GHCC’s Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Dr. Priscilla Strom

Longstreet Clinic’s Dr. Priscilla Strom received the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s (GHCC) Lifetime Achievement Award at Wednesday’s 2024 Healthy Hall Awards Luncheon.

Dr. Strom was raised as a daughter of missionaries in India, and the impact of that upbringing has had a big influence on her, according to a chamber news release. Initially working as an Emergency Room physician and an Instructor in Surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, she went on to serve as a missionary physician for 10 years in Bangladesh. Upon her return, she began practicing as a general surgeon in Gainesville. (She pictured (r) with Longstreet Clinic’s Mimi Collins, who helped hand out the awards.)

Now in its seventh year, Healthy Hall Awards recognize outstanding healthcare professionals and spotlights those in the healthcare industry making a significant impact on our quality of life through excellence in health and wellness. 

Here is a list of all 14 winners and a synopsis of their achievements, including more about Dr. Strom.

Healthcare Education
Winner: Northeast Georgia Health System Center for Simulation and Innovation

Led by Director Jim Rinehart, the Northeast Georgia Health System Center for Simulation and Innovation promotes high-quality and safe patient care, enhances education, and develops research through simulation-based training and experiential learning. Through its training facility in Gainesville, as well as a Mobile Simulation Unit, groups from around the state can put their technical skills, knowledge, and critical thinking to practice in a safe, realistic learning environment. Earlier this year, the Center was accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and recognized by Becker’s Healthcare. Becker’s cited NGHS’ simulation center for partnering with high schools, colleges, EMS and law enforcement agencies to train more than 6,700 physicians, nurses, medical assistants, physical therapists, first responders, residents, fellows and college and high school students. 

Healthcare Information Technology
1st Winner: Jack Cheng, MD, Northeast Georgia Health System

Dr. Jack Cheng is a Family Medicine physician and the Medical Director of Informatics at Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS). Dr. Cheng has made significant contributions to both the clinical and Information Technology areas by leading Epic projects that have resulted in improved patient care delivery, and he serves as a critical piece of NGHS’ population health efforts. Dr. Cheng has been instrumental in advancing NGHS’ digital health posture in relation to video visits, e-visits, virtual on-demand, online scheduling, provider search, ratings and reviews, billing for MyChart messages, and most recently, advancing NGHS’ remote patient monitoring strategy.

Healthcare Information Technology
2nd Winner: Marsha Jones, Longstreet Clinic

Marsha Jones has been a member of the Longstreet Clinic team for 25 years. She began her career in the Imaging Department, working as a radiology technologist where she immediately demonstrated her ability as a leader working with the imaging staff and radiologists across the Clinic. Marsha has deep knowledge of diagnostic imaging as well as excellent problem-solving skills. As Longstreet invested into more technology, Marsha embraced all opportunities to realize the benefit of technology not only in diagnostic imaging, but also in improving interoperability between providers within Longstreet and across the healthcare community. Throughout the growth into new modalities and electronic health record systems, Marsha has provided leadership in different capacities and is always working to assure patients’ images, studies and tests are accessible and available to support timely diagnoses and treatment. 

Outstanding Achievement in Behavioral Health
Winner: Devin Vicknair, PhD, MS, Northeast Georgia Health System

Dr. Devin Vicknair is the director of behavioral health for the Family Medicine Residency program and adjunct Psychiatry Residency faculty at Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he teaches resident physicians and consults patients as an integrated behavioral health specialist. Dr. Vicknair uses his diverse experience and knowledge to help people and organizations accomplish their goals. He enjoys participating in various forms of outreach including interviews with major news networks, social media, podcasts, keynote presentations and health promotion education to local schools and corporations. Dr. Vicknair’s professional journey demonstrates dedication to the field of healthcare, his commitment to providing quality mental health services, and his passion for educating and supporting others.

