CHAMPS Awards

For the past three decades, 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 the most recent year’s awardees, and for lists of prior awardees in each category.

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

Please click or scroll down for:
2021 CHAMPS Awardees
2022 CHAMPS Awards: Call for Nominations
Prior CHAMPS Awardees

2021 CHAMPS AWARDEES

CHAMPS is pleased to recognize our 2021 CHAMPS Awards winners, each significant for their outstanding achievements, leadership, and contributions to their communities.

The 2021 CHAMPS Awardees were honored at a live, online ceremony immediately preceding the Annual CHAMPS Board of Directors meeting on Monday, November 22, 2021.

Please click or scroll down for each award category and more information about 2021’s awardees:
Exceptional Administrative Leadership Award
Exceptional Board Leadership Award
Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award – Medical
Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award – Dental
Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved Award
Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award
Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award

Exceptional Administrative Leadership Award

The CHAMPS Exceptional Administrative Leadership Award honors individuals who demonstrate innovative and effective strategies that strengthen their health centers and communities.

2021 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Annette Franta, Chief Financial Officer, Mountain Family Health Centers, CO
For Her Generous & Decisive Leadership & Commitment to the CHC Mission

Annette paves a path for innovation and critical thinking, using practical and fact-based considerations to drive complex decisions and agreements. Please click HERE for Annette’s nomination statement.

The video of the presentation of Annette’s award and her acceptance remarks can be viewed below.

Annette Franta

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

Exceptional Board Leadership Award

The CHAMPS Exceptional Board Leadership Award recognizes health center board of directors members who exemplify dedication to and excellence within community-led governance.

2021 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL BOARD LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Jesus Tijerina, Board Chair, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
In Recognition of His Service to Salud Family Health Centers & Migrant & Seasonal Farmworker Populations

Jesus’ leadership on the board has been central to the organization’s phenomenal growth and success, and his guidance has been critical in the design and implementation of programs that meet the changing needs of farmworkers. Please click HERE for Jesus’s nomination statement.

The video of the presentation of Jesus’s award can be viewed below.

Jesus Tijerina

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

Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award

The CHAMPS Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award is bestowed upon clinical staff members who display outstanding service and commitment to improving the health and well-being of their patients and communities.

2021 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL CLINICAL LEADERSHIP AWARDEE – MEDICAL:

Megan Littlefield, MD, Chief Medical Officer, RiverStone Health, MT
In Recognition of Her Commitment to Excellence & Providing Quality Medical Care for All

Megan’s support for her team, creative proactive approach to managing patient populations, and mentorship of other health center leaders embodies the mission of community health. Please click HERE for Megan’s nomination statement.

A video of the presentation of Megan’s award and her acceptance remarks can be viewed below.

Megan Littlefield

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

Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award

The CHAMPS Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award is bestowed upon clinical staff members who display outstanding service and commitment to improving the health and well-being of their patients and communities.

2021 CHAMPS EXCEPTIONAL CLINICAL LEADERSHIP AWARDEE – DENTAL:

Karen Miller, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO
In Recognition of Her Compassionate Commitment to Dental Excellence

Karen is known as a champion for high standards, giving a strong voice to dental programming and guiding the strategic direction of the health center. Please click HERE for Karen’s nomination statement.

A video of the presentation of Karen’s award and her acceptance remarks can be viewed below.

Karen Miller

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

Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved Award

The CHAMPS Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved Award acknowledges those who champion the populations served by Region VIII health centers, going above and beyond to improve access and reduce disparities.

2021 CHAMPS OUTSTANDING ADVOCATE OF THE UNDERSERVED AWARDEE:

Shawna Yates, DO, Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Montana Community Health Center, MT
For Her Embodiment of the Community Health Center Mission & Care for Vulnerable Populations

Shawna utilizes her expertise as a medical provider and an executive leader to serve and enrich the vulnerable populations and health centers across the state of Montana. Please click HERE for Shawna’s nomination statement.

