The third annual Commitment to Compassion Luncheon put a bright spotlight on seven individuals from the health care industry who were nominated because of their kindness and compassion. Each recipient was genuinely humbled for being recognized for caring for others.

One of the recipients was Dr. Michael Imburgia, co-founder of the Have a Heart Clinic, who said he wanted to share the recognition with the other doctors, nurses and medical staff who volunteer their time to care for poor and/or uninsured patients.

There was Guy Harvey, whose official duty is cleaning up rooms for patients at Norton Children’s Hospital, but who is more known for his rapport with young patients with serious illness.

Another recipient of the Commitment to Compassion award, Heather Renee Hibbard, a nurse at Brown Cancer Center, does everything she can to make things easier for patients at the Brown Cancer Center.

Robin Goodman, a supervisor at Family Health Centers, took a leadership role in explanding integrated substance use services, in particular those struggling with opioid addictions.

Mary Lynn Spalding, CEO of Christian Care Communities, responded after a fire at the center with her unwavering compassion and made certain the delivery of care never faltered.

Sheila Carter, owner of Heartsong Memory Care, Sheila takes care in hiring staff that can understand the challenges of memory care and uphold the promises of justice and fidelity, which are two of the cornerstones of nursing.

Zella Fraze, a volunteer at Gilda’s Club, works as a front desk greeter several times each month, answering phones, welcoming guests, and assisting with office projects as needed.

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The emcee was Jean West, best known for her television reporting on health and medical topics. There was also a beautiful performance by the West Louisville Boys and Girls Choir.

The luncheon was moved to the Frazier History Museum due to flooding that closed the Muhammad Ali Center. It featured an inspiring message from Mayor Greg Fischer on the importance of compassion. He discussed his recent trip to India and a visit with the Dalai Lama, and how Louisville is now known globally as a city of compassion.

A three-member panel focused its message on compassion and health in the city’s West End. Members of the panel described specific initiatives designed to help West End residents. The panelists were Aja Barber of the Center for Health Equity, Karan Chavis, chief of staff at the University of Louisville’s Medical School, and Dr. Stephen J. Houghland, M.D. of Passport Health Plan.

The city’s official Commitment to Compassion celebration began three years ago, when Passport’s Jill Bell and Stephanie Barnett of ChooseWell Communities, along with members of the staff at Insider Louisville, came up with the idea of honoring health care professionals who show extraordinary compassion in their approach to their work, and their life. The program has grown dramatically in each of its three years.

“Our community is blessed with some amazing individuals who are truly committed to compassion in everything they do,” said Bell, vice president and chief communications officer at Passport. “It’s wonderful to be able to honor people who choose to care about other people and don’t expect to get an award for it.”

Table sponsors included ChooseWell Communities, Christian Care Communities, Facilities Management Services, Family Health Centers, Gilda’s Club, Heartsong Memory Care, Hosparus Health, Norton Healthcare, Passport Health Plan, Spalding University, University of Louisville Hospital, Insider Louisville, and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP.

Here are pictures from this touching event:

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The mission of the Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville is to champion and nurture the growth of compassion. We ask: ‘What does compassion want for Louisville?’


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