Nominate a Health Care Angel Today

Nominate a Health Care Angel Today

Do you know someone in the health care industry who affected your life in a way that can’t be described in words or a co-worker who has shown an unwavering commitment to their job and their patients? Show them your appreciation!



Nominate for 2017 now!

Health Care Angels Categories

· Physician

· Nurse

· Office Staff

· Professional Staff

· Auxiliary Staff

· Volunteer

· Vision Care Professional

· Oral Health Professional

· Paraprofessional

· Medical Therapy

Legacy Award

Legacy Award

Lloyd Ganton

Providing quality senior care is not only a family tradition for Lloyd Ganton, CEO of Lloyd Ganton Retirement Centers, it’s a legacy spanning decades.

“Lloyd’s legacy is to provide quality, affordable health care for seniors,” said Paul Buchholz, president of the multi-facility community. “His mother, Mary Ganton, was a nurse who cared for people in their last days of life in her home. Lloyd grew up watching his mother’s compassion and saw a need in the community. So he quit his job as a school administrator to build Arbor Manor Care Center in 1968. He put everything he had into that facility,” Buchholz added.

Today, Lloyd Ganton Retirement Centers encompass nine facilities, employ more than 500 and offer about 600 seniors independent, assisted and skilled housing centers in various locations throughout Jackson, Brooklyn and Spring Arbor.

People call Lloyd the “guardian angel” of Jackson’s seniors because of the affordable quality care offered at every level without any endowment or entrance fees. They also appreciate his centers’ flexibility in providing various levels of care as residents’ needs change over time, from maintenance-free independent apartments to skilled care to the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The 62 and over population is the fastest-growing segment in Jackson County. We are devoted to keeping up with that growth while giving back to the community,” Lloyd has said in previous interviews.

Lloyd’s willingness to “give back” is another vital aspect of his legacy. The 81 year old has served on various boards and donates to several charities, including the Salvation Army, Jackson Symphony Orchestra, American Cancer Society, United Way, Ella Sharp Museum, Cascades Humane Society and the Jackson Community Foundation.

In addition, he founded and runs the Ye Ole Carriage Shop automotive museum in Spring Arbor, where he gives tours to school and community groups about the history of Jackson-made products.

His legacy also extends to his alma mater, Spring Arbor University, where he and wife Judith co-founded the Ganton Art Gallery. “They saw the need for the arts at SAU and wanted to give back to a school that had given so much to them. Now, SAU has a beautiful gallery that has ignited a passion around the campus for the arts,” Buchholz said. The 7,100-square-foot art gallery houses student and professional art shows, which are free and open to the public.

The Ganton Gardens followed closely afterwards, with the landscaping of the area around a large oak and the addition of the sculpture of the Bible and the world, Buchholz added.

The gardens and art gallery, the largest single-space gallery in southern Michigan, are beautiful reminders of a legacy that continues to ripple throughout the community, and beyond.

Jeffrey Anderson

Jeffrey Anderson

Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation / Volunteer

For over 20 years, lifelong Jackson resident Jeffrey Anderson has filled the role of extraordinary volunteer and dedicated health care angel by showing compassion and caring to people who need special help. “He brings resources to those in need and has touched the lives of many through his efforts both professionally and personally,” said Lisa Nielsen, development coordinator for the Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation.

An experienced attorney and founder of the Anderson & Makulski law firm, Anderson is an advocate for people in the community who are less fortunate. A husband and father who has raised four children, Anderson has always found time to give back to the community by volunteering his legal expertise.

In 2003, he formed the nonprofit Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation, which operates autonomously from Great Lakes Caring. The foundation most often provides grants to patients and their families in communities where Great Lakes Caring provides hospice care, but also makes grants available to patients served by other hospice organizations.

“The foundation helps patients and their families by providing grants for supplies or services that are not covered by insurance or are unaffordable for them,” said Anderson, who has been the organization’s president, board member and attorney continuously since its inception.

In addition, the grants fulfill requests of terminally ill patients and their families that make patients’ final wishes come true, such as a last family vacation, special birthday celebration, visit to see faraway relatives, and toys for dying patients’ children. Last year, about 140 grants were awarded.

