AHA Solutions, Inc., and ASHHRA Announce the 2015 Gary Willis Leadership Award Winners

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Prestigious Award Honors HR Professionals Who Achieve Operational Excellence in Health Care

AHA Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA), and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) today announce the 2015 Gary Willis Leadership (GWL) Award winners. This year’s honorees are Tina Boeckenstedt, who won for her work as the human resource client services manager for Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colo., and Tracy Braman, SPHR, human resources executive director for Lakeland Health in Saint Joseph, Mich.

The GWL Award recognizes managers and directors who have made outstanding leadership and operations contributions to their organizations. In addition, it honors those who have demonstrated a commitment to participating in continuous educational opportunities that promote operational excellence. The GWL Award honors the memory of Gary Willis, an ASHHRA board member, who passed away in 2010 after a battle with cancer.

“Both AHA Solutions and ASHHRA applaud Tina and Tracy’s contributions to the health care field,” said Anthony J. Burke, senior vice president of the AHA and president and CEO of AHA Solutions, Inc. “Their leadership has deeply benefited both their organizations and the communities they serve.”

ASHHRA Executive Director Dawn Rose, JD, PHR, said, “Gary Willis was a leader and role model. The aim of the GWL Award is to inspire others to uphold his commitment to advancing the health care human resources field. Through their vision, courage and significant accomplishments, the individuals honored with the Award have proven they share Gary’s passion and dedication. They should be extremely proud.”

Tina Boeckenstedt
When Boeckenstedt was 10 years old, a community hospital recommended her leg be amputated due to a bone marrow staph infection. The specialized care she received after transferring to a children’s hospital in Denver not only saved her leg, but inspired her to enter her now 22-year career in health care human resources. Boeckenstedt recently joined Boulder Community Health in South Boulder, Colo., as human resources director. In her prior role at Children’s Hospital Colorado, during which she received her award nomination, she collaborated with leaders across the organization to develop and implement a strategy to improve operations across seven specialized service lines. As a result, employee engagement scores within these service lines increased — attaining the Moorhead Employee Engagement Survey’s Tier 1 — and all lines achieved a U.S. News and World Report national ranking.

“As a strong partner in establishing our hospital’s Service Line Strategy, Tina helped significantly enhance our operations and improve service to patients,” said Kanayo Keri, MST, MHA, administrator, Digestive Health Institute and Breathing Institute, Children’s Hospital Colorado. “Holding herself to high personal standards, she has demonstrated excellent communication and teamwork skills and a high level of emotional intelligence, a valued trait in health care leadership.”

“I was thrilled and honored to learn I won the Gary Willis Leadership Award,” said Boeckenstedt. “Health care HR has kept me engaged for 22 years because it’s purposeful, meaningful, challenging work that offers an endless opportunity to create and build programs that support the employees who care for the patient,” said Boeckenstedt. “And I was so excited to learn that Gary Willis was an HR leader in a children’s hospital as well, helping to make health care better through human resources.”

Tracy Braman
Braman’s 15 years of human resources experience has included roles of increasing responsibility in the corporate, nonprofit and health care fields. At Lakeland Health, she has successfully created a culture of health by leading a holistic wellness program that has helped the organization improve the health of its workforce while also managing the cost of its self-insured benefit plan. To inspire and educate associates to lead better, healthier lives, Braman launched an ongoing communication program that includes highlighting individuals’ success stories. She also collaborates with key internal and external stakeholders to ensure the program remains efficient, effective and measurable. In addition, Braman is co-chair of Lakeland’s Diversity Advisory Council and is rolling out a School at Work program to foster associates’ development.

“Just like the late Gary Willis, Tracy has a passion for making a difference in the field of human resources,” said Norma Tirado, vice president of HR, IT and organizational transformation, Lakeland Health. “Under Tracy’s leadership, Lakeland has won “Excellence in Engagement” awards from the Advisory Company in each of the last three years. A caring, compassionate and capable HR leader, she’s also making a difference in our community through her community involvement.”

“Health care’s transformation is making it an exciting time for HR, because we’ve solidified our seat at the table to now really be able to make a difference in health care,” Braman said. “My advice for new and advancing HR professionals is to never put your role in a box. Be open to any opportunity, and you’ll grow as a person and as a professional. That’s why I’m so excited this award is giving me the opportunity to network, collaborate and share best practices with other passionate colleagues across the nation at the ASHHRA conference.”

Applications for the 2016 GWL Award can be submitted online beginning January 2016 at http://www.aha-solutions.org or http://www.ashhra.org.

About the AHA
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, who include nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. Visit http://www.aha.org to learn more.

Founded in 1964, ASHHRA is a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and has more than 3100 members nationwide. It leads the way for members to become more effective, valued, and credible leaders in health care human resources. As the foremost authority in health care human resources, it provides timely and critical support through research, learning and knowledge sharing, professional development, products and resources, and provides opportunities for networking and collaboration. For more information about ASHHRA, visit our website at http://www.ashhra.org.

About AHA Solutions, Inc.
AHA Solutions, Inc. is a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association dedicated to serving member hospitals by helping them identify the optimal solutions to their most pressing market challenges. Through the AHA Endorsement, along with educational programs featuring peers and industry experts, AHA Solutions supports the decision-making process for hospitals looking for partners to help with clinical integration, information technology, talent management, cultural transformation, financial sustainability, the patient flow and other key challenges.

AHA Solutions is proud to reinvest its profits in the AHA Mission: To advance the health of individuals and communities. For more information, contact AHA Solutions at 800.242.4677 or visit http://www.aha-solutions.org. Also connect with us via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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Marie Watteau