Press Release

AHA Awards Four Hospital Volunteer Programs

The American Hospital Association (AHA) will honor four hospital volunteer programs with Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE).  The AHA HAVE Awards Program is in its 28th year and highlights the extraordinary efforts of volunteer programs and the positive impact their contributions have on the patients, hospitals, health systems and communities they serve.

The winners fall into four categories: community service programs; community outreach and/or collaboration programs; fundraising programs; and in-service hospital volunteer programs.  Recipients of this year's prestigious award hail from Kentucky, Maryland, California and Illinois.  Representatives from these winning programs will receive their awards at the HAVE Awards Breakfast on Monday, April 11, during the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington.

The 2011 HAVE winners are:

Community Service Programs
Hope Clinic and Pharmacy
Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Danville, Ky.

The Hope Clinic and Pharmacy brings care to medically underserved patients in six rural counties in Kentucky.  Patients suffering from a chronic illness, with income falling below 150 percent of federal poverty levels and not receiving private insurance, VA, Medicare or Medicaid services, are screened for eligibility by the Salvation Army.

The program is a collaborative effort with Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Heart of Kentucky United Way, The Salvation Army, The Presbyterian Church of Danville and Boyle County Health Department.  Patients are seen at the Hope Clinic, located at 105 Daniel Drive in Danville, two days a week and are seen by caregivers recruited by Ephraim McDowell Volunteer Services.  Medication, also offered free of charge, is purchased by Ephraim McDowell at a discounted rate.  This clinic opened in 2006, operates with only two paid staff members and provides accessible, affordable health care to an underserved population. 

Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Programs
"Cards and Cocoa"
OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington, Ill.

Since 2006, the Volunteer Services Department of OSF St Joseph Medical Center has connected the community to its hospital patients by having volunteers create and write personal get-well and holiday greeting cards for patients through its annual Cards and Cocoa event.    

Over the past four years, more than 20,000 cards have been collected and delivered to hospital patients, nursing home residents, Salvation Army families and wounded service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.  Next year, there are plans to send cards to military men and women at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. 

These cards may include personal notes and stories, song lyrics, drawings and jokes.
Volunteers ages five to 87 have participated, and the event now includes the local children's museum, several public and private schools and faith organizations and attracts a variety of community volunteers - from Girl Scout troops and motorcycle clubs to local corporate leaders. 
This year, volunteers chose to hold the event on National Family Volunteer Day to encourage families to participate in writing greeting and get well cards.  Teaming up with the local Starbucks, the Children's Discovery Museum and The Fresh Market, Cards and Cocoa brings in local sponsors.  Additionally, OSF St. Joseph joined the "Disney Give a Day, Get a Day" program, and families who volunteered for a day received a pass at a Disney theme park. 

Fundraising Programs
Women's Board of Montgomery General Hospital
Montgomery General Hospital, Olney, Md.

Dedicated to raising funds for medical advancements, the Women's Board of Montgomery General Hospital (WBMGH) operates a thrift shop on hospital grounds and a gift shop in the main hospital, and organizes three major fundraising events each year.  WBMGH has raised nearly $10 million in the past 10 years to open a pediatric emergency room, purchase state-of-the-art cardiac technology and robotic surgical equipment and contribute to a capital campaign.  Additionally, the group has awarded $500,000 to students pursuing careers in health care in the last 10 years. 

For the past 90 years, WBMGH has held an annual picnic and bazaar, and engaged local community organizations such as the Lions Clubs and American Legion to help staff the event.  More than 500 volunteers participate in setting up tents, cooking and serving food, coordinating parking, providing entertainment and cleaning-up.  The annual event draws larger crowds each year.  The group prides itself on the families that pass down the volunteer spirit - some in the fifth  generation of involvement. 

In-Service Hospital Volunteer Programs
"Angels of the ER"
St. John's Heath Center, Santa Monica, Calif. 

Angels of the ER was created when the emergency room medical director noticed extended wait times and weekly complaint letters.  The Irene Dunne Guild, a volunteer group, formed the Angels of the ER to provide comfort and support to patients awaiting treatment.  As liaisons between patients and medical staff, the Angels offer a friendly smile, a sympathetic touch and a listening ear.  Sensitive to the emotional needs of patients and their families, the volunteers enhance patient care in the ER.

Under the supervision of the ER medical director, nursing director and a volunteer coordinator, the Angels are an appreciated presence in the hospital.  Angels receive rigorous training and are involved in monthly ER staff meeting updates.  Along with assisting patients and their families, Angels also support the ER in other ways, such as stocking and managing a Care and Share closet in the ER that has clothes and shoes for homeless patients or anyone else in need and provides toys for pediatric patients. With more than 50 volunteers, Angels of the ER is a popular volunteer service in the community and a waiting list is maintained.  Saint John's receives many letters of thanks for the Angels, praising the volunteers' compassion, caring and reassurance they provide during anxious moments. 

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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