As the foundation’s president, Anderson conducts board meetings, maintains 501(c)(3) status, assists with accounting tasks and finances, and works with Nielsen to review and approve grant requests.

Volunteer board members Sue Goldsen, Chris Heydenburg, Robert Smith and Wendy Waldron help Anderson review and approve grant requests and foundation policies.

Anderson also helps with fundraising. In 2015, “Heels for Hospice” (sponsored by Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation board members, Great Lakes Caring employees and volunteers) collected over 5,000 pairs of shoes for developing nations and raised over $2,000.

Anderson’s good deeds also have touched the lives of people who struggle to pay for daily essentials, such as food, housing and utilities. Through his volunteer work for over two decades on the local Salvation Army board and committees, he’s helped raise funds and ensured resources are available for those faced with emergency needs.

“He is a man of integrity, humility and heart who balances career, family, and community service like no other,” Nielsen said. “He is patient and kind and has improved the quality of life for many within his reach. The Great Lakes Caring Hospice Foundation is fortunate to have an advocate like Jeff as a leader.”

Morgan Martin

Morgan Martin

Orthopaedic Rehab Specialists / Physical Therapist Assistant

Patients of Morgan Martin, a physical therapist assistant (PTA) with Orthopaedic Rehab Specialists, PC, thank heaven for her prodding spirit that inspires them to progress beyond health-related conditions limiting their daily activities.

“Morgan has a way of kidding with patients that builds rapport and inspires them to go the extra mile. They realize she cares about them and about the outcome they get. They just love her,” said Clinic Director Brandon Klump, who is also an ORS owner.

Martin’s training warrants some credit for her kudos. The Jackson resident has earned an associate’s degree specializing in physical therapy from Kellogg Community College; a therapeutic massage certificate from Baker College; and an associate’s degree in general studies from Jackson College.

But the heart of patients’ praise lies in Martin’s empathetic attitude, enthusiastic willingness to journey with them on the road to recovery, and occasional prodding toward progress. “I’m part of the patient’s health-care team, but I provide a listening ear and willing hands removing obstacles that might inhibit their progress forward in therapy,” she said.

“I always strive to go above and beyond in helping patients get better. I see myself as someone who is traveling down the road with them,” added Martin, who earned the ORS “Employee of the Month” award twice in her six years at ORS.

In her role as a PTA, Martin works as part of a team to provide physical therapy services under the direction of a physical therapist. Her duties include implementing treatments, obtaining data, and making modifications in selected interventions either to help patients progress or to ensure their safety and comfort.

She assists physical therapists in the treatment of individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities. The 33 year old recently completed the PTA CPI (clinical performance instrument) certification, which allows her to mentor physical therapist assistant students.

“My favorite part of mentoring is helping students put it all together and watching the light bulb go on. At one point in my life I wanted to be a teacher, so this is right up my alley!” she said.

Martin spends her spare time with her husband, Thadd, and their two daughters. She’s an active volunteer with the PTO Sharp Park Academy, the Jack and Jill cooperative Preschool and the Twistars Gymnastics Boosters Club and is a future black belt in Taekwondo at ATA Martial Arts. She also plays recreation volleyball and is currently training for her fifth half marathon.

Stephanie Palmer

Stephanie Palmer

Henry Ford Allegiance Health / Oncology Coordinator

As she watched physicians and nurses care for her father who battled leukemia, Stephanie Palmer began her journey to become a health care angel. Her nurturing spirit rose to new heights when she donated stem cells to the father who once took care of her.

Although he passed away in 2005, the added years meant Palmer’s father was able to walk her down the aisle when she married Jeff and to meet five of his six grandchildren, including the Palmers’ son, Aaron. (He passed away before their son, Michael, was born.)

“When my dad died, I decided to help people,” said Palmer, who graduated three years later with an associate degree in nursing from Jackson College. As if by divine appointment, she started her career at the University of Michigan Medical Center’s oncology unit. She joined Henry Ford Allegiance Health in 2012 and in 2015 was named oncology coordinator, the liaison between the care team and patient.

“Being an oncology nurse is not a job; it’s a calling,” said Palmer, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Michigan State University this year. “I live and breathe how to care for cancer patients. Cancer plucks people out of their normal lives. I want to be there to help them adjust to the new normal.”

