WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A physician, an administrator and a volunteer from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have all been named Health Care Heroes by The Business Journal. The awards are presented annually to honor deserving individuals, organizations and companies involved in health care in the Triad.
The Wake Forest Baptist winners and their awards were Ashok K. Hemal, M.D., professor of urology, “Innovator Award," Donny C. Lambeth, interim president and chief operating officer of N.C. Baptist Hospital (NCBH), “Executive Award,” and Frank Hensley, Jr., “Volunteer Award.”
Hemal is widely recognized worldwide for his pioneering work in the field of minimally invasive surgery, including robotic assisted surgery. He helped develop the initial protocols for these procedures that are currently used by most urologists nationwide for surgeries of the prostate, bladder, ureter and kidney.
“Our community’s great fortune is to have a physician the caliber of Dr. Hemal here in the Triad,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., chairman of the Department of Urology. “His impact as an innovator has been tremendous because he has changed the way urologic surgeons around the world operate.”
Hemal is director of the Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery Program at Wake Forest Baptist. He received his medical degrees and completed residencies in surgery and urology from Medical College, Gwalior, India, and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. He studied robotics at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich. He is a fellow in the International College of Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons and the National Academy of Medical Sciences.
Under the leadership of Lambeth, NCBH has become a national leader in patient satisfaction, today ranking in the 99th percentile of hospitals across the U.S. in the 600-bed category and in the 93rd percentile of all hospitals nationwide as measured by Press Ganey, Corp.
Lambeth has led the hospital to be an early adopter of quality initiatives and has established sensitive measures to monitor clinical performance as it relates to patient safety. Wake Forest Baptist was among only about one-third of U.S. hospitals to commit to the first six goals introduced by the national Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).
Other achievements include building innovative community alliances across the region to improve health care delivery.
Lambeth has led NCBH since 2007 as its interim president. He was named COO in 1999 and chief financial officer in 1988, having launched his career as an accountant for the hospital 36 years ago. Lambeth, a native of Forsyth County, graduated from High Point University and earned his M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. He was nominated for the award by the chair of the Medical Center’s Board of Trustees, Steve Robertson, of Mocksville.
Hensley is a frequent volunteer at the Wake Forest Baptist Burn Unit. Hensley was burned in the Flat Rock Elementary School fire on February 22, 1957, and was treated at NCBH along with five other children who were severely burned. He was burned on 50 percent of his body and spent 244 initial days in the hospital.
In 2006, Hensley and two other Flat Rock burn victims, Marsha Semones Lowe and Tamela Hiatt Midkiff, started the first and only structured volunteer peer support program for burn survivors in North Carolina called the “Victim to Victor” program. The program’s mission is to provide North Carolina residents affected by burn trauma the resources necessary to move from the status of victim to victor.
Hensley and his wife, Linda, are both trained as S.O.A.R (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery) counselors and spend countless hours volunteering at the Wake Forest Baptist Burn Unit and the Jaycee Burn Unit in Chapel Hill. Hensley is also the associate pastor for Pastoral Care at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point.
An anonymous panel of five judges selected the winners, with each judge scoring candidates based only on the details included in the nomination forms. The judges’ scores were tallied to determine one winner in each category.
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (www.wfubmc.edu) is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Wake Forest University Physicians, and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine and Piedmont Triad Research Park. The system comprises 1,154 acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and has been ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report since 1993. Wake Forest Baptist is ranked 32nd in the nation by America’s Top Doctors for the number of its doctors considered best by their peers. The institution ranks in the top third in funding by the National Institutes of Health and fourth in the Southeast in revenues from its licensed intellectual property.