2022 Hospital Heroes

Hospital Heroes

Gina Bagley, Registered Respiratory Therapist Manager - Bacon County Hopsital

Meryl Montgomery, ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® Director - Atrium Health Navicent

Sharon Pappas, Chief Nurse Executive - Emory Healthcare

Physician Hero

Dr. Stephen Chitty, Medical Director of Critical Care - Southeast Georgia Health System

Lifetime Achievement Winner

Mary Herrington, Admissions and Finance - Appling Healthcare System

Hospital Hero Awards

The GHA Hospital Hero Awards were established in 2005 as a way of recognizing the amazing hospital workers in our state. Each year, individuals are honored with this prestigious award. Over the years, GHA has honored doctors, nurses, volunteers, environmental services staff, dietary aides, social workers, emergency medical services staff, and more. The program awards heroic deeds as well as long-time service to the health care field.

These prestigious statewide awards not only recognize deserving individuals, but they are also a way to bring some great PR to your hospital. Award winners are honored with unique video presentations at a special luncheon later in the year.

Nominations for the 2023 Hospital Hero awards will open Jan. 1, 2023.


  • Hospital Hero Award: (Three winners) Honors any hospital employee or volunteer from a GHA-member hospital (except physicians since there is a separate category for them) is eligible. These are people who have tirelessly given time, talent and expertise to improve their organizations and the world around them. Retired board members are eligible.
  • Physician Hero Award: (One winner) Honors a physician who is employed by or has medical privileges at a GHA-member hospital. They have tirelessly given time, talent and expertise to improve their organizations and the world around them.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: (One winner) Honors a hospital employee from a GHA-member hospital who has dedicated a lifetime of service to the health care field (at least 30 years) and has made a significant impact in enhancing the operations and patient care of a hospital. Physicians are eligible for this award.

Nominees must be employed or have medical privileges at a hospital that is a member of the Georgia Hospital Association. A nominee can be a person who works at a patient's bedside - such as a physician or nurse - or may be someone who does not directly interact with patients but who helps enhance the overall patient experience, such as a professional who works in an administrative capacity or other areas such as dietary, environmental services or physical plant operations. Hospital board members and trustees are eligible. Please note that CEOs are not eligible as we have a separate award for them, the W. Daniel Barker Leadership Award.

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more.


A nomination may be submitted by any individual, including a person not affiliated with a Georgia hospital. 


Congratulations to our 2021 Hospital Heroes!

Hospital Heroes

Rae-Anne Pinckney, LMSW, Social Worker - Wellstar Kennestone Hospital

Sandy Wells, RN, Cardiac Rehab Coordinator - Liberty Regional Medical Center


Physician Hero

Mohsen Michael Akhlaghi, M.D., Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine - Southeast Georgia Health System


Lifetime Achievement Winner

Dawn Cole, RN, MSN, Retired Associate Chief Nursing Officer - Atrium Health Navicent


Check out our past winners.