A video of the presentation of Shawna’s award and her acceptance remarks can be viewed below.

Shawna Yates

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

Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award

The CHAMPS Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award is presented to leaders in local, state, or national government, at a public or private agency, or within a health center or related organization, who make significant efforts to advance community health policy.

2021 CHAMPS OUTSTANDING LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEE:

Jan Cartwright, Retired, Executive Director, Wyoming Primary Care Association, WY
For Championing Accessible, Affordable, Quality Health Care for All

Jan has been a tireless advocate for Wyoming health centers and patients, effecting public policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Please click HERE for Jan’s nomination statement.

A video of the presentation of Jan’s award and her acceptance remarks can be viewed below.

Jan Cartwright

“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.

2021 CHAMPS STANLEY J. BRASHER LEGACY AWARDEE:

Don Gutstadt, PA-C, Retired, Vice President of Medical Services, Salud Family Health Centers, CO
For His Dedication to Patient Empowerment & Advocacy for Community Health Centers

Don, a committed provider and clinical leader, has devoted over three and a half decades to ensuring the highest quality of care for Salud patients. Please click HERE for Don’s nomination statement.

A video of the presentation of Don’s award and his acceptance remarks can be viewed below.

Don Gutstadt

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

2022 CHAMPS AWARDS: CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

The Call for Nominations for 2022 CHAMPS Awards is anticipated to open in early summer of 2022. Nominations are traditionally accepted in the following categories (although the categories may change):

  • Exceptional Administrative Leadership: The CHAMPS Exceptional Administrative Leadership Award honors individuals who demonstrate innovative and effective strategies that strengthen their health centers and communities.
  • Exceptional Board Leadership: The CHAMPS Exceptional Board Leadership Award recognizes health center board of directors members who exemplify dedication to and excellence within community-led governance.
  • Exceptional Clinical Leadership: The CHAMPS Exceptional Clinical Leadership Award is bestowed upon clinical staff members who display outstanding service and commitment to improving the health and well-being of their patients and communities.
  • Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved: The CHAMPS Outstanding Advocate of the Underserved Award acknowledges those who champion the populations served by Region VIII health centers, going above and beyond to improve access and reduce disparities.
  • Outstanding Legislative Leadership: The CHAMPS Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award is presented to leaders in local, state, or national government, at a public or private agency, or within a health center or related organization, who make significant efforts to advance community health policy.
  • Stanley J. Brasher Legacy: The CHAMPS Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award was created by the CHAMPS Executive Committee in 2013 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.

Awards will be presented during an Awards Ceremony typically held in conjunction with the CHAMPS Annual Board of Directors Meeting. The ceremony will either be held either in-person during the CHAMPS Annual Primary Care Conference or virtually in the weeks after the conference. More information about nomination requirements and the selection and recognition process, including a downloadable CHAMPS Awards Information and Nomination Form, will be posted by early summer 2022.

PRIOR CHAMPS AWARDEES

PRIOR EXCEPTIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARDEES:

  • 2020: Breann Streck, RiverStone Health, MT
  • 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:

  • 2020: Marge Gavenda, Summit Community Care Clinic, CO
  • 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:

  • 2020: Chad Hess, PA-C, Pueblo Community Health Center, CO
  • 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 OUTSTANDING ADVOCATE OF THE UNDERSERVED AWARDEES:

  • 2020: Juanita Sapp, MD, Heritage Health Center, WY
  • 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: 

  • 2020: Tracy Johnson, PhD, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, CO
  • 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: 

  • 2020: John Mengenhausen, Horizon Health Care, Inc., SD
  • 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 JOHN MENGENHAUSEN PRESIDENTIAL AWARDEES:

  • 2020: Keith Horwood, MD, Community Health Centers, Inc., UT

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 AWARDEES IN ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES: 

  • 2020: Debby Myers, RDH, Salud Family Health Centers, CO – Outstanding Emergency Response Leadership Award
  • 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