Palmer leads the Lung Cancer Screening Program, designed to detect early-stage cancer in high-risk patients. She makes presentations about the program at physicians’ offices and the hospital, serves on the hospital’s Cancer Committee, directs a Tobacco Cessation Program and schedules surgeries if needed.

In 2015, Palmer played an integral role in earning the prestigious Screening Center of Excellence Award from the Lung Cancer Alliance based in Washington, D.C.

“Our program is unique in that the patient, doctor, radiologist and a Tobacco Cessation Program nurse review the screening results right away with the patient and start the cessation program,” Palmer said. “There’s no waiting. It’s a team approach.”

In 2010, her work with stem cell transplant patients was published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and presented at the National Bone Marrow Transplant Conference in Orlando, Fla. Palmer’s findings led to improvements in patient care. She’s been invited to speak at the Lung Cancer Screening Conference in Washington, D.C., later this month.

Palmer is going all out to add more integrated therapy programs to the hospital’s current offerings (meditation, Tai Chi and Qigong), such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, massage and music therapy, to reduce stress and boost the patient’s immune system.

As a member of the Lung Cancer Alliance, Society of Integrative Oncology and the Oncology Nursing Society, this health care angel lives her motto: “Never give up.”

Cindy Powell

Cindy Powell

Great Lakes Caring / Hospice Home Health Aide

At one point in her 40 years of working as a CENA (a nurse aide), Cindy Powell worked in labor and delivery. She now works at the opposite end of the life spectrum, as a Great Lakes Caring Hospice Home Health Aide.

“I just love it,” she said. “I want to make my patients’ last days comfortable. I want to be sure they are nice and clean, and respected.”

Powell makes weekly, twice weekly, or daily visits with patients, at their homes and in nursing facilities. The frequency depends on patient status. She averages seven to nine patients per day, from Grass Lake to Dexter to Ypsilanti. A typical visit lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

“The staff here call me the ‘Fluff and Buff’ aide,” she said, laughing. The nickname’s origin is not clear, but she thinks it is because of her caring nature.

“I take good care of my patients,” she said. “If a patient needs to be seen, I see them.”

She bathes patients from head to toe, or helps those who are able, to take showers. She changes their bedding, brushes their teeth or cleans their dentures, tidies the patient’s room – whatever is needed, she said. “I tell them everything I am going to do, so there are no surprises.

“I like to talk with them, listen to them,” she added. “I always ask if they are in pain.”

She completes an electronic form summarizing her actions with each patient. She and the patient or family member sign the form, which is sent to a Great Lakes Caring nurse for any needed follow-up.

“It’s hard when I lose one,” she said. “I cry, but there are chaplains here we can talk with.” She also does on-the-job training with new hospice home health aides.

Powell has received several Great Lakes Caring “Superior Quality Care” awards during her 17-year tenure.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Cindy for three and a half years. She is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met,” said Clint Jones, Great Lakes Caring’s Hospice Clinical Supervisor. “I can always tell when Cindy has seen a patient before my visit; due to the ‘glow’ or ‘shine’ they have that day.”

“I have often heard patients say that Cindy is a godsend,” said Pastor Dave Cornwell, the organization’s Spiritual Care Coordinator and also a former Health Care Angel. “Many say they cannot imagine going through their end-of-life experience without Cindy’s support, love, and care. She offers not only her time, but her love and her heart. She is truly an angel. I’m proud to serve beside her.”

Dr. Matt Rosenberg

Dr. Matt Rosenberg

Mid-Michigan Health Centers / Physician

Fans call Dr. Matt Rosenberg the Renaissance Angel of health care because he provides more than a diagnosis for his patients. He’s also a listening ear, fierce advocate, trailblazing researcher and a community supporter. This multifaceted approach has endeared the primary care physician to his patients, staff and other health care experts.

“Dr. Rosenberg has acquired profound knowledge in more than one field,” said Great Lakes Caring Chief Executive Officer William Deary. “As a primary care physician, he provides extraordinary health care. As an internationally renowned expert, he teaches the community about the critical importance of the right care, in the right place, at the right time. He’s a true Renaissance Man.”

