CHAMPS Awards

CHAMPS is pleased to recognize our 2020 CHAMPS Awards winners, each significant for their outstanding achievements, leadership, and contributions to their communities.

For the past 20+ years, CHAMPS has presented awards to staff and board members of Region VIII Health Centers and related organizations to recognize exceptional contributions to the health center community. This has allowed CHAMPS to honor numerous highly deserving individuals from across the region for their exceptional advocacy, leadership, and dedication to the health center mission. Please read on for more information about this year’s awardees, and for lists of prior awardees in each category.

The 2020 CHAMPS Awardees were honored at a live, online ceremony immediately preceding the Annual CHAMPS Board of Directors meeting on Friday, November 20, 2020.

Please enjoy a welcome message about this year’s awards from CHAMPS President Keith Horwood, MD, and CHAMPS Executive Director Julie Hulstein:

Questions about the 2020 CHAMPS Awards? Please contact the CHAMPS Workforce Development and Member Services Director.

Please click or scroll down for more information about each award category, and this year’s awardees:
Exceptional Administrative Leadership Award
Exceptional Board Leadership Award
Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award
John Mengenhausen Presidential Award
Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved Award
Outstanding Emergency Response Leadership Award
Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award
Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award
Prior CHAMPS Awardees

Exceptional Administrative Leadership Award

2020 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Breann Streck, Senior Director of Operations, RiverStone Health, MT
For Her Outstanding Patient Advocacy & Commitment to the CHC Mission

Breann is determined in her support of patient engagement and empowerment and is committed to lifting up the underserved in the community and improving the wellness of others. Please click HERE for Breann’s nomination statement.

BreannStreck

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
– Buddha

Exceptional Board Leadership Award

2020 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL BOARD LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Marge Gavenda, Board Secretary and Development Committee Chair, Summit Community Care Clinic, CO
In Recognition of Her Service to Summit Community Care Clinic & the Medically Underserved

Marge is simply one of those exceptional board members who selflessly gives her time, energy, heart, and soul to Summit Community Care Clinic. Please click HERE for Marge’s nomination statement.

Marge Gavenda

 “Dream more than others think practical…Expect more than others think possible.”
– Howard Schultz

Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award

2020 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL CLINICAL LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Chad Hess PA-C, Associate Medical Director, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO
In Recognition of His Commitment to Clinical Excellence & Providing Quality Health Care for All

Chad takes pride not only in delivering quality care to his patients, but also in helping his organization continuously improve and his staff practice at the top of their professions. Please click HERE for Chad’s nomination statement.

Chad Hess

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

John Mengenhausen Presidential Award

The CHAMPS Presidential Award recognizes individuals for their contributions to CHAMPS governance and leadership. In 2020, this award was renamed the CHAMPS John Mengenhausen Presidential Award in honor of John Mengenhausen, the Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Health Care, Inc. (SD). John was a CHAMPS founder and the first President of CHAMPS in 1985 and held the role of CHAMPS President for a combined seven years. Click HERE for more information about this renamed award.

2020 CHAMPS JOHN MENGENHAUSEN PRESIDENTAL AWARDEE:

Keith Horwood, MD, Associate Medical Director, Community Health Centers, Inc., UT
For His Commitment & Vision with Sincere Appreciation for His Steadfast Leadership

Dr. Horwood has dedicated his career to the Community Health Center Movement making countless contributions locally, regionally, and nationally. Please click HERE for Keith’s nomination statement.

Keith Horwood

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
– Aristotle

Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved Award

2020 CHAMPS OUTSTANDING ADVOCATE OF THE UNDERSERVED AWARDEE:

Juanita Sapp, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Heritage Health Center, WY
For Her Dedication to Advocating for & Providing Services to Vulnerable & Underserved Populations

Dr. Sapp advocates for health care for all people, especially those in vulnerable and underserved populations, and she goes above and beyond for her patients and community, resolutely working to improve their health and wellbeing. Please click HERE for Dr. Sapp’s nomination statement.

Juanita Sapp

“As we lose ourselves in the service of others we discover our own lives and our own happiness.”
– Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Outstanding Emergency Response Leadership Award

2020 CHAMPS OUTSTANDING EMERGENCY RESPONSE LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Debby Myers, RDH, Infection Prevention/Control Manager, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
For Her Dedication to Infectious Disease Control & Ensuring Patient & Staff Safety

Debby is passionate about infection control and has worked tirelessly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of staff and patients. Please click HERE for Debby’s nomination statement.

