The W. Daniel Barker Leadership Award recognizes an active Georgia hospital/health system administrator or CEO who has made outstanding contributions to Georgia’s health care community. The award is presented at the annually at the GHA Summer Meeting in July. Judging is performed by an anonymous committee appointed by the GHA Chair. Applicants will be asked to establish that the person being nominated meets the following criteria for excellence in serving Georgia’s health care community:

Leadership and Commitment
Candidates are leaders not just in their hospitals or health systems, but in their entire communities. They are committed to working collaboratively with their communities, colleagues and state to improve the health care status of Georgia citizens.

The nominated individual has developed an innovative approach to health care delivery that exceeds the traditional services of community health care providers.

Meritorious Service
This person has routinely provided meritorious service on behalf of the Georgia health care industry and/or GHA.

How to Nominate

Nominations for the 2019 competition will open in January. Any GHA member may submit a nomination.

2018 Winner - Philip R. Wolfe, Gwinnett Medical Center

Phil Wolfe has served as president and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) since 2006. During his tenure, he has helped the hospital achieve significant milestones in terms of its growth and increased involvement in the community. The hospital’s outreach in the field of sports medicine is just one illustration of this development. In 2013, to better treat concussion injuries and provide more comprehensive sports rehabilitation, GMC opened the Concussion Institute. Just three years later, in 2016, GMC enhanced its care of children and young adults when it added pediatric services to its ImPACT (Internal Medicine Pre-operative Assessment Consultation and Treatment) testing, which GMC began offering in 2002. Pediatric patients would now be able to take advantage of the technology, which is a computerized neurocognitive assessment tool to help health care providers evaluate and manage concussions.

To elevate and extend access to sports medicine care and ensure compliance with Georgia Code, Wolfe helped orchestrate an agreement between GMC and Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) to provide sports medicine services. The agreement includes 19 traditional high schools and approximately 19,000 student athletes. GMC continued its expansion of concussion treatment when it unveiled a Care-A-Van in 2017, a mobile unit that includes a concussion education and baseline testing center, as well a full-service athletic training room equipped to provide a full range of care for sports-related injuries.

Throughout his leadership of GMC, Wolfe has recognized that providing quality care to the community is dependent on the hospital having enough staff to meet demands. Through his past involvement as a board member with Gwinnett Technical College (GTC), Wolfe not only helped ensure the quality education of future health care workers, but he also addressed the workforce shortage. He played an instrumental role in the creation of GTC’s Life Sciences Center, which provides the region’s most advance life and health sciences educational programming and facilities. Additionally, GMC relies on the talented graduates of GTC to grow its workforce and continue to provide care to the community.

In 2014, Wolfe and his leadership team established residency programs at GMC as another way to alleviate the workforce shortage and keep medical graduates in Georgia. This year, the hospital graduated its first full class of family and internal medicine residents. Thanks to the success of the program, it has received support from the Governor’s office, the Board of Regents and the Physicians Shortage Task force. “Phil Wolfe is an outstanding leader who ensures high-quality health care for the community and patients of Gwinnett Medical Center,” said GHA President and CEO Earl Rogers. “A forward-thinking leader, he looks toward the future by forming important partnerships to help alleviate the workforce shortage, which has reached a critical juncture in the health care delivery field. He is a most-deserving recipient of this award.”


Wolfe’s involvement in the community includes service on several boards, including Vizient MidSouth, the Georgia State University Healthcare Advisory Board, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Gwinnett College and the Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Advisory Board and Rotary. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Past Chairman's Award Winners

  • 2017 - Candice Saunders, WellStar Health System
  • 2016 - Cindy Turner, Bacon County Hospital
  • 2015 - Jerry Fulks, WellStar West Georgia Health
  • 2014 - Loy Howard, Tanner Health System
  • 2013 - Miles Mason, III, M.D., Gwinnett Medical Center
  • 2012 - Chuck Adams, Ty Cobb Healthcare System
  • 2011 - William T. Moore, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center
  • 2010 - Robert Maynard, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Inc.
  • 2009 - John S.  Bowling, Hamilton Health Care System
  • 2007 - David Seagraves, Phoebe Sumter Regional Hospital
  • 2006 - Benjamin H. Underwood, FACHE, Talbott Recovery Campus
  • 2004 - John A. Drew, FACHE, Athens Regional Medical Center
  • 2003 - John D. Henry, Sr., FACHE, Emory Healthcare
  • 2002 - Richard Hubbard, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Inc.
  • 2001 - Edward J. Fechtel, Jr., St. Mary's Health Care System
  • 2001 - John A. Ferguson, Jr., FACHE, Northeast Georgia Health System
  • 2000 - James Peak, Memorial Hospital and Manor
  • 1999 - Larry Sanders, FACHE, Columbus Regional Health
  • 1998 - Ken B. Beverly, Archbold Medical Center