For Dr. Rosenberg, the medical director of Mid-Michigan Health Centers, 214 N. West Ave., this broad approach is the key to efficient, compassionate and cutting-edge care.

“I’m not only my patients’ gatekeeper when it comes to health care, I’m their advocate. I have to be a fighter at any roadblock,” said the intrepid doctor, who has a smorgasbord of specialists on speed dial and whose practice takes patients from all walks of life.

As a researcher, Dr. Rosenberg has published over 90 papers, chapters and editorials in every field of urology – his prior training – including two of the world’s largest epidemiological studies on interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome). Dr. Rosenberg was awarded the 2006 National Continence Care Champion by the National Association for Continence.

As a community supporter, the 53 year old spearheaded an echocardiogram program that offered free cardiac screening to over 150 local high school athletes; a health care debate in the last election; and several turkey drives to area needy.

The dynamic doctor, who earned his medical degree at the University of California, Irvine, did his residency at Irvine and Harvard University. He also founded and serves as president of Independent Physician Network of Jackson County.

“I believe it’s important for physicians to have a choice on how to practice as opposed to being governed by an outside source. Patients deserve what’s in their best interest,” he said.

People say this approach has proven successful for the physician, who started his 5,000-square-foot-practice as the single provider in 1996. Today, the practice is in the process of expanding to a total 10,000 square feet and has added five more providers.

“My goal is to make the practice as inclusive as possible. We try to live by a motto that my parents shared with me when I graduated medical school. They gave me a framed quote from the 12th century physician, Maimonides: ‘See patients through compassionate eyes, so that in the sufferer, I see only the human being.’ "

Dr. Rosenberg and his wife, Stephanie, have two children: Nathan and Sydney.

Dr. Kristin Spencer

Dr. Kristin Spencer

Jackson College / Director, Medical Assistant Program

Soon after Dr. Kristin Spencer became the director of Jackson College’s (JC) Medical Assistant Program in 2010, she revamped the entire program.

As a result, current JC medical assistant students have more than three times as much hands-on time in the classroom than before. The revamping also addressed new accreditation requirements for the program from the American Association of Medical Assistants.

“The old program was great for what the needs used to be,” Dr. Spencer said, “but our field is growing, and what medical assistants can do, and how physicians’ practices are using medical assistants, is growing as well.

“When we put students out into a medical practice during their last semester, I want them to be a genuine benefit to that office. By that time they have learned and performed almost every skill they need in an entry-level positon.

“What excites me is that medical assistants can do so much,” Dr. Spencer said. “They learn administrative functions, billing, and they might do injections, blood draws, EKGs, and even assist with surgeries.”

Currently, there are many more medical assistant jobs available than there are graduates to fill them. Graduates of the JC program receive Associate Degrees.

“When I was working as a medical assistant, the best part was that I got to know my patients,” she said. “Our patients were coming in regularly, unlike in a hospital setting, where patients come and go.”

This Health Care Angel wants to instill compassion and empathy in her students.

“Almost every student in this program sees my excitement, my passion, and they develop that passion, too,” Dr. Spencer said. The students also learn from her devotion to integrity.

“Dr. Spencer is a leader at JC, in and outside the classroom,” said Jeremy Frew, the college’s Dean of Occupational Education. “She is driven to make her students’ experience and lives better. Her drive and passion push all of us at JC to be better, make us want to do more, and push us to try to keep up.”

Jessica Decker, Clinical and Compliance Manager at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, has a similar opinion.

“The quality of medical assistants that Kristin puts through her program truly shows her devotion and love for the career,” Decker said. “Her involvement in the community as well as with the Jackson Chapter of Medical Assistants allows her to keep in touch with past students and watch them blossom in their careers.” Decker works closely with Dr. Spencer to place last-semester students within the health system, for vital clinical experience.

Dr. Spencer received Jackson College’s 2016 Outstanding Faculty award. She is the president of the Jackson Chapter of Medical Assistants.

Joy Sterrett

Joy Sterrett

Henry Ford Allegiance Health / RN, Bereavement Coordinator

Joy Sterrett is the gentle soul who stands at the side of grief-stricken parents in their darkest hour. As the bereavement coordinator at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, she’s on call 24/7 to give compassion and empathy to parents who lost a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.

