Teresa Lovelady and Janie Ward are two of 39 individuals and organizations in nine categories to be honored with the Wichita Business Journal 2017 Health Care Hero Award.
According to their website, the Wichita Business Journal recognizes companies, individuals, and organizations for their contributions to improving health care in Wichita and the surrounding area. Honorees were nominated for their activities in the Wichita health care community and were chosen by a selection committee for their commitment to providing excellent health care or supporting others who provide care.
The Health Care Heroes program began in 2010, and since then 177 individuals and organizations have been honored. This year’s awards are sponsored by the University of Kansas Medical School-Wichita, Larksfield Place, Wesley Health Care, Commerce Bank and the Wichita State University College of Health Professionals.
Lovelady became the third President and CEO of the Center for Health and Wellness in 2011. According to the HealthCore Clinic website, her efforts allowed the clinic to move closer toward being recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), which eventually contributed to the integration of mental health services on-site, which occurred in 2013.
Last year, Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Jane Weilert was honored as a Health Care Hero for her exceptional work in health care. She was also the woman who told Ward that she was nominated for a Health Care Hero Award as well.
"She knew her subject area, was able to teach it well and built lasting relationships with her students," Weilert said. "I was glad that Newman was able to nominate Janie for the Health Care Hero award. This is a way for her to know how much of a valued member of the Newman community she was and still is."
“[Weilert] said I had been nominated and of course I was just dumbfounded,” Ward said. “I asked her, ‘Are you sure? How do they even know me let alone nominate me?’ She told me that I had, and all of a sudden the Wichita Business Journal was telling me I had gotten the award, too.”
Ward said she has never received an honor like this before. Her initial reaction was one of surprise, then gratitude.
“At the end of my career, it’s very heartwarming to receive something like that because you’d like to think that you’ve done something to make a difference,” she said. Ward shared the news with her husband but has yet to tell her daughter or the rest of her family.
Ward, who is originally from Caldwell, Kan., recently retired after 20 years as the assistant professor and clinical coordinator of radiologic technology at Newman.
Although her studentship was many years ago, Ward said she remembers the hardships of being a student. She recalls taking on higher learning, working to maintain someplace to stay, and more.
“I come from very humble means, and my folks couldn’t just afford to do everything for me,” Ward said. “Because of that, it took a while for me to get everything done. When I became a professor, I think it helped me to better understand the student side of it because I went through a lot of what they were going through when I was a student, and I really related to the students in that way.”
Ward originally started out in nursing, but after speaking with a friend who was going through radiology at the time, she quickly grew interested in the program. Ward started her career in a hospital-based program at Wesley Medical Center, working in different areas and departments throughout the facility for five years.
“The hospital-based program is totally different from the college-based program,” she said. “It was way less classroom time and more hands-on experience. [At Newman] we have more classroom, and still hands-on, but we still have to maintain more classroom hours than we did in the hospital-based program.”
“I [loved it because I] got to create something,” she said. “I got to create an x-ray, which satisfied the artistic side of me. I was able to help the doctor decide if there was anything wrong or if everything was okay and I remember feeling so exhilarated.”
After her time at Wesley, Ward began teaching at Newman. Newman gave her the option of working toward her degrees as she taught, so Ward took up the offer and worked diligently to earn all of her degrees. She received her associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees all from Newman.
“I loved the students — they keep me young. So now I’m aging rapidly since I don’t teach students anymore,” Ward said with a laugh. “They would educate me on stuff that was happening out in the world and I tried to educate them in radiology, so we had a symbiotic type of relationship.”
Ward required her students to write down their reactions in a personal portfolio. One of her students wrote about his patient who was a 3-year-old boy who had been abused.
“I cried the whole way through it,” Ward said. “I will never forget. He was x-raying this little boy and within 15 minutes he developed a very close relationship with him. He just wanted to be held and loved, and the student was writing about how this really affected him. He wrote about how much he wished he could help the little boy, and that’s when I told him, ‘You did help him. You helped find out what was wrong and hopefully, he can go on from there.’
“These kinds of stories really touch me, and they make me feel like we really are contributing out there and that we are making a difference in people’s lives.”
Ward said the biggest piece of advice she could give to those considering or entering into Health Care is to be patient.
“In nursing, you deal with your patients day after day until they leave the hospital or go home well, but in radiology we see them in short bursts of time and you don’t know what you’ve entered into at that time,” she said. “Maybe the patient is afraid, because they don’t know if they have some dreaded disease. Or maybe the patient is getting old and is just fearful of what you may find. Or maybe this is a young child and this is all new to them. You just have to weigh each patient and be patient with them and try to get them through the process of the test.
“It’s nice to have a good support system. I’ve always had my family or religion to help me through those dark times, not only in personal but in professional standing, and I think that’s one of the things that Newman offers. It is a good support system, there are so many professors out here who would assist anyone if they asked for help. This is a wonderful place to learn.”
Recipients of the Health Care Hero Awards will be honored during a ceremony on August 3 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. Click here to register, or for more information contact Jaclyn Wooten at (316) 266-6196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.