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Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association


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VHHA Honors Outstanding Hospital and Health System Leaders

Contact: Sheila E. Gray
(804) 965-1212, sgray@vhha.com

Baker, Smith, Dalhouse & Fick Recognized for Exceptional Contributions to Health Care

Richmond.The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) has bestowed its 2012 Outstanding Service Awards on four Virginians for their exceptional leadership and significant contributions to hospitals and health systems and to health care in general: Rodger H. Baker, President and CEO of Fauquier Health System in Warrenton; Jennifer A. Smith, Administrative Director of the Neurosciences Service Line at Bon Secours Hampton Roads in Suffolk; Warner Dalhouse, Director Emeritus of the Carilion Clinic Board of Directors in Roanoke; and John F. Fick III, Trustee of the Mary Washington Healthcare Board of Directors in Fredericksburg. The awards were presented last week during the 86th Annual Meeting of the VHHA Membership at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.

Rodger H. Baker, Distinguished Service Award

Mr. Baker was awarded the 2012 Distinguished Service Award, which honors past or present CEOs of VHHA member institutions who have long records of performing outstanding, valuable or unique services to the hospital and health system community.

He has been President/CEO of Fauquier Health System for 25 years, with his service to Fauquier extending to 35 years. In 1999, he took a leap of faith when the hospital was scheduled for expansion and renovation and seized the opportunity to transform the health system into a truly patient-centered care facility.

Mr. Baker has led the health system with vision and resolve, taking it from a small community hospital to a 97-bed, state-of-the-art facility with a 33-bed emergency department and a nursing home/rehabilitation facility. Most significantly, Fauquier Hospital was named a Planetree Designated Hospital in 2007, which was only one of five in the country at that time and remains the only hospital in Virginia with that designation.

More recently, Mr. Baker has continued to steer the health system to serve the needs of the community through the development of an assisted living facility, wound healing center and wellness center. He continuously refocuses the work of the hospital so that it is serving its residents – giving them the medical attention they need, delivered the way they need it.

Mr. Baker served as Chairman of VHHA in 2006 and has served on the Rappahannock-Rapidan EMS Council, Rappahannock Rapidan Sub-Area Health Advisory Committee, Northwestern Virginia Health Systems Agency and the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance.

On winning the award, Mr. Baker said, “I remember going to my first Annual Meeting of the VHHA in 1976. VHHA has been working to support hospitals and health systems since its inception and is recognized as one of the top health care trade associations in the country. It is said that the strength of the wolf is in the pack, and the VHHA proves that point. All hospitals and health care systems in Virginia – large and small – rely on the VHHA to stand for them. It is a great honor to receive this award from an organization that has done such wonderful things for health care throughout the Commonwealth.”

Jennifer A. Smith, Meritorious Service Award

Mrs. Smith was awarded the 2012 Meritorious Service Award,which honors individuals who are affiliated with member institutions and who have a history of making significant contributions to the health care field on both a state and local level through commitment to service and leadership.

She serves as Administrative Director of the Neurosciences Service Line at Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System for the three hospitals within the regional system. As such, she has: created a unified, high quality Neuroscience program across the Hampton Roads System; built a state-of-the-art tertiary Neuroscience program that includes a neuro-endovascular suite, the largest of its kind in the national Bon Secours Health System; developed a Primary Stroke Center at each Bon Secours Hampton Roads facility; and built and certified two American Academy of Sleep Medicine Sleep Disorder Centers with a third center that opened earlier this year seeking certification.

Mrs. Smith has held leadership roles with the American Heart Association, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Portsmouth Partnership, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Junior League, among others. In these efforts, she supports access to care, health education, local economic growth and job development. Most recently, Mrs. Smith extended her efforts nationally when she founded the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Neurosciences Division, which she will serve as the first national chair.