“It’s heart-wrenching for the families,” said Sterrett. “They go from celebrating the life of their baby, planning a baby shower and happily looking forward to the future to finding out the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat and having their dreams shattered.”

When Sterrett knows there’s a family who has had a loss, she walks with them through their journey, answers their questions, takes care of their baby, treats them with dignity and respect and provides reminders of their baby’s short life that they’ll treasure forever.

Sterrett said the deaths of her twin brothers helped shape her vision and desire to understand grieving parents, including her own. Her twin brothers, Philip and Paul, were born prematurely. Philip lived only a day and a half. Sterrett’s mother made his burial outfit. Paul struggled with health problems since birth and passed away before his second birthday when Sterrett was an infant.

Her two pregnancies were anxious-filled months with worry for her, her husband, Doug, and stepdaughter, Rylee. Their first child, Chloe, is now 10; son Christian is 8; and, Rylee is 21.

Sterrett heads the Jackson Chapter of Angels Above Baby Gowns, whose volunteers make elegant burial gowns and wraps from donated wedding gowns. Volunteers also use the pearls and beads from the dresses to make matching bracelets for the babies and mothers. Other community volunteers knit and crochet hats, sweaters and blankets.

Sterrett assembles memory boxes for parents with photos she takes of the babies. She also makes molds of babies’ handprints and footprints and puts them on baseballs for dads. She adds a lock of hair (when possible) in a tiny box, “Always in My Heart” bracelets, matching ceramic necklaces for the babies and mothers, forget-me-not seeds and support handouts.

This year, the hospital purchased two cuddle cots. The cots have a special cooling pad that preserves tissue integrity and allows the stillborn baby to stay with the families and never leave the room. This gives the family valuable time to bond with their infant, Sterrett said.

A medical professional for 16 years and a registered nurse for 11 years, Sterrett instructs new nurses in the Nurse Residency Program on what the hospital’s bereavement programs offer. “It’s my calling in life to grow our bereavement program and to help as many families as I can,” said Sterrett.

Norma Walker

Norma Walker

Brooklyn Living Center / Dietary and Resident Aide

As a child, Norma Walker learned from her grandmother that it is important to make life the best it can be for other people. Therefore, Walker knew early on that she wanted to work in the health care profession.

Also, Walker’s father experienced kidney failure when she was a teen. As soon as she was old enough, she drove him the 30-plus miles each way to Toledo from their Ohio home, for kidney dialysis.

“They were going to put him on dialysis at home. I talked to the nurses and learned how to put him on the machine, do his blood pressure, and all that,” she said. A kidney became available for transplant before she started that home care, however.

She officially started in health care work when she was 17. She worked in housekeeping, then dietary, then became a CENA (a nurse aide), working near her Ohio home. She has worked “everywhere,” including in hospitals and nursing homes.

She brings her health care “angelness” to work six days a week at the Brooklyn Living Center, as a Dietary Aide/Resident Aide.

“I help set up the dining room for meals, pour coffee, help serve the food, do dishes, and help tear the dining room back down,” she said. She also delivers food to any residents who are not up to going to the dining room for a particular meal.

As a Resident Aide, she provides medication assistance, helps residents with getting dressed or getting shoes on or off, stands by during their showers, or helps them to the dining room.

“Sometimes I help them with making their bed or doing their dishes,” she said.

Walker is not an “8 to 5-er.” She works her regular 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. shift, but then, “if someone needs someone to stay with them at night, I’ll stay,” she said.

Her favorite part of her work is being a friend to the residents.

“I like listening to their stories,” she said, “where they’ve been, what they have to say. I want to help them feel at home here, and that someone cares about them.”

“Norma is our ‘go-to’ person for hospice patients,” according to Amy Manville, Brooklyn Living Center manager. “She has great technique with people who are not communicating well.”

Mary Smetana, whose late father was one of Walker’s Brooklyn Living Center residents, agreed.

“Dad accepted help from Norma, probably because she is such a kind person,” Smetana said. “She was one of the reasons Dad could remain at Brooklyn Living Center until he passed. Without her unselfish help, I don’t think that would have happened.”