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

George Kerwin of Bellin Health Receives WHA 2018 Distinguished Service Award

WHA is proud to honor George Kerwin, President and CEO of Bellin Health System, with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award in honor of his distinguished career dedicated to excellence in health care management and community leadership.

Kerwin received the award at the Bellin Health All-Board Workshop at Lambeau Field in Green Bay October 23, 2018. In attendance were Bellin’s executive leaders, as well as representation from Bellin’s Board  of Directors, Oconto Hospital Board of Directors, Psychiatric Center Inc. Board of Directors, Health Partners Board of Directors, and Bellin College Board of Trustees.

“Wisconsin is known for its high-quality, affordable, accessible health care, and that is because we have leaders like George who make a difference not only in their own facility and community, but across the state,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “George’s leadership and vision have improved the health care industry, and his dedication has impacted colleagues statewide.”  Read more.


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.


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

Fort HealthCare Receives WHA's 2018 Advocacy All-Star Award

Mike Wallace, President/CEO of Fort HealthCare accepted the award before more than 1,000 hospital supporters participating in Advocacy Day 2018.

“We are active because it works,” Wallace said. “Public policy has a tremendous impact on our ability to provide high-quality health care, and if we are not engaged in the process, we are left behind. Through our efforts, we have learned lawmakers want to hear from us and welcome feedback on how particular issues affect the industry. We are honored to accept this award, and proud to work alongside, in collaboration with, all Wisconsin hospitals in this effort.”

In presenting the award, WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding said Fort HealthCare is an exemplary advocate on health care issues, both Federal and state. In his remarks, Borgerding highlighted Fort HealthCare’s engagement with the Wisconsin Congressional delegation during the debate over Obamacare and their meetings with state legislators in successfully opposing a medical fee schedule in Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation program.


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.

Sen. Howard Marklein Receives WHA’s 2018 Health Care Advocate Award

State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) received the WHA Health Care Advocate of the Year Award March 21 at WHA’s Advocacy Day event in Madison. Bob Van Meeteren, WHA Board chair and Mike Wallace, past WHA Board chair, presented this year’s award to Marklein in recognition of his partnership with WHA in supporting issues that enable the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care in Wisconsin. 

During his tenure in the Legislature, Marklein has advanced policies that reduce unnecessary regulatory burden for hospitals, streamlined licensure processes for physicians and nurses, strengthened health care workforce investments in rural communities and increased reimbursement for Wisconsin’s hospitals serving Medicaid patients. Marklein was the lead author of the Wisconsin Health Care Data Modernization Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in front of over 1,000 hospital advocates at WHA’s 2016 Advocacy Day.

“Throughout his time in the Legislature, Howard has championed several key laws in partnership with WHA that have helped reduce unnecessary regulatory burden for hospitals and provided additional resources to increase access for patients,” said Van Meeteren.

“I’m aware of the contribution you all make to not only the health care of our communities, but the economies of our communities,” said Marklein after receiving the award. “Thank you for this award but thank you, more importantly, for all that you do in your communities.”