Since 2004, Atrium Health has received thousands of nominations and recognized over 200 teammates with the Pinnacle Award – the highest honor a teammate can receive at Atrium Health for making an extraordinary impact on our teammates, patients and the communities we serve.  

This year, Pinnacle Award nominations took place across the enterprise – including Atrium Health Greater Charlotte, Atrium Health Navicent, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and our regional partners – to recognize, reward and honor teammates who best exemplify Our Culture Commitments:

We create a space where all Belong

We Work as One Team to make great things happen

We earn Trust in all we do

We Innovate to better the now and create the future

We drive for Excellence – always 

Nominate a Teammate for this year’s Pinnacle Award  

Nominations for this year’s Pinnacle Award will be accepted from Wednesday, July 13 through Friday, August 26.

Meet the 2021 Pinnacle Award Honorees 

The 2021 Pinnacle Award recognizes teammates who best exemplify our Culture Commitments.  From more than 1,050 nominations, 102 finalists were selected and of those finalists our 17 honorees were picked to represent “the best of the best” at Atrium Health.  

Ariel Avelar 
Senior Dietitian Nutritionist 
Atrium Health Pineville  

Ariel is not only an innovative dietitian, promoting best practices and standardization among clinical nutritionists at Atrium Health, she is also heavily involved in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Ariel is described as “genuinely caring about creating a space where we all belong.” She completed the Diversity Certificate Program, serves on the Southern Division DE&I Council, and co-initiated and co-chairs the Clinical Nutrition DE&I Committee. Ariel creates an environment of kindness and inclusion and is “an all-around role model” for the clinical nutrition team. Along with creating a space where all belong, Ariel encourages her team to work as one on a daily basis and always sets the bar high for herself and her teammates. 

Learn more about Ariel 
Shannon Carpenter 
Vice President, Adult Medical Specialties 
Atrium Health Medical Group  

Shannon is an administrative leader for Atrium Health Medical Group’s largest care division and this year she was selected to lead the COVID-19 vaccine task force. She oversaw the mass vaccination efforts all while managing the teams of providers most impacted by COVID-19. When challenges arose while planning a first of its kind vaccination effort, Shannon was always ready to face a problem and find solutions. She is described as “the first to want to understand the details, the first to reach out to others for support and the first to celebrate the progress of the team.” She never let the team lose sight of the goals to increase vaccination for teammates and the communities we serve. Her incredible commitment to a successful vaccine rollout inspires everyone she works with and “represents the best of who we are at Atrium Health.”   

Learn more about Shannon
Uricko Clark 
Armed Security Officer 
Atrium Health Mercy  

"Courageous,” “selfless” and “empathetic” are all words used by colleagues to describe Uricko. As a security officer, Uricko is tasked with keeping facilities safe for patients, visitors and teammates. This past year he has put himself in harm’s way to “answer the call to service.” He assesses situations quickly and with the utmost attention to detail. His team describes an instance where Uricko de-escalated a patient who threatened to harm themself. He engaged in conversation with the patient and gained their trust to safely help them get the care they needed. He goes above and beyond to save lives and prevent harm for those at our facilities.  

Learn more about Uricko 

Jennifer Cline 
Director, Rehabilitation Services 
Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center  

In nominating Jennifer for the Pinnacle Award, her colleague describes her as truly having a heart for patients and using that passion to fuel her innovation and leadership for the therapy team. She displays empathy to all our patients and advocates for therapeutic access in underserved communities. This led to the creation of an inpatient gym at Carolinas Medical Center, allowing more patients to regain their physical independence. Along with her leadership of new therapy initiatives at Atrium Health, Jennifer is also an advocate for her team’s professional development leading them to present at the 9th Annual Johns Hopkins Critical Care Rehabilitation Conference and winning. She puts the needs of her patients and teammates first to ensure they reach their highest potential.  

Learn more about Jennifer  

Rick Cornick 
Manager, Distribution Center 
Atrium Health Corporate Operations  

In one of his nominations, Rick was described as a perfect personification of our Culture Commitments saying, “we drive for excellence – always” because “he literally ‘drives’ for excellence.” Although Rick isn’t behind the wheel often, because he’s overseeing the coordination of the Distribution Center, he doesn’t mind stepping up and stepping into the driver’s seat if he sees a need. Rick touches everything from Holiday Cheer by picking up and delivering toys and gifts throughout the Greater Charlotte region to mass vaccination and testing events ensuring that all the needed items are delivered and available at these sites. Rick also represents Atrium Health in the Charlotte community partnering with local nonprofits, transportation and warehousing companies. Rick’s colleague said that even after a long, exhausting day, “he still has that smile and laugh because he knows he has made a positive impact for our patients and our community.”  

