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As published in Toledo Business Journal - July 1, 2012

Healthcare Heroes


2012 Healthcare Heroes recognized

The healthcare profession is one where acts of heroism often go unnoticed, because they happen every day. Healthcare Heroes do not act for praise, recognition, or job advancement. Indeed, their stories are not always picked up by the local media or communicated outside of their organizations. Rather, Healthcare Heroes are motivated by a desire to make a difference in the lives they touch.

Healthcare Heroes was launched in 2008 to recognize the extraordinary impact that exceptional healthcare professionals have on the healthcare industry and on the quality of life in their communities.

The Fourth Annual Healthcare Heroes Recognition Ceremony, held on June 28, 2012 at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion, recognizes the extraordinary contributions healthcare makes to the quality of life in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Each honoree has received an award for the honor.

Healthcare Heroes has honored 27 candidates and five recipients this year, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. To qualify for the Lifetime Achievement Award, a healthcare leader must have left a mark on healthcare through a career (of at least 25 years) of heroic acts, compassion, honor, and integrity that have helped to put our region at the forefront of healthcare.

The Healthcare Heroes exemplify the contributions healthcare makes to the region.

A hero is usually an ordinary person doing extraordinary things, distinguished for his or her courage or ability. They may also be someone who is a model for others that has performed a heroic deed and/or tirelessly given of his/her time, talent, and expertise to improve health.

A Healthcare Hero could be a physician, nurse, allied health professional, researcher, administrator, educator, or caregiver that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Healthcare Heroes should demonstrate honesty, integrity, humility, courage, and commitment.

For example, a Healthcare Hero may be a healthcare professional who exemplifies extraordinary quality and compassionate patient care; is breaking new ground in the healthcare arena through a new advancement, improvement of efficiencies, or through a new initiative; is providing research and is on the cutting edge of clinical research to ultimately improve patient care; is an accomplished healthcare educator that is inspiring the next generation of healthcare providers; is a healthcare leader who exceeds all expectations when it comes to influencing growth and development of healthcare to meet the needs of the community; or is a healthcare provider making a meaningful contribution to community health improvement, including but not limited to increasing access to healthcare for the low income uninsured.

Sponsors for this year’s event include: The Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio; Gordon Food Service; Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP; Hylant Group; and Gilmore, Jasion & Mahler, LTD. Toledo Business Journal is the media partner and Kristian Brown, 13ABC, is the host and emcee for the event.

Rodney Cheney

Robert W. Mills, MD, FFAP, and Laurie Mills, RN, BSN

John Newton, MD

Richard A. Paat, MD, FACP

John T. Schaeufele, MD, FAAP

Rodney Cheney; Director, Fulton County EMS

Rodney Cheney
Fulton County EMS

Rodney Cheney spent his first 19 years after high school working in the manufacturing industry. He started in the production area, rapidly moving into management as a production supervisor. He then realized through his position of management that he had an opportunity to make a difference in people’s attitudes, as well as impact their livelihood. However, he never received the same gratification as a production manager that he did when he responded to a 911 call as a volunteer for the Archbold Fire Department. After that, Cheney knew he needed a career change.

Cheney not only wanted to make an impact in people’s lives, but also educate the public and teach First Aid and CPR. When his team was unsuccessful at resuscitating a 47-year-old man in cardiac arrest while four coworkers who were trained in CPR waited for EMS to arrive before beginning resuscitation, Cheney knew he needed to develop a teaching style that was real and informative.

He serves as the Fulton County Emergency Medical Services director as well as a paramedic for the Village of Archbold. Cheney has over 10 years of experience as a paramedic and 17 as a firefighter.

In 2009, Cheney organized a county-wide CPR training, which was offered at eight different locations. The training was offered at three different times at each location, but only 119 people were trained. This motivated him to continue this drive and passion to reach out to the public. Since the first training sessions, Cheney has gotten assistance from the media and other outlets to assist well over 2,000 people in being trained. He attended church functions, traveled to nursing homes, youth groups, businesses, schools, and County offices to stress the importance of bystander CPR.

Cheney’s efforts have resulted in an increase in bystander CPR, which is increasing survival rates among sudden cardiac arrest victims in Fulton County.

In 2010, medical chest compression devices were researched, purchased, and implemented into all seven County EMS Departments in order to give victims the best chance of survival.

