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Picking the Main Line's Health Care Heroes with Neumann University's Kathleen Hoover

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Thank heaven for Kathleen Hoover. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect as we began the selection process for our first Healthcare Heroes awards. When I joined Living Well editor Melissa Jacobs at Hoover’s Neumann University office on a chilly March day, the dean of the school’s Division of Nursing and Health Sciences had iced tea and tuna salad sandwiches waiting for us—but we knew this would be a working lunch.

The task at hand: review 50-some worthy Healthcare Heroes candidates, all of them nominated by their colleagues at the hospitals, private facilities and health systems for which they work. Within a few hours, like it or not, that field had to narrow significantly. Those “winners” are featured in this issue, and they will be honored on May 9 at a luncheon in Neumann’s Mirenda Center.

Once the screening commenced, it didn’t take long for Hoover’s no-nonsense approach and considerable experience in the field to show through. Though we all had equal input into the selection process, she quickly became the voice of reason—albeit with a soft touch. Many of the stories we came across were compelling: An off-duty physician’s assistant saves a boy from drowning; a recreational therapist orchestrates a wedding anniversary dinner for a burn patient and his wife; a nurse pays for a recently discharged cancer patient’s prescription out of her own pocket.

Alas, none of those individuals made the cut. The bar needed to be higher. The stories above, while selfless, were examples of healthcare professionals largely doing what they’re trained to do. Our top picks had to show that they’ve transcended their job descriptions and made inroads into other areas, whether it’s community outreach, assuming leadership roles in organizations that advance their profession, or other proactive pursuits.

That in mind, we’re excited about our 2013 Healthcare Heroes. Each is a wholly unique force to be reckoned with. For more information on our Healthcare Heroes event, click here.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Anticipating the kickoff of the Main Line’s summer equestrian season with the Radnor Hunt Races on May 18, senior writer J.F. Pirro reports on the drama unfolding at some local breeding farms. “Cash Crop” documents 10 years of change in the state’s racehorse industry and its adverse impact on smaller thoroughbred operations in Chester County. “I spent two-plus years tracking the changes in Pennsylvania’s thoroughbred industry,” says Pirro. “What strikes me the most is the inequity that’s now been bred into the industry. Any time money is involved, it can taint a tried-and-true thing, a natural thing, a traditional thing.”

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