Learn more about Rick
Amanda Goodin-Sherrill, MSN, RN, CNOR  
Peri-Operative Safety Specialist  
Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist  

When caring for patients, Amanda not only exemplifies nursing excellence, but she goes above and beyond to make sure that patients are cared for after they leave our facilities. For example, she found housing for a surgery patient who recently lost their home as well as food assistance for a cancer patient with limited food access. Her kind-hearted and compassionate nature provides the highest standards of care to our patients. In her nomination, a colleague described Amanda’s commitment to the well-being of our teammates, patients and their families as extending to the welfare of our communities. She also represents Atrium Health in the community with her dedicated involvement in local volunteer work, helping hundreds of families.   

Learn more about Amanda 

Mandy Hamrick 
Manager, Perioperative Support Services 
Atrium Health Cleveland  

In her nomination submission, Mandy was described as putting “her heart and soul into her work every day.” She not only leads by example and supports her team’s personal development, but she also rises to the occasion in helping other departments, facilities and the community. In the early stages of COVID-19, Mandy worked with other hospitals in the U.S. to learn about using ultraviolet light robots to reprocess N95 masks during PPE shortages to ensure that frontline providers had the protection they needed to continue caring for patients. She also supports innovation to improve processes and developed a more economical and safer way for transport partners to move clinic instruments, which she shared with sterile processing teams across Atrium Health. As another nominator said, “Mandy truly has a heart of gold” and that’s evident in the work she, and the team she leads, does.   

Learn more about Mandy 

Janet Handy, MS, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE 
Assistant Vice President, Patient Care Services 
Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center  

With more than 50 years of nursing experience, teammates cannot praise Janet’s incredible impact enough. Patients describe her as bringing “hope, strength and vitality” and “exuding joy and hope, connecting to build bonds of trust and confidence.” Janet makes a personal connection with everyone around her and one of these connections led to a wedding in one patient’s room. Janet learned that a cancer patient with a poor prognosis had a daughter who was recently engaged. The daughter wanted her father at the wedding and Janet quickly orchestrated a small ceremony including decorations, photography, music and a reception with a three-tiered cake made by the hospital’s executive chef. Janet’s love and compassion made this father’s dying wish a treasured reality. Janet also advocates for nursing advancement and passionately supports the career development of her teammates while sharing her decades of incredible wisdom.  

Learn more about Janet  

Gregory Hathaway 
Director, Spiritual Care and Education 
Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center  

COVID-19 brought a lot of fear and unknown, adding to the challenges of healthcare providers. Greg saw these impacts and wanted to create a space to inspire teammates daily. Every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., a systemwide prayer time is offered to all teammates, allowing about 15 minutes to remind teammates that no one is fighting the pandemic alone. Greg launched this moment of hope in March 2020 and continues to write many of the prayers for the morning program. He also began virtual morning meditations as well as joining screening stations during change of shift to provide a warm welcome and music for those coming and going from their shifts. He has been described as “a bright, shining light during the pandemic for the last year” while supporting our teammates.  

Learn more about Gregory  

Tammy Holloway, RN 
Assistant Director, Associate Health 
Scotland Health Care System  

Compassion is a part of every interaction Tammy has with patients and teammates. Along with her normal duties, Tammy worked in our COVID-19 testing drive-thru as well as our community vaccination clinics. Tammy was working one of the clinics when a driver passed out and their car began circling the lot, endangering the driver, teammates and other patients. Teammates were unable to open the driver’s car door and Tammy sprang into action. She quickly assessed the situation and broke a window in order to turn off the car, saving the driver and all bystanders in the parking lot. She truly will do “whatever is necessary to ensure patients’ needs are met.”  

Learn more about Tammy 

Leisa Lackey 
Manager, Lung Screening 
Atrium Health Lung Programs  

Leisa is a leader who truly cares about the professional and personal lives of her teammates. She is described as the “definition of a servant leader” where “selflessness and caring for others come second nature to her.” Leisa personally arranged a bridal bouquet and boutonniere for one of her teammate’s weddings, safely delivered groceries and had daily check-ins for a teammate with COVID-19 exposure and organized dinners for teammates who worked in the heat of summer while wearing PPE. She has also shined a light on early detection for lung cancer, advocating for more teammates to help with screenings, tobacco cessation support and the new incidental lung nodule programs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women and as a cancer survivor herself, Leisa knows the importance of early detection and prevention. Her emphasis on a screening program has led to earlier detection and better patient outcomes.  

