Some seven years ago, Louisville made a 10-year commitment to a public campaign to raise awareness and lift the city’s reputation as a “Compassionate City.”

Today you can find messages at many of the city’s industries, companies and organizations that appeal to citizens to bring a heart for compassion to their life and work. Mayor Greg Fischer has been an enthusiastic leader of the city’s compassion mission, raising the topic at dozens of events and speeches.

In the health care field, that commitment to compassion is showcased every year when the Compassionate Louisville organization honors individuals who exhibit compassionate qualities in the way they live and work.

Mary Lynn Spalding

This series at Insider Louisville is spotlighting the seven winners of this year’s awards, who were recognized at a February luncheon held at the Frazier History Museum. Previously, we’ve spotlighted Robin Goodman of the Family Health Centers, Guy Harvey of Norton Children’s Hospital, Heather Renee Hubbard of the Brown Cancer Center and Dr. Michael Imburgia of the Have a Heart Clinic.

Mary Lynn Spalding carries a “can do” focus in her life as President and CEO of Christian Care Communities. She oversees a statewide staff of nearly 1,000, yet when a fire destroyed the kitchen at a West Louisville facility in 2015, it was Spalding who personally made sure that 100 seniors saw their needs met. She says she has a “purpose-filled calling” and a mission to enhance the journey of life for older adults.

It takes a high level of compassion to help dementia patients, and Sheila Carter has been doing it since a young age. Seeing a need for dementia care in the South End, she started Heartsong Memory Care and takes pride in working with families, who know they can ask her any question about their loved ones. Carter encourages her staff to uphold the promises of justice and fidelity, two cornerstones of nursing.

Sheila Carter

Visitors never know where they’ll run into Zella Fraze at Gilda’s Club, because she has volunteered in nearly every part of the operation. She brings her cheerful attitude to all her volunteering efforts, whether it’s greeting guests, answering calls from those newly-diagnosed with cancer, or representing Gilda’s Club at community events.

Dozens of people from throughout the city’s health care sector were nominated for awards, and these special recipients are most deserving. That doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens and dozens of other individuals who go above and beyond their job duties to extend kindness and compassion to their patients, their colleagues and the broader community.

Their work is valuable in creating a compassionate community. The Compassionate Louisville organization actively celebrates compassion and the dedicated folks in the health care community who demonstrate compassion on a day-to-day and person-by-person basis.

Zella Fraze

Created by Passport Health Plan and the Healthcare Constellation of Compassionate Louisville three years ago, and supported by Insider Louisville, the annual luncheon continues to grow and put a spotlight on the countless compassionate caregivers in our community.

The Compassionate Care Luncheon began when Stephanie Barnett of ChooseWell Communities and Jill Bell of Passport Health Plan collaborated on Jill’s idea to showcase champions of compassion from the city’s health care community. Insider Louisville got on board, and, today, more than a dozen local organizations have sponsored and actively participated in the event.

It won’t be long before it’s time to start nominating individuals for the 2018 awards, so keep your eyes open for those selfless people who care more about others than themselves, and exhibit compassion in all that they do.

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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