Debby Myers

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
– Booker T. Washington

Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award

2020 CHAMPS OUTSTANDING LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Tracy Johnson, PhD, Colorado State Medicaid Director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, CO
For Championing Accessible, Affordable, Quality Health Care for All

Dr. Johnson has made a big impact for Colorado health centers, working to reduce barriers to high quality care and minimizing the impacts of COVID-19 on Medicaid recipients and providers. Please click HERE for Tracy’s nomination statement.

Tracy Johnson

“Without service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.”
– Dr. Dorothy Height

Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award

The Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award was created by the CHAMPS Executive Committee in 2013 in honor of Stanley J. “Jerry” Brasher, a CHAMPS founder and Chief Executive Officer of Salud Family Health Centers, CO, to honor individuals who have dedicated their careers to solving the problems of health, poverty, and human rights and who have contributed toward the mission and recognition of community and migrant health centers in the Mountain/Plains States.

2020 CHAMPS STANLEY J. BRASHER LEGACY AWARDEE:

John Mengenhausen, Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD
For His Dedication to Advancing the Mission & Recognition of Community Health Centers in the Mountain/Plains States

John has devoted nearly four decades to the Health Center Movement, acting as the founding President of CHAMPS, growing Horizon Health Care into one of the largest and most respected rural FQHCs in the nation, and serving on the NACHC Board and as NACHC Chair. Please click HERE for the entire nomination statement.

John Mengenhausen

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prior CHAMPS Awardees

PRIOR EXCEPTIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEES:

  • 2019: Angela Green, PsyD, STRIDE Community Health Center, CO
  • 2018: Christina Konechne, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 2017: Rebecca McCay, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2016: Maria Clemons, Northwest Community Health Center, MT
  • 2015: Michael Welch, DO, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2014: Robert “Jay” Brooke, High Plains Community Health Center, CO
  • 2013: Nancy Taylor, RiverStone Health, MT
  • 2012: Pam Locken, Prairie Community Health, SD
  • 2011: Patricia Patrón, Family HealthCare Center, ND
  • 2010: Paul Melinkovich, MD, Denver Health Community Health Services, CO
  • 2009: Ramona Larsen, Wayne Community Health Center, UT
  • 2008: Mitzi Moran, Sunrise Community Health, Inc., CO
  • 2007: Byron Geer, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO
  • 2006: LaVal B. Jensen, Bear Lake Community Health Center, UT
  • 2006: Dianne Smith, Dove Creek Community Health Clinic, CO
  • 2005: Elizabeth “Bette” Vierra, Association for Utah Community Health, UT
  • 2004: Robert “Jay” Brooke, High Plains Community Health Center, CO
  • 2004: Gina Flanagan, Wayne Community Health Center, UT
  • 2003: Donald Moore, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO

PRIOR EXCEPTIONAL BOARD LEADERSHIP AWARDEES:

  • 2019: Tom Bibbey, Heritage Health Center, WY
  • 2018: Lionel Tapia, MD, RiverStone Health, MT
  • 2017: Linda Hughes, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2016: Richard “Dick” Bair, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 2015: Melissa Robins, Wayne Community Health Center, UT
  • 2014: Kenneth Floyd, Denver Health Community Health Services, CO
  • 2013: Jen Knellinger, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2012: Frank Taylor and Wally Wesener, Metro Community Provider Network, CO
  • 2011: Doug Follick, Community Health Center of Central Wyoming, WY
  • 2010: Echo Petersen, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 2009: Elbert “Dean” Brown, Denver Health Community Health Services, CO
  • 2007: Caroline Sweiter, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2006: Carolyn Wenger, Yellowstone City-County Health Department, MT
  • 2005: Lewis Reyes, Clinica Campesina Family Health Services, CO
  • 2004: Daniel Hacking, Community Health Centers, Inc., UT
  • 2004: Michael Hurtado, DDS, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO
  • 2004: Jim Nybo, Cooperative Health Center, MT
  • 2003: Ivan McCourt, Carbon Medical Service Association, UT

PRIOR EXCEPTIONAL CLINICAL LEADERSHIP AWARDEES:

  • 2019: Jonathan Muther, PhD, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2018: Eva Poulson, DDS, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2017: Ricardo Velasquez, MD, Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc., CO
  • 2016: Elias Hernandez, MD, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2015: Chastity Dolbec, RN, BSN, Coal Country Community Health Center, ND
  • 2014: Keith Horwood, MD, Community Health Centers, Inc.
  • 2014: Stephen Stemm, DMD, Northland Community Health Center, ND
  • 2013: Lucy Loomis, MD, Denver Health Community Health Services, CO
  • 2012: Julie Wood, MD, Community HealthCare Center, Inc., MT
  • 2011: Hans Elzinga, MD, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2011: Carolyn Shepherd, MD, Clinica Family Health Services, CO
  • 2010: Martin Ellbogen, MD, Community Health Center of Central Wyoming, WY
  • 2009: Christopher Tonozzi, MD, Mountain Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2008: Ed Farrell, MD, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, CO
  • 2007: Noreen O’Shea, DO, Union County Health Foundation, SD
  • 2006: Barry Martin, MD, Metro Community Provider Network, CO
  • 2004: Cindy Erwin, PA-C, Rural Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 2004: Mike Welch, DO, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2003: James “Jim” McNeely, III, CFNP, Rural Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 2003: Douglas Moore, MD, MPH, Deering Community Health Center, MT

