WHA Awards

For more than 55 years, the Wisconsin Hospital Association has honored individuals who have served the health care community. WHA’s annual awards have recognized a broad array of distinguished health care leaders throughout Wisconsin including health care executives, public officials, health care trustees, auxilians, clergy, educators and physicians for their extensive service in support of health care.


The AHA Grassroots Champion Award was created to recognize those hospital leaders who most effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect the hospital’s vital role in the community, who have done an exemplary job in broadening the base of community support for the hospital and who are tireless advocates for hospitals and their patients.

Reedsburg Area Medical Center's Bob Van Meeteren Receives AHA Grassroots Champion Award

Every year, one individual in each state is honored as a “Grassroots Champion” by the American Hospital Association (AHA) in consultation with state hospital associations. This year, WHA nominated Reedsburg Area Medical Center’s (RAMC) President and CEO Bob Van Meeteren to receive the AHA Grassroots Champion Award for his service and efforts.
Van Meeteren regularly participates in WHA grassroots advocacy initiatives, including responding to Hospitals Education & Advocacy Team (HEAT) Action Alerts, attending WHA's Advocacy Day in Madison and making trips to Washington, D.C. for Capitol Hills. Van Meeteren is also active in the Wisconsin Hospitals State PAC & Conduit, personally contributing to the program, explaining the importance of this type of advocacy to others and engaging with candidates through special events.
WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding presented the award to Van Meeteren in Reedsburg on July 18.

“Bob has done an exemplary job educating elected officials on the public policy issues affecting hospitals across the country and in Wisconsin,” said Borgerding. “WHA was pleased to nominate Bob for this well-deserved award, and we know he will continue to be an advocacy model for others.” Read more.


Advocacy All-Star Award: recognizes one hospital or health care system each year that exemplifies dedication to grassroots advocacy.

Stoughton Health Receives 2023 Advocacy All-Star Award from WHA

Stoughton Health received the 2023 Advocacy All-Star Award at Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) annual Advocacy Day event on April 19 in Madison attended by nearly 1,000 hospital advocates. Presented by Kari Hofer, WHA Vice President of External Affairs, the award recognizes one hospital or health care system that exemplifies a dedication to grassroots advocacy.

“Stoughton Health always has a strong showing at WHA’s Advocacy Day, but Stoughton Health is also strongly committed to the ongoing grassroots process, making sure their advocates contact their lawmakers on both state and federal issues all year long,” said Hofer. “Stoughton has been a consistent and strong advocate, and we appreciate their advocacy partnership and leadership.”

Stoughton Health President and CEO Dan DeGroot accepted the award on behalf of the organization and said, “Stoughton Health’s receiving this award is a great reflection on our steadfast commitment along with that of the larger Healthcare community to Advocacy. At the end of the day, what we all are trying to achieve is creating a better health care delivery system to enhance our ability to care for our patients and communities.”

Stoughton Health actively participates on WHA’s board of directors, councils and work groups, attends advocacy events and engages with state and federal lawmakers in their districts. Individuals from the hospital are also actively involved in the Hospital Education and Advocacy Team (HEAT), a statewide network designed to facilitate grassroots involvement on state and federal issues that impact Wisconsin hospitals. Read more. 


Health Care Advocate Award: presented in recognition of partnership with WHA in supporting issues that enable the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care in Wisconsin.

Rep. Mark Born Receives 2023 Advocate of the Year Award from WHA

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) has recognized State Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) with the Association’s 2023 Health Care Advocate of the Year Award.

Born was honored at WHA’s annual Advocacy Day event on April 19 in Madison for his partnership with local hospital leaders and his support for legislation to provide necessary Medicaid funding to hospitals, remove unnecessary regulations and bolster the state’s health care workforce.

Marshfield Medical Center – Beaver Dam Chief Administrative Officer Angelia Foster presented Born with the award at WHA’s Advocacy Day attended by nearly 1,000 hospital advocates.