Cheney was recently appointed to the Heart Radiothon Board, has facilitated Code Blue mock trainings at Fairlawn Haven Nursing Home, and organized a Celebration of Life Ceremony to recognize those involved in saving a life.

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Robert W. Mills, MD, FFAP, and Laurie Mills, RN, BSN; PediatriCare Associates and Robert W. Mills, LLC

Robert W. Mills, MD, FFAP,
and Laurie Mills, RN, BSN
PediatriCare Associates
and Robert W. Mills, LLC

Dr. and Mrs. Robert and Laurie Mills were nominated for Healthcare Heroes because of their effort as a couple in founding Noah’s House in conjunction with Anne Grady Services. Noah’s House is a respite facility named in honor of the Mills’ late son, Noah, who passed away in 2003 after being born with a migratory brain malformation. The facility provides respite care for multiply handicapped, medically fragile, special needs children and their families. The Mills established a memorial fund that covers the cost of the care if insurance companies do not cover the service, thereby allowing families of all means to utilize the facility. According to Robert, the divorce rate among families caring for special needs children exceeds 90% and respite care, such as that provided at Noah’s House, has been shown to improve the lives of these families. Noah’s House is complete with a playground, pool, therapy room, and a sensory stimulation room.

The Mills also co-founded the All for One group, an organization that comes together to prepare and provide meals to alcoholics, drug addicts, and their families. This is in hopes of contributing to the health of the individuals by serving them a hot meal in a supportive environment.

Robert Mills became fascinated by healthcare at an early age after his father suffered a heart attack at the age of 36. Only ten at the time, he quickly realized how doctors and nurses could make an impact on patients and their families. Because of this, Robert worked to achieve his goal of becoming a doctor and positively influencing others through this profession.

Robert received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University and received his doctorate from the Medical College of Ohio. Currently, he serves as a private pediatrician at PediatriCare Associates, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics for the University of Toledo College of Medicine, as well as medical director and chief medical officer of Mercy Children’s Hospital.

Robert believes his greatest contribution to healthcare has been through his role as an educator for medical students and residents in the field of pediatrics. He has trained 
medical students doing their pediatric rotation, pediatric, family practice, and emergency medicine residents completing their pediatric rotations, nursing students, pediatric nursing practitioners, and physician assistants. One of his contributions as a practicing pediatrician was early detection of the rare accelerating aging disease Progeria in one of his young patients. He has been in the industry for 25 years and has won an array of awards throughout his years as a healthcare provider.

Laurie Mills was always interested in science and the way the body worked as a child, making healthcare a natural fit. After her first rotation in nursing school, Laurie fell in love with the way kids thought, how honest they were, and the resilience and joy they get from simple things. Pediatrics seemed like the obvious choice for her.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Toledo. Laurie’s background includes working in pediatric intensive care, serving as the coordinator of the Child and Family Health Services Grant, and the Early Intervention Grant at the Williams County Health Department, and pediatric nursing services for various organizations.

Currently, Laurie serves as the chief fundraiser for Noah’s House and on the Anne Grady Services Enchanted Evening Committee to raise funds for Anne Grady Services. Laurie also serves as a mentor, advocate, and educator to parents with special needs children.

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John Newton, MD; Physician Liaison, Toledo/Lucas County CareNet

John Newton, MD
Physician Liaison,
Toledo/Lucas County CareNet

Coming from an economically meager background, John J. Newton wanted to support others in similar straits. He always wanted to study medicine, enjoying the knowledge he gained in medical school.

Newton attended the University of Toledo, as well as Loyola University of Chicago – Stritch School of Medicine. He is a retired physician and administrator for ProMedica, and was also the past chairman on the ProMedica Health Education and Research Center Foundation Board.

Newton contributed countless volunteer hours throughout his career, and also championed difficult health issues, including the first public smoking ban in the region. Much of his work was dedicated to underserved populations, including patients with addictions, mental health diagnoses, and those who could not afford healthcare through his work with CareNet.

He has been recognized with the ADAS Award, as well as the ProMedica Health Advocate of the Year, and Sylvania Schools’ Hall of Fame.