Advanced Practice Provider of the Year
Winner: Lisa Price, PA-C, Northside Hospital Diagnostic Clinic

Lisa Price has been a Physician Assistant for over 10 years, working with the Endocrine Department at Northside Hospital Diagnostic Clinic – she has worked specifically in Endocrinology for over 15 years. She works closely with endocrinologists and diabetes educators to manage all types of complex Endocrine disorders, focusing on diabetes and insulin management. Lisa is an excellent physician assistant who cares about her patients, and her patients love and appreciate her.  In addition, Lisa and her family are very involved in Light House Retreat, where they give a week of their time every summer, and The Thumbs Up Mission.  Both retreats support families with children fighting cancer.

Dentist of the Year
Winner: Lee Hawkins, DDS, Hawkins Family Dental

Gainesville native Lee Hawkins graduated from Emory Dental School in 1978 and started Hawkins Family Dentistry in 1979 at 404 Green Street. Starting a business with 21% interest rate proved challenging but did not curve his ambition to provide top quality dental care to our community. In 2006, Lee’s son Ben Hawkins joined the practice. That year, Lee went to the Georgia Senate, where he continued in the House of Representatives, now serving as chairman of the Health Committee. The Health Committee works on healthcare policy with particular emphasis on regulatory and market issues. Lee notes that raising a family in Gainesville, surrounded by a caring community, and practicing dentistry is a wonderful life!

Healthcare Worker of the Year
1st Winner: Bridgette Mayo, LPN, Longstreet Clinic

Bridgette Mayo is celebrating 10 years with Longstreet Clinic this year. She was recently selected as Longstreet’s employee of the quarter, nominated by her peers and management because of her compassion and focus on her patients’ needs and experience. As Longstreet Clinic Urgent Care Clinical Supervisor, Bridgette sets the standard and demonstrates patient-centered care in all she does. She understands the benefit of communicating with patients during their wait times, keeping them updated on the processes in Urgent Care and what they can expect as their visit progresses. She is always ready and willing to rapidly respond with clinical assistance, whether it is an emergency or just helping someone to their car. She does it all while overseeing the operations of a busy urgent care department. 

Healthcare Worker of the Year
2nd Winner: Lynne Allen, Northeast Georgia Health System

Lynne Allen is a dedicated leader and the driving force behind the success of Northeast Georgia Health System’s volunteer services. Since joining NGHS in 1983, Lynne’s unwavering commitment has transformed the organization’s volunteer program, resulting in 2.2 million hours of service and saving the system nearly $69.9 million. Her leadership extends to the NGHS Auxiliary, which has donated almost $10 million to the NGHS Foundation, funding vital programs like Safe Kids Northeast Georgia and cardiovascular services expansion. Lynne’s impact reaches beyond NGHS, organizing 30 Marketplace events and raising crucial funds. Lynne Allen’s selfless dedication and passion for serving others truly embody the spirit of the Healthcare Worker of the Year award.

Nurse of the Year
Winner: Mandy Reichert, PhD, RN, PT-Csp, Northeast Georgia Health System

Dr. Mandy Reichert has more than 30 years of experience as a Registered Nurse and serves as the Bereavement and Family Support Coordinator at Northeast Georgia Health System. Her diverse background in nursing, healthcare administration, education, and chaplaincy uniquely equip her to coordinate comprehensive services for families dealing with infant and child loss. Driven by compassion, she redefines patient care, creating a supportive environment for families facing unimaginable tragedies – as well as the nurses, physicians, and other interdisciplinary team members who care for those experiencing traumatic loss. She embodies the true spirit of nursing, seamlessly blending clinical expertise with genuine kindness.

Community Impact
Winner: Joe Amerling and Jane White, Overhead Cover

Many people in the community may be aware of the plight of our “unhoused neighbors” but do not take time to get involved. Not so for Joe Amerling and Jane White. What began with purchasing a shower trailer and taking it to encampments has evolved into a 501c3, called Overhead Cover.  With multiple partners providing meals, haircuts, medical evaluation, counseling, clothing, shelter, heaters with fuel to those with no other source, Overhead Cover is making a positive impact for those in need. Occasional hotel rooms or bus tickets home have been provided as needs are identified.

