Patient Family-Centered Care Champion Award Winners

Previous Partner in Excellence Winners

Partners in Excellence 2017 Winners group photo

Multiple Winners (2017)

All six of our 2017 Champion Award Winners were recognized as Partner’s in Excellence.  We congratulate Lisa Franklin, Dana McLure, Vilma Carnahan, Janet Giordano, Brittany Cochran, and Michael Vetro for their contributions.

Ray Bunker

Ray Bunker (2016)

Facilities Design and Construction

John Curran

John Curran (2015)

Facilities Design and Construction

Kathryn Berry-Carter

Kathryn Berry-Carter (2014)

Volunteer Services

Miss Penny Tramontozzi

Miss Penny Tramontozzi (2013)

Volunteer Services

Justin Baker, MD

Justin Baker, MD (2012)



Previous Champion Award Winners


Lisa Franklin
Dana McLure
Vilma Carnahan
Janet Giordano
Brittany Cochran
Michael Vetro


Angela Eftink
Sherry Johnson
Ray Bunker


Debra Cherry
Regina Simmons
Dr. Kip Guy
Janice English
Jennifer Smith
Amy Scott
Jennifer Windham
Cheri Wilkerson
Crystal Melloh
Yvonne Carroll
Kathy Steuer
John Bailey
Aundrea Ellis
Barbara Joyner


Clark Gwaltney
Darlene Quarles
Dr. William Evans
Barbara David
Judy Hicks
Laurie Leigh
JoAnne Jackson
Shane Cross
Wendy Pierce
Scott Perry
Traci Adams
Morgan Hayes


Brent Powell
Kathryn Berry-Carter
Dr. Jeff Rubnitz
Penny Tramontozi
John Curran
Miles McMath
Dr. Justin Baker
Lynda Lacher
Brin Schaechtel
Jerry Lampen
Leah Brooks
Nikki Branch
Pam Dotson


Previous Nomination Ballots

Jennifer Smith with Debbie Higgins

Left to right: Jennifer Smith with Debbie Higgins

Nomination for Jennifer Smith by Wendy Avery

I would like to nominate Jennifer Smith from Child Life.  Jennifer has served as Co-Chair on the Day of Remembrance Planning Committee and is currently serving as a staff member on the Quality of Life Steering Council. 

Jennifer works very well with FCC parents as a member of the QoL Steering Council and provides a valuable perspective as a Child Life specialist.  She is professional, caring, has a great sense of humor, and is always thinking of ways to better things for our families and patients.  When Jennifer recently had the opportunity to present a webinar for Child Life specialists in other hospitals, she creatively found a way to integrate the family experience into the presentation.

I am always happy to have a chance to work with Jennifer!

Katie Witsoe with Laurie Leigh

Left to right: Katie Witsoe with Laurie Leigh

Nomination of Laurie Leigh by Katie Witsoe

Laurie Leigh is someone who has been a longtime supporter of Family-Centered Care, and has consulted with the Family Advisory Council several times, since its beginning in 2007. More recently however, Laurie Leigh has become a true partner in communication and program development.

The Family Support subcommittee of the Family Advisory Council was interested in discussing the options for a student tutoring program, possibly to be developed through the hospital’s school program. Meeting with Laurie directly, the members of the subcommittee shared their ideas and rationale for developing this type of program. Through Laurie’s efforts and coordination with Volunteer Services, we anticipate a tutoring program for patients to become a reality. Laurie was encouraging and supportive and was a driving force in implementing the concept very quickly. Through this initiative Laurie is truly a leader in family centered care and we want to honor her with this award.

Debbie Cherry

Debbie Cherry

Kelly Waddell

Kelly Waddell

Nomination for Debbie Cherry by Kelly Waddell

I would like to nominate Debra Cherry, a nurse in the TTU/Ambulatory Care Unit, Assessment/Triage.  We have known Debbie since Caleb became a patient at St. Jude in 2002, when she worked in the PCC A/T.  Debbie has never been just about doing her job.  She has always treated us like family and made Caleb feel special, requesting he sing to her every time she saw him.  Anyone that can take a child's mind off the needle he is about to get is pretty special in my book!  Year after year, as we come back to the hospital, Caleb still asks where Mrs. Debbie is.  And he loves it that she still asks him to sing to her, even if he refuses because he is too cool for that now! 

You could probably get a similar story from many patients regarding Debbie Cherry. Just about every day a patient comes to TTU Assessment Triage looking for Ms. Debbie. She is wonderful with the patients. She has been known to calm down an irate patient just by saying, “Now you know I’m your friend.” There are patients who learned to love her and trust her when they were younger and were St. Jude patients and now completely trust her skills as they bring their child here for treatment. She is very much a team player and is always looking to help out when needed. Whether it is starting a much needed IV for an Endocrine Stim test, helping to hold a patient for an injection, or checking the crash cart for a co-worker who has the day off she exemplifies teamwork and excellence. Debbie is a wonderful nurse and team mate.


More Information


The St. Jude Family Advisory Council (FAC) recognizes hospital staff whose actions and attitude promotes and supports Patient Family-Centered Care (PFCC). Nominate a staff member here.

Nominate a Champion