PRIOR PRESIDENTIAL AWARDEES:

  • 2016: John Mengenhausen, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 2013: Stanley J. Brasher, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2012: Kate McIvor, Cooperative Health Center, Inc., MT
  • 2007: Dan Euell, Denver Health Community Health Services, CO
  • 2006: Pam Locken, Prairie Community Health, SD
  • 2001: Thomas M. Olson, Sioux River Valley Community Health Center, SD

PRIOR OUTSTANDING ADVOCATE OF THE UNDERSERVED AWARDEES:

  • 2019: Anne Beer, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2018: Diana Bird, RN, HealthWorks, WY
  • 2017: Alan Pruhs, Association for Utah Community Health, UT
  • 2016: Delfina Merino, Summit Community Care Clinic, CO
  • 2015: Jennifer Morse, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2014: Greg Morris, PA-C, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2012: Janet Fieldman, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO
  • 2011: Donna Singer, Utah Navajo Health System, Inc., UT
  • 2010: Ricardo Velasquez, MD, Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc., CO
  • 2009: Dennis “Denny” Royal, Community Action Partnership of Natrona County, WY
  • 2008: Jennifer Thomas, Community Health Centers, Inc., UT
  • 2007: Julie Lehman, DO, Cheyenne Health and Wellness Center, WY
  • 2006: Ken Kamis, Cheyenne Health and Wellness Center, WY
  • 2005: Donna Singer, Utah Navajo Health Systems, Inc., UT
  • 2004: Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD, 4th Street Clinic, UT
  • 2003: Yvonne Jensen, Carbon Medical Service Association, UT

PRIOR OUTSTANDING LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEES: 

  • 2018: Daniel R. Hawkins, Jr., National Association of Community Health Centers
  • 2017: David Pump, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2016: Bob Marsalli, Montana Primary Care Association, MT
  • 2015: Pam McManus, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, CO
  • 2012: Kent Conrad, United States Senate, ND

PRIOR STANLEY J. BRASHER LEGACY AWARDEES: 

  • 2019: Julie Hulstein, Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States
  • 2018: Jeanne “Gigi” Darricades, Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc., CO
  • 2017: Eileen Flaherty, FNP, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2016: Dave Myers, Metro Community Provider Network, CO
  • 2015: Robert “Jay” Brooke, High Plains Community Health Center, CO
  • 2014: John McFarland, DDS, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
  • 2013: Pam Locken, Prairie Community Health, SD 

PRIOR AWARDEES IN ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES: 

  • 2015: Pam Locken, Prairie Community Health, SD – Mountain/Plains Legacy Award
  • 2005: Susan Jaworowski, Health Resources and Services Administration – Exceptional Federal Partnership Award
  • 2002: Alfred O’Brien, PA-C, Butte Community Health Center, MT – Mountain/Plains Clinical Network Award
  • 2002: Bill Buckles, Community Action of Laramie County, WY – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Dennis “Denny” Royal, Community Action Partnership of Natrona County, WY – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Gary Dunckel, DDS, Salud Family Health Centers, CO – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Jerry Wheeler, Health Resources and Services Administration – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Joel Maes, DDS, Cooperative Health Center, MT – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: John McFarland, DDS, Salud Family Health Centers, CO – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: John Smith, DMD, Cooperative Health Center, MT – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Mike Jones, DDS, Sunrise Community Health Center, CO – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Pete Leibig, Clinical Campesina Family Health Services, CO – CHAMPS Award
  • 2002: Rhina Rodriguez-Cernak, PA-C, Salud Family Health Centers, CO – CHAMPS Award
  • 2001: Arda Morrell, Wayne County Clinic, UT – CHAMPS Award
  • 2001: John Mengenhausen, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD – CHAMPS Award
  • 2001: Mary Lou DeZeeuw, Health Resources and Services Administration – CHAMPS Award
  • 2001: Stanley J. Brasher, Salud Family Health Centers, CO – CHAMPS Award
  • 2001: Vernon Maas, MD, Health Resources and Services Administration – CHAMPS Award