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Health care salute expands to embrace champions

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It’s no secret that health care is a cornerstone of business in the Ozarks.

Health care is one of the key industries driving the local economy, with an impact of $4.5 billion and thousands of jobs.

In addition to appearing several times as an In Focus section on Springfield Business Journal’s annual editorial calendar, area health care news is covered in our news pages and at

For many years, SBJ has covered the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Salute to Health Care awards, launched in 1985 to recognize health care professionals and organizations for their
medical accomplishments and roles in the community.

This year, SBJ and the chamber are collaborating to kick things up a notch.

Our collaboration began several months ago, when leaders with the chamber and SBJ came together with a common goal of increasing awareness of the importance of health care in our community and economy, and acknowledging more of the people who work hard every day within health care.

The chamber is maintaining its tradition of presenting Salute to Health Care awards. This year, these awards go to Dr. José Dominguez, a colorectal and trauma surgeon at Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, and Dr. Meera Scarrow, an obstetrician-gynecologist at St. John’s Clinic and Jordan Valley Community Health Center, as well as a posthumous award for Trudi Scott, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Jordan Valley Community Health Center. (See box).

New to the annual Salute to Health Care event this year is recognition of the inaugural class of SBJ’s Health Care Champions. We’re honoring a group of 12 individuals, three each in the categories of: community or classroom educator; oncology nurse; physician’s assistant and pharmacist. We asked each nominee questions about their roles in health care delivery and patient care, as well as about their professional motivation and how they’ve championed care in their respective fields. While the chamber’s Salute to Health Care awards are chosen by a committee, an independent panel of judges selected the 2010 Health Care Champions based on nominees’ responses to our questions.

The accomplishments of all 15 honorees are sharing center stage at the Oct. 28 Salute to Health Care event, and the stories of these individuals are presented in this special publication. We think you’ll agree that these are the folks who are making a difference in Ozarks health care, sometimes front-and-center, but perhaps more often, quietly and behind the scenes.

The categories for Health Care Champions will change annually, and we’re keeping tabs on a growing list of possibilities, including nurse practitioners, dental hygienists and physical therapists. If you know of an individual who deserves to be a Health Care Champion, or if you have suggestions for future categories, please share them via e-mail at

With thousands of area residents working in the health care sector, we know that there are plenty of people whose efforts deserve special recognition. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the 15 people whose stories are presented in this booklet.

Features Editor Maria Hoover can be reached at
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