Learn more about Leisa

Cecilia Matos 
Unit Secretary 
Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital  

Cecilia “CiCi” has been a teammate for over 23 years and helped open Levine Children’s Hospital floor 6, home to the pediatric intensive care unit and the cardiovascular intensive care unit, in 2007. She kindly and compassionately interacts with patients and families who are under a great deal of stress. Although CiCi isn’t a medical interpreter, she communicates with Latino families and builds trust between our teammates and patients. She is described as having “grace and patience” that allows all our staff to focus on LCH 6 patients and families. CiCi is the glue that keeps the unit together and she “embodies the spirit of Atrium Health.”   

Learn more about Cecilia

Diane Mulkey, RN 
Atrium Health Pineville  

Described in her nomination as “encouraging, empowering and uplifting,” Diane’s almost 25 years as a labor and delivery nurse are invaluable. Diane keeps everyone calm amidst any chaos as she “reminds us of our knowledge and skills as nurses.” She not only goes above and beyond but often stays a step ahead as well by taking care of needs before the team even realizes there is a need. Diane not only connects with her teammates to create an environment of trust and respect, but she also connects with her patients, providing them with confidence that makes each patient feel lucky to have been in her care. She sets the bar for leaders and nurses, with one teammate saying, “I want to be Diane when I grow up!”  

Learn more about Diane 

Scott Stinson 
Executive Director 
Continuing Care Services  

Scott is a “shining star” who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. He looks for improvement opportunities daily while keeping patients at the forefront of everything he does. In one nomination he’s described as “nothing short of spectacular.” At the height of COVID-19 he worked seven days a week in addition to being an extra driver so acute partners had ventilators for patients. When teammates were exhausted by the pandemic, Scott would inspire them with a fun song and video to uplift their spirits – “these are little things” but they’re “also important things.” Scott’s drive for excellence led to At Home Home Medical Equipment (HME) providing all durable medical equipment to Atrium Hospice and home care patients, leading to substantial financial savings as well as increased control of services. This partnership will positively impact our patients and families by providing equipment more quickly and efficiently.  

Learn more about Scott

Prentice Thomas 
Nurse Director 
Atrium Health Navicent  

Prentice is described by a nominator as “a genuine role-model and mentor” who truly cares about his patients and teammates. Patients remark on how he treats them like family and say they can see how incredible his leadership is. Prentice cares for his team, often cooking and bringing in meals for teammates who work on holidays. He is a humble leader who seeks input from his teammates and promotes the growth and well-being of everyone he works with. When a husband and wife, both teammates, were experiencing the loss of a parent, Prentice made sure that they knew he cared and supported them during this difficult time. His thoughtful actions and attention “made a difference.”  

Learn more about Prentice

Lauren Van Laethem 
Exercise Specialist
Atrium Health Carolinas Rehabilitation Charlotte  

Lauren’s nominator says that her exemplary work has a common theme - “belong to overcome.” She thoughtfully takes the time to help patients heal from the inside out. As one patient with a spinal cord injury visited Lauren in hopes that his muscles could be brought back, “his time belonged to Lauren” and in turn, he “belonged to a system of health and care.” Her thoughtfulness and assistance led him to develop a plan to think about college and is now a university graduate with a finance degree. Another patient who was very introverted, hated depending on others and suffered the loss of her adult child, experienced feeling very low. Lauren connected with the patient and the patient realized “the power of belonging” while working with Lauren and the patient’s mind began to heal. Lauren meets patients who are facing life-altering changes and helps them “belong to a new self.” She “quietly unpacks the complexities of severe injuries and repackages a human with optimized potential.”  

Learn more about Lauren

Stephanie Vinson 
Clinical Lab Assistant 
Atrium Health Lincoln  

Stephanie is “dedicated” and has “contagious enthusiasm” that makes everyone feel like they belong. She actively engages teammates, especially watching out for anyone who may feel overlooked. Her positive light experienced by teammates carries over to her patient interactions. She builds relationships with patients and their caregivers that makes them feel like they are at the center of every decision she makes. She has overseen numerous process improvement projects and seeks to understand the “why” behind processes in order to create optimization. One nominator said that as healthcare professionals, “we have those people we can trust to bring us back to why we serve in our healthcare roles, and I can proudly say that Stephanie is that person for me.”  

Learn more about Stephanie