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Editor's Note: Annual awards recognize notable efforts in health care

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In the Springfield Business Journal newsroom, we often remind ourselves that amid coverage of mergers, acquisitions and profits or losses, when it comes down to it, business is really about people.

While readers are hungry for information and facts, we know they really connect with the people who are making things happen, whether they’re familiar faces or new to the crowd.

There are some parallels to the health care industry, which is likely viewed by some as scary, institutional or cold and devoid of emotion.

But once again, at the root of the industry are the people who make sure patients are taken care of every day.

That’s where the Salute to Health Care and Health Care Champions Awards, presented by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and SBJ, respectively, come into play.

There’s no doubt that health care is big business in the Ozarks, providing thousands of jobs and making Springfield a bit of a go-to regional hub for care. But with expansion of physical facilities and new treatments emerging quickly – not to mention fears and uncertainty about health reform – it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that what makes health care work are the people involved.

The profiles on the following pages, however, should allay those fears, because these awards bring to the forefront 15 individuals who are motivated by concern for others to advance the health care industry. The chamber’s annual Salute to Health Care awards honor three physicians – Ruth Grant, Gary Hoos and Bharat Shah – who aren’t just doctors providing hands-on care. Shah is a doctor-turned-inventor, while Hoos and Grant have been key players in the fight against cancer. And Grant can add to her accomplishments serving as a pioneer in the medical field for female physicians.

This year’s Health Care Champion Awards are presented in four categories: clinic administrators, EMTs, nurse practitioners and patient advocates – all pivotal roles in the delivery of health care. The categories change annually, but I think you’ll agree that these folks are deserving of recognition.

There are some common themes for all of the honorees. Many of them were drawn to their careers by childhood experiences or because they feel they are called by God to be engaged in the work they do. This is not a group of fearful people. They’re willing to try innovative treatments, to look at new ways of delivering care and to take risks, so long as those risks get them to the end goal of improving health care and taking better care of patients.

And when it comes down to it, that’s really what health care is all about. Please join me and the entire staff of SBJ in celebrating the accomplishments of the Salute to Health Care honorees and Health Care Champions.

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Salute to Health Care.[[In-content Ad]]

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