Newton was on the Lucas County Board of Health for 42 years. He was president, as well as having a hand in springboarding the smoking ban in other Ohio communities. He also served on the Lucas County Board of Mental Health, later known as the Lucas County Mental Health and Addiction Services Board, for 15 years and was also president. Newton served on the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board, and has served as the Physician Liaison for Toledo/Lucas County CareNet since its founding.

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Richard A. Paat, MD, FACP; Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Toledo

Richard A. Paat, MD, FACP
Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine,
University of Toledo

Richard Paat entered the healthcare profession to help people in a significant way, especially those without adequate resources. He is a physician and past chief of staff at St. Luke’s Hospital and clinical professor of internal medicine for the University of Toledo Medical College (UTMC).

As chairman of medical missions for the Special Commission on Education and Relief of the Filipino Association of Toledo, Paat has led 44 medical missions and disaster relief teams that have treated more than 72,000 patients around the world. Each year, he brings five volunteer medical teams to the Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala, Tanzania, and Haiti. In the past, he has brought teams to locations after natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

Paat’s missions partner with numerous groups, including churches, medical schools, Rotary and Lions clubs, the Peace Corps, governments, and the World Health Organization. He also serves as the volunteer medical director for International Services of Hope, which provides free surgical care for indigent children from foreign countries.

He was awarded a $115,000, two year grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to implement a health promoter training program in Tanzania. Under Paat’s guidance, his medical teams help educate local villagers, allowing for basic medical care to exist even after his teams are gone.

Over the last 13 years, Paat has provided free medical care to the uninsured and homeless of the Toledo area, volunteering at a free inner city medical clinic and running a mobile migrant worker clinic during the summers. In 2010, he established a free medical clinic in Perrysburg Heights, a poverty level, Hispanic community that now treats 600 patients throughout the Toledo region that would otherwise have limited access to healthcare.

Paat has also organized 13 international medical mission conferences, as well as two migrant worker healthcare conferences. He is the faculty advisor of the Asian and Pacific Islander Medical Student Association at the University of Toledo and mentors high school students from St. John’s Jesuit, St. Ursula, and Notre Dame Academies during their senior projects. Paat has also housed and assisted 20 international physicians during their one month medical rotations with him in Toledo.

In the community, Paat has coached volleyball at inner-city schools and runs the Toledo Starling Volleyball club for socioeconomically disadvantaged girls, teaching fitness, fighting childhood obesity, and instilling confidence in the lives of inner-city girls. His club has assisted a young girl from Tijuana in getting a life-saving heart surgery in Toledo, sponsored high school girls in Mexico, and helped support the children of Haiti.

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John T. Schaeufele, MD, FAAP; Lifetime Achievement, Posthumous; President & CEO, Mercy Children’s Hospital

John T. Schaeufele, MD, FAAP
Lifetime Achievement, Posthumous
President & CEO,
Mercy Children’s Hospital

John T. Schaeufele served as president and CEO of Mercy Children’s Hospital until shortly before his death in October 2011. He devoted his life to healing the region’s children and later, as an administrator, to building a team of specialists at Mercy Children’s to ensure their needs could be met locally. In spite of his diagnosis of cystic fibrosis while in high school, he continued to actively pursue his education even when advised against the rigorous profession of medicine.

Schaeufele received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Akron. He was a PhD candidate at Kent State University and also received his Medical Doctorate from the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. Prior to his death, he served on the boards for Voices for Ohio’s Children, the Ronald McDonald House, as well as the Imagination Station, Life Connection of Ohio Advisory Committee, CareNet Council / Executive Committee, and the Child Fatality Review Board.

In his life, Schaeufele played a key role in the lives of thousands of children as an administrator. He was the first clinical chair when Mercy Children’s Hospital formed in 1998 and assumed the role of vice president of medical affairs and chief administration officer in 2006. A year later, he was promoted to president and CEO. He brought new specialists to the region to care for children, created a clinical pathway for treatment of children with asthma, and was instrumental in bringing the area’s first electronic medical record to Mercy.

Schaeufele received Mercy’s Excellence in Mission Award for seeking out the underserved, and established the Department of Child Advocacy. He also worked for public smoking restrictions, legislation for bicycle helmet requirements, access to healthcare for all children, and other initiatives that advanced the health and safety of children. For his educational work, Schaeufele was honored by the national Pediatric Housestaff Association with the Teacher of the Year award four times and an honorary lifetime achievement award in 2003.

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