“Rep. Born has not only been a responsive state representative, but he has also been a proactive ally and supporter of everything we do,” said Foster. “Today, hospitals are dealing with some of the most challenging times that most of us have ever encountered in our careers. Mark knows these challenges firsthand due to his relationship with [our hospital] and his work on the UW Hospital board of directors. And he is already working to address many of these issues in the upcoming state budget, because he knows these problem impact access to quality patient care.”

“Hospitals are a key foundation of our state’s health care system, providing critical access to essential medical services in every corner of our state,” said Rep. Born. “I appreciate working alongside the Wisconsin Hospital Association to help ensure that people throughout Wisconsin have access to high-quality health care.” Read more


WHA Distinguished Service Award: honors senior health care executives who have made an exemplary commitment to WHA and the communities they serve.

Bellin and Gundersen Health System’s Woleske Recognized with WHA 2023 Distinguished Service Award

WHA has awarded its 2023 Distinguished Service Award to Chris Woleske, executive vice president for Bellin and Gundersen Health System and Bellin region president. The award was presented to Woleske by WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding during the Bellin and Gundersen Health System Board of Directors meeting in Green Bay on Jan. 30, 2024.
Woleske was nominated for the award by Scott Rathgaber, MD, CEO of Bellin and Gundersen Health System. In his letter of nomination, Rathgaber said, “It is apparent that Chris Woleske, JD, FACHE represents every quality listed as criteria for this award. She has shown a commitment to her community and the healthcare industry at large to improve care for all. She has been an inspirational leader in her organization, in her community, at the state and national level, and at WHA.” Read more.


WHA Trustee Award: honors trustees of WHA member organizations who have made an exemplary commitment to their hospital and to the community they serve.

Gundersen Boscobel’s Jerry Berge Receives WHA 2023 Trustee Award

WHA has honored Gerald “Jerry” Berge of Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics with its 2023 Trustee Award. WHA Immediate Past Board Chair John Russell, president and CEO of Prairie Ridge Health in Columbus, presented the award to Berge on Nov. 1.
In presenting the award to Berge, Russell said, “Jerry is a true ambassador for Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics. His engagement is contagious as evidenced by his constant presence at important employee and community-focused events, meetings and celebrations. His ability to connect with people from all backgrounds, beliefs and roles is a real gift. There is no mistaking Jerry’s level of commitment to the organization, the team and the communities.” Read more.


WHA Trustee Award: honors trustees of WHA member organizations who have made an exemplary commitment to their hospital and to the community they serve.

Stoughton Health’s Tom Fendrick Receives WHA 2023 Trustee Award

WHA has honored Tom Fendrick of Stoughton Health with one of its 2023 Trustee Awards. The award was presented by WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding on Nov. 27.
Fendrick has served on the Stoughton Health Governing Board since 2017. During that time, he embraced the opportunity to serve in leadership roles serving as secretary/treasurer, vice chair, chair and past chair. He currently serves on the Finance Committee, Executive Committee, and Governance Committees. He regularly attends WHA’s Advocacy Day, as well as connects personally with his elected representatives on behalf of Stoughton Health. He also attends the WHA Rural Health Conference regularly to learn more about effective governance.
“In so many ways Tom has exemplified volunteer leadership and community service,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “It is truly my honor to present this year’s Wisconsin Hospital Association Trustee Award to Tom Fendrick.” Read more.


WHA Lifetime Achievement Award:  given to a member in recognition of leadership, service and partnership with WHA in advocating for better health care for Wisconsin communities.

Jerry Worrick Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

The President and CEO of Door County Medical Center, Gerald “Jerry” Worrick, was honored with WHA’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Rural Health conference.  Door County Medical Center is a critical access facility serving approximately 29,000 people from Door and Kewaunee counties year-round. That number explodes when more than 1.25 million visitors descend upon Door County every summer.

Worrick received the award in recognition of his leadership, service, and partnership with WHA in advocating for better health care for Wisconsin communities—serving a combined 45 years for WHA.  He served on the WHA Board for eight years, including serving as chair in 2003.  Worrick has been part of the Nominating and Awards, Council on Public Policy, the Property, Financial Solutions and Advocacy committees—and last but certainly not least, on the Council on Rural Health for 14 years.