Corporate Achievement/ Innovation
Winner: ProCare Rx

ProCare Rx provides consumption-based prescription drug benefit management, pharmaceutical cost containment, data analysis and management systems while employing 367 in various locations. Led by CEO Barbara Rambo, the company has 144 employees based in the headquarters in Gainesville. ProCare Rx launched their wellness program in 2013, called Healthy by Choice, which envisions that “every employee has the energy and mobility to do what they want to do.” Part of this program includes having onsite gyms, employees trained in CPR/First Aid, and a Wellness Coordinator to help employees optimize their healthiest selves. Additionally, the GoPivot online platform was added in 2023 to offer additional incentives for healthy behaviors in employees.

Physician of the Year
Winner: Karl D. Schultz, Jr., MD, FAANS, FACS, Longstreet Clinic

Dr. Karl D. Schultz has been practicing as a neurosurgeon for more than two decades and is celebrating his 14th year with Longstreet Clinic this year. Dr. Schultz earned his medical degree and completed his residency at Emory. His professional affiliations and accolades make up a long list. He is professionally affiliated with the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Association of Neurological Surgeons, and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. He is helping to train our next generation of residents at the hospital while serving as Associate Program Director of the General Surgery residency of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Graduate Medical Education Program. Dr. Schultz has been recognized by his peers as a Top Doctor in both Atlanta Magazine and Georgia Trend many times since 2016. A patient of his remarked, “Dr. Schultz is a brilliant neurosurgeon with unusually great bedside skills. He takes the time to explain the concepts and put things in clear and understandable terms. He has performed surgery on me in the past and did an excellent job. An outstanding surgeon.”

Visionary Leader
Winner: Pepper Brown, MD, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group

Dr. Pierpont “Pepper” Brown is a visionary leader in the medical field, known for his expertise and dedication to improving healthcare in North Georgia. A board-certified surgeon specializing in endocrine, breast, laparoscopic, and general oncologic surgeries, Dr. Brown received his medical degree from Emory University and completed his residency at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. He is a member of several prestigious surgical associations, including the American College of Surgeons and the Southern Society of Clinical Surgeons. Dr. Brown’s passion for surgery was ignited at a young age, watching his father, the first surgeon in Gainesville, perform surgeries. Dr. Brown’s commitment to his community and the NGHS Foundation is profound, serving in various leadership roles since 1997, including Chair of the Board of Trustees. His philanthropic efforts have significantly impacted the medical community and patients, embodying the spirit of a true visionary leader.

Lifetime Achievement
Winner: Priscilla Strom, MD, FACS, Longstreet Clinic

Dr. Priscilla Strom was raised as a daughter of missionaries in India, and the impact of that upbringing has had a big influence on her. Initially working as an Emergency Room physician and an Instructor in Surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, Dr. Strom went on to serve as a missionary physician for 10 years in Bangladesh. Upon her return, she began practicing as a general surgeon in Gainesville. In her humble and quiet way, she has made a lasting impact on patients and our community since 1994. As a board-certified general surgeon and breast specialist, she has set the standard for ethical and compassionate care in this region. With a focus on expedited care, she collaborates with Longstreet Clinic Breast Center and the hospital surgery team for the best possible outcomes for our patients. Well respected by her colleagues in this community, we are fortunate that she is sharing her knowledge with the next generation of physicians. She was an early supporter of the new General Surgery residency program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center and served as the Associate Program Director for four years. Since 2022, Dr. Strom has served as the Program Director of General Surgery.

Dr. Joshua Mugele, Program Director for Emergency Medicine said, “Dr. Strom is a great role model to have as a Program Director — eminently professional and always advocating for her residents. She knows how to get to the heart of a problem and focus on what’s truly important.  Dr. Priscilla Strom has had many outstanding accomplishments, been a loyal community volunteer, and held countless leadership positions throughout her years here. One of her residents at the hospital said it best, “Dr Strom is a master of her craft.  She is a no-nonsense pioneer in general surgery who has demonstrated to us an unwavering commitment to her faith and our education.”