Tomah Memorial Hospital along with the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) honored Dr. Michael Saunders, M.D. for his dedication to rural health care during a ceremony at the Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Health Care Clinic in Tomah, May 21.
“Since 2004, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative has made available a special award that recognizes those working in health care at RWHC hospitals- like Tomah Memorial that have gone above the call of duty while making significant contributions to rural health,” Tomah Memorial CEO Phil Stuart said during the award presentation.
“As a Family Practice physician at the Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Health Care Clinic in Tomah, Dr. Saunders has had a distinguished career in the local health care community,” Stuart said. “Since first arriving in Tomah in 1984, Dr. Saunders has served on various boards and committees at TMH - over and above his main job responsibilities.”
Stuart said Tomah Memorial has participated in the award program the last 14 years, and nominated Saunders based on his “support of community health activities beyond the scope of the hospital while fostering positive communications and relations within our organization and service area.”
Stuart cited a few examples of Saunders’ service including hospital medical staff president, medical staff executive committee member, TMH board of director’s medical staff representative, peer review committee and medical staff bylaws committee member, and hospital staff instructor.
Stuart also acknowledged Saunders’ work with the St. Clare Health Mission of Monroe County- a volunteer run, non-profit medical clinic in Sparta. “When you consider the hectic schedule of a family practice physician, it is a true testament of his passion and dedication to health care, and in his case, rural health care that places him in a special category of health care providers,” Stuart added.
Saunders was one of 14 people throughout Wisconsin to receive the award established in 2004.
“After reading the nomination submission, I believe Dr. Michael Saunders embodies the heart and soul of this award,” said Daniel Stich, RWHC director of health plan contracting. “Truly a deserving rural ambassador,” Stich said of Saunders.
Incorporated in 1979, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative in Sauk City, receives national recognition as one of the country's earliest and most successful models for networking among rural hospitals. RWHC serves as a catalyst for regional collaboration and as an influential and creative force on behalf of rural communities and rural health.
RWHC is owned and operated by 40 rural hospitals, including Tomah Memorial Hospital.