On winning the award, Mrs. Smith said, "I am thrilled and truly honored to receive the 2012 VHHA Meritorious Service Award. I am one of those people who likes to “fly under the radar,” quietly working to accomplish our mission and goals, so at this point in my career this is such a wonderful recognition. It is an incredible feeling to know my colleagues felt it was important to acknowledge the many great opportunities that have been afforded me to grow and achieve during my 34-year career with Bon Secours. And, therefore, while I am the individual being recognized, this also is a testimony to the health care system I work in, and I must thank the Bon Secours Health System for being a system of leaders who not only encourage but also support the growth and advancement of its employees."

Warner Dalhouse, Excellence in Governance Award

Mr. Dalhouse was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Governance Award, which honors members of VHHA member hospital or health system governing bodies who have a history of making significant contributions to the health care field, on both a state and local level, through commitment to service and leadership.

Mr. Dalhouse, former President and CEO of Dominion Bank, brought his skills, expertise and banking savvy to Carilion Clinic. After 22 years of dedicated, energetic, thoughtful devotion to Carilion Clinic’s Board, Mr. Dalhouse has accepted the title of Director Emeritus. Reluctant to limit his devotion to Carilion, Warner recently accepted the Chairmanship of the Carilion Foundation.

In addition to Carilion Clinic, Warner played a crucial governance role in the formation of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute and continues to serve on its Board of Directors.

From humble beginnings in Roanoke, he worked his way up from cleaning in a cafeteria, to an entry level banking position to be able to attend college. After graduating from UVA, he went on to a banking career progressing through the ranks to President.

Among his many other activities, Mr. Dalhouse also is a Director of the Roanoke City Architectural Review Board, Roanoke Higher Education Center, Roanoke Public Library Foundation, Carilion Biomedical Institute and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. He is a former member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates, Chairman of the Governor’s Corporate Advisory Commission on Employer’s Child Care Initiatives in Child Day Care, Governor’s  Economic Advisory Council and the Virginia Business Council.

In remarks to the VHHA membership on winning the award, Mr. Dalhouse said, “I am very flattered and pleased to be honored in this way by the VHHA. My years of association with Carilion Clinic have been among the most satisfying of my life, not only because I was able to learn so much about so many interesting aspects of health care, but also because that learning experience was a deep immersion into one of the truly outstanding health care systems in America. It has been a privilege and an honor far beyond my ability to articulate."

John F. Fick III, Excellence in Governance Award

Mr. Fick also was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Governance Award. For the past 19 years, he has generously given of his time, talent and expertise to ensuring the Fredericksburg region is provided with outstanding, quality health care through his service on the Mary Washington Healthcare Board of Trustees, its hospitals and subsidiaries.

As a licensed pharmacist, Mr. Fick gives freely of his expertise and skill by volunteering numerous hours at the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic while serving as a member of the Clinic’s Board of Directors, and he has made several mission trips to areas in health crisis.

Among his numerous accomplishments as Chairman of the Mary Washington Board, Mr. Fick led the charge to increase Mary Washington Hospital’s beds by 94 in 2004; build Stafford Hospital, which opened in 2009; and build MWHC’s Regional Cancer Center, opening in 2011. Over his many years of service, his leadership has been essential to adding a multitude of needed health services to the community, including neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery and gynecological oncology.

In remarks to the membership, Mr. Fick stated, “I am truly thankful to have been nominated and to receive the 2012 VHHA Excellence in Governance Award. I have been blessed to serve on the Board of Trustees and Foundation Board at Mary Washington Healthcare for almost 20 years, and in that time I have witnessed unprecedented changes in America’s health care industry. Ensuring Mary Washington has a strong and capable governing body during these complex times in health care is a challenge and a privilege. I am grateful for the commitment of my outstanding trustee colleagues and for the competent and caring staff of Mary Washington Healthcare, who are so dedicated to improving the health of the people in our communities. As we continue to move forward in these complicated times, leadership and governance is vital to providing the safest and highest quality health care and a responsibility I take very seriously. To be recognized for my efforts is truly humbling.”


The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of hospitals and health delivery systems that develops and advocates health care policy for the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health.

More information and photos of each award recipient are available by contacting (804) 965-1227.

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