal Relations Jon Hoelter presented HSHS Director of Business Development David Lally with an American Hospital Association (AHA) “Grassroots Champion” award. The award is given out each year by AHA to one individual in each state. Lally received the award for Wisconsin for his dedication and commitment to grassroots advocacy.

“WHA is pleased to present this AHA Grassroots Champion award to David Lally for his advocacy efforts in support of hospitals and health systems,” said Hoelter in presenting the award. “David is committed to the hospital mission and is a leader in promoting the value of hospitals to legislators, other influence leaders and to his community. Whether it’s heading to Washington, D.C., the state capitol in Madison, or joining us for meetings with legislators in their own communities, David is always jumping at the opportunity to advocate on behalf of his hospital, and Wisconsin health care as a whole. WHA truly appreciates his passion and dedication to advocacy.”

“We depend upon strong local voices to help tell the story of hospitals,” said Eric Borgerding, WHA President & CEO. “This award is recognition of the strong advocacy and dedication David Lally brings to his community and his hospital.”


Advocacy All-Star Award:  recognizes one hospital or health care system each year that exemplifies dedication to grassroots advocacy.

Reedsburg Area Medical Center Receives WHA’s 2019 Advocacy All-Star Award

Reedsburg Area Medical Center received the WHA 2019 Advocacy All-Star Award at WHA’s annual Advocacy Day in Madison. Bob Van Meeteren, President and CEO of Reedsburg Area Medical Center and 2018 chair of the WHA Board of Directors, accepted this award before nearly 1,000 hospital supporters at Advocacy Day.

“Reedsburg Area Medical Center has been an outstanding advocacy partner with WHA,” said Eric Borgerding, WHA President and CEO. “We are a successful advocacy organization because of proactive policy development, effective lobbying, and actively engaged members like Reedsburg Area Medical Center.”

Van Meeteren acknowledged the support of Reedsburg Area Medical Center’s Board of Directors and senior administrative team in making the organization’s advocacy work possible. Several members of the board and senior team were in attendance.

“When I was told Reedsburg Area Medical Center would be receiving this award, I thought about everything that goes into advocacy. The fact that we have 1,000 people that attend this event each year, the many productive trips to Washington, D.C., the times we have hosted the Governor or legislators at our WHA meetings, how we are asked to testify in front of various legislative committees, the letters we are asked to review and sign…and the list goes on. None of this advocacy would be possible without the extremely talented team at WHA,” said Van Meeteren.

Reedsburg Area Medical Center actively participates on WHA’s Board, councils and work groups, attends advocacy events in Madison and Washington, D.C., engages directly with state and federal lawmakers back in their districts, and has shown strong growth in the number of new Hospitals Education & Advocacy Team (HEAT) members - a statewide network designed to facilitate grassroots involvement on state and federal issues that impact Wisconsin’s hospitals.


Health Care Advocate Award:  presented in recognition of partnership with WHA in supporting issues that enable the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care in Wisconsin.

Senator Janis Ringhand Receives 2019 Health Care Advocate of the Year Award

State Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) was honored with WHA’s annual Health Care Advocate of the Year award. Tim McKevett, WHA Board member and Beloit Health System President and CEO, presented this year’s award to Ringhand at WHA’s Advocacy Day event in Madison in recognition of her support for policies that enable the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care in Wisconsin.

“We are grateful to have such a strong supporter of hospitals in the Wisconsin State Senate. Janis’ common-sense approach to policy-making has made her an important partner with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and someone I have enjoyed working with over the years,” said McKevett. “We commend and thank Janis for her leadership on health care policy and strong partnership with Wisconsin hospitals.”

During her tenure in the Legislature, Ringhand has supported important health care policies including:
• Co-authoring legislation to address concerns regarding the process for transporting
patients in mental health crisis from a hospital emergency department to another care setting. The legislation received bipartisan support in the state legislature and was signed into law last spring as 2017 Wisconsin Act 140.
• Advancing Wisconsin health care workforce training programs for rural communities, reimbursement increases for high-Medicaid hospitals and innovative care delivery pilot programs to better utilize Medicaid resources.
• Joining a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to support a very important piece of legislation clarifying Wisconsin’s informed consent standard for physicians while in the State Assembly.


WHA Trustee Award:  honors trustees of WHA member organizations who have made an exemplary commitment to their hospital and to the community they serve.

Bay Area Medical Center’s Kalhoefer recognized as 2018 WHA Trustee of the Year

Charles “Chuck” Kalhoefer received the 2018 WHA Trustee of the Year Award at a ceremony held on February 6 at the Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette.  Kalhoefer joined the BAMC Board in 1997 and has served continuously since that time.  In 2014, when BAMC affiliated with Aurora Health Care, a new oversight board was created to represent BAMC’s interests in the affiliation.  Kalhoefer was appointed to that new board and continues to serve as its chairperson.

In nominating Kalhoefer, CEO Ed Harding noted that he was instrumental in advocating for finding a strategic partner to help build a new medical center and position BAMC to meet the area’s present and future health care needs.   Harding said, “If not for Chuck’s wisdom of encouraging BAMC to consider a broader vision, BAMC would most likely still be a stand-alone, independent organization, vulnerable to the growing economic and competitive threats in the health care field.” 
In presenting the award, WHA Vice President for Policy Development Laura Rose similarly recognized Kalhoefer for his long and distinguished career of board volunteerism at BAMC, as well as his vision in helping move the organization forward to a robust and sustainable future.


WHA Trustee Award:  honors trustees of WHA member organizations who have made an exemplary commitment to their hospital and to the community they serve. 

WHA 2018 Trustee Award Goes to Rusk County Memorial Hospital Board Member

WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding recently presented David Willingham of Rusk County Memorial Hospital with the WHA Trustee of the Year Award. Willingham was nominated by Rusk County Memorial Hospital CEO Jeff Euclide.

“Dave is a dedicated, knowledgeable advocate and community leader and a tremendous partner with WHA,” said Borgerding. “Wisconsin is known for its high-quality, high-value health care, and Dave’s leadership helps ensure the citizens of Rusk County have access to quality care in their community.”

Willingham has been on Rusk County Memorial Hospital's Board of Trustees since 2016, but attended the Board's annual strategic planning sessions even before he became a Trustee. He is an active member of the hospital’s quality improvement team and often shares those initiatives and results with the Board.


WHA Lifetime Achievement Award:  given to a member in recognition of leadership, service and partnership with WHA in advocating for better health care for Wisconsin communities.

Jerry Worrick Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

The President and CEO of Door County Medical Center, Gerald “Jerry” Worrick, was honored with WHA’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Rural Health conference.  Door County Medical Center is a critical access facility serving approximately 29,000 people from Door and Kewaunee counties year-round. That number explodes when more than 1.25 million visitors descend upon Door County every summer.

Worrick received the award in recognition of his leadership, service, and partnership with WHA in advocating for better health care for Wisconsin communities—serving a combined 45 years for WHA.  He served on the WHA Board for eight years, including serving as chair in 2003.  Worrick has been part of the Nominating and Awards, Council on Public Policy, the Property, Financial Solutions and Advocacy committees—and last but certainly not least, on the Council on Rural Health for 14 years.