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Move Over Golden Globes, We're Honoring Health Workers

By Jennifer James, Mom Bloggers for Social Good

Note: This post original appeared in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Blog Impatient Optimists

Yesterday in Laguna Nigel, California, nine extraordinary US-based health workers were presented with REAL Awards honors at the inaugural Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit hosted by the Masimo Foundation, and attended by former president Bill Clinton. The REAL Awards were created this year by Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition to recognize and honor the lifesaving work of dedicated health workers not only globally, but also in the United States.

"During Hollywood’s awards season, our attention tends to focus on honoring entertainers," said Mary Beth Powers, chief of the newborn and child survival campaign at Save the Children. "This awards program puts a new twist on this phenomenon. It gives Americans a chance to celebrate something deeply honorable—the lifesaving work of countless men and women on the frontlines of healthcare."   The REAL Awards honors health workers from a variety of disciplines from newborn and mother care to chronic disease care. Each of the REAL Awards winners went through a public nomination period and online voting process.

Here are last night's winners:

Newborn and Mother Care:  Dr. Joseph Tate (Norcross, Georgia)  

Dr. Tate is an inspirational physician who believes in a woman’s ability to birth. After becoming an engineer he felt a calling to take on another career so he went back to school at Yale University Medical School and became a Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He currently runs his own practice, as well as working at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. When Dr. Tate isn’t working he spends his time with his wife living in Norcross, GA.

Newborn and Mother Care: Melissa Courtney (Lexington, Kentucky)

Melissa has been practicing in Women's Health for the past 14 years. She started as a Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse in Lexington. She then returned to school in 2001. She graduated with a Post Master's Certificate in Nurse Midwifery from University of Cincinnati and Master's Degree of Nursing specializing in Women's Health Nurse Practitioner from University of Kentucky, and then went on to create WomanKind Midwives in Lexington, KY. She truly loves what she does and feels very fortunate to have discovered the career she feels she was meant to do. She feels it is a privilege. She believes a woman should be able to work with her provider in partnership in making her health care decisions. Besides her career, she is happily married and a mother of three teenage children that she truly enjoys.

Pediatric Care: Dr. William Novick (Memphis, Tennessee)  

Dr. William Novick is one of the world's leading pediatric cardiac surgeons. He founded the International Children's Heart Foundation, an organization that has operated on thousands of children completely free of charge over the past 20 years in 30 different countries. As part of his “Babyheart” medical missions, Dr. Novick also trains doctors and staff in the countries he travels in order to create self-sustaining pediatric heart programs.

Pediatric Care: Dr. Robert Clifford (Charleston, South Carolina)

Dr. Robert Clifford grew up in Charleston, SC. After graduating Furman University, Robert completed medical school and pediatric residency training at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Dr. Clifford joined the practice in 1999 and is on the clinical teaching faculty at MUSC. He currently serves as the Chairman of Pediatrics at both Roper and St. Francis Hospitals. Dr. Clifford is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Clifford is involved in his church and in the community. He serves as an elder and as worship leader at Calvary Lutheran Church and is actively involved in short-term medical mission work. Over the past several years, he has led medical teams into Thailand, Burma, Jordan and Iraq with Remember – a Charleston-based organization whose ministry is to the persecuted church.

General Health Worker: Kathryn M. Tschiegg (Orrville, Ohio)  

Her last month as a Peace Corps nurse in Honduras, Kathy Tschiegg witnessed the unnecessary deaths of 31 children under 4yr old. She founded Central American Medical Outreach in 1993 which provides over 150,000 services annually. CAMO programs operate daily in areas of prenatal care, cancer detection, prosthetics, NICU, dental, eye, neurosurgery and other diagnostic and treatments to the poor underserved of Honduras. Kathy's determination has saved thousands of lives throughout the years.

At-Home Care: Rhonda Dixon (West Liberty, Kentucky)

Rhonda Dixon is the Director of an at-home health agency in West Liberty, Kentucky. On March 2, 2012, a tornado leveled almost the entire town of West Liberty. Rhonda's actions enabled her agency to replenish destroyed supplies, laptops, patient records, and vehicles within 48 hours. Her agency did not miss a regularly scheduled visit and was able to accept new patients the first business day after the tornado. She devoted her time and energy to her patients when she could have simply quit.

Emergency Care: Donn Kropp (Redding, California)

In 2001 Donn started out as a new RN in an emergency department where he relentlessly helped those in need. His valuable emergency & trauma experience has taken him on several trips around the globe to help in relief efforts after cataclysmic events.e.g, Kashmir, India earthquake and Haiti. Today, Donn has focused his attention on education & developed an inspiring continuing education website: His experience & passion for health & decreasing disease & death is inspiring.

Hospice Care: Carri Butcher (Flippin, Arkansas)  

Carri Butcher is a truly dedicated hospice worker in the Ozark region of Arkansas. She works for Hospice of the Ozarks, whose mission is stated as: …to improve the quality of life for people in the last phases of an incurable illness and their family members by providing a high level of comprehensive care. Carri embodies this mission in everything she does. Carri has also been to Romania and Nicaragua many times for medical missions. She is well known in her community as a truly dedicated hospice worker who cares about people, not patients.

Chronic Disease Care: Dr. Beth Baughman DuPree, MD (Southampton , Pennsylvania)  

Dr. DuPree strongly urges her patients to integrate healing therapies, whether it is through clinical psychological therapy, spiritual assistance, grief counseling, exercise programs, reflexology, nutritional counseling, Reiki, Yoga, or massage. In fact, she herself is a Master-Level Reiki practitioner. Because of her strong dedication to patients with cancer, Dr. DuPree established a non-profit organization called The Healing Consciousness Foundation in 2007. The foundation funds holistic and wellness therapies for women and men living with a breast cancer diagnosis. Dr. DuPree, who received her medical degree from Hahnemann University in 1987, has written a book entitled The Healing Consciousness: A Doctor’s Journey to Healing. It is the true story of her journey as a surgeon who awakens to the healer that resides within her. She is a prominent keynote speaker at many national events, primarily addressing women’s health issues, breast cancer, healing, and wellness. Dr DuPree is often featured in live tele-surgeries and web-ex’s to educate physicians and healthcare professionals on state-of-the-art breast care issues. She travels throughout the United States training other physicians in breast ultrasound and intervention, hoping to promote a higher quality of care for all women and men requiring breast surgery. A native of York, Pennsylvania, Dr. DuPree lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with her husband Joe and their two sons.

Learn more about The REAL Awards at