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Kaweah Health Names 2022 Employee of the Year

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Kaweah Health Names 2022 Employee of the Year

Recognizes top doctors, nurses, and employees 

VISALIA – Kaweah Health named its 2022 Employee of the Year and recognized its top doctors, nurses, and employees this week in Visalia.

The health system hosted its annual Starlight Awards ceremony on May 11, honoring more than 100 individuals at the historic Visalia Fox Theatre. It was the first in-person awards ceremony for Kaweah Health since the pandemic and it was held during National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 8-14). Kaweah Health Chief Executive Officer Gary Herbst opened the ceremony thanking the brave men and women of the Visalia Fire and Police Departments for their roles in saving the Fox Theatre from the recent downtown fire.

A highlight of the evening was the announcement of the 2022 Employee of the Year, which went to Mark Wilson, who for the past 14 years has served as a Chaplain at Kaweah Health. He won a week-long vacation, a parking spot for a year, and was recognized with certificates of recognition presented by Amy Shuklian, District 3 Tulare County Supervisor; Liz Wynn, Visalia City Council Member for District 1. He also received a certificate of recognition presented on behalf of Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield).

“Mark is every bit one of Kaweah Health’s most outstanding employees and absolutely deserving to be named our Employee of the Year,” said Herbst, who went on to read Wilson’s nomination. “Mark Wilson works tirelessly to provide world-class care to everyone he meets throughout Kaweah Health. Several years ago Mark was in a terrible a biking accident that could’ve killed him. He persevered through months of intense physical and cognitive therapy to emerge with a new determination and renewed passion for serving. He has a true servant’s heart and lives it out each day. During each surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark has been at the bedside of innumerable patients.”

In addition to being a full-time Chaplain at Kaweah Health, Wilson is a full-time pastor at Sierra Baptist Church in Visalia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from California Baptist University, a master’s degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and he is a Ph.D. candidate at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.

Throughout the evening, Kaweah Health also recognized its top nurses; there are more than 1,600 nurses serving the community. Winners included winners for:

Advancing New Knowledge and Innovation-Yu Li Chen, RN 4South

Advancing Practice- Cody Ericson, RN Advanced Practice Team

Service to Society- Janet Furtado, RN 4South

Excellence in Nursing Leadership- Andrea Hodgkins, RN Nurse Manager 3North

Kaweah Health also recognized its top awards for physicians, which included:

Outstanding Physician of the Year: Ryan Howard, M.D.

Outstanding Resident of the Year: Richard Nho, D.O.

Additionally, Kaweah Health recognized employees for Excellence in Service and Inspirational Leadership by division. Award winners included:

Chief Information & Cybersecurity Officer

Excellence in Service: Brian Oldziewski, IT Administrator I-Server

Inspirational Leader: Ethan Jones, ERP Applications Manager

Kaweah Health Medical Group Chief Executive Officer

Excellence in Service: Rosalinda Bautista, Medical Business Office Assistant

Inspirational Leader: Natalia Reyna, KHMG Clinical Services Manager

Chief Medical Education Officer, Designated Institutional Official

Excellence in Service: Jessica Esteves, Administrative Assistant

Inspirational Leader of the Year: Krystal De Acevedo, Graduate Medical Educational Manager

Chief Financial Officer

Excellence in Service: Sonia Solis, Financial Analyst

Inspirational Leader: Larissa Dodson, Sr Financial Analyst

Chief Compliance & Risk Officer

Excellence in Service: Laree Irving, Risk Management Coordinator

Inspirational Leader: Evelyn McEntire, Director of Risk Management

Chief Strategy Officer

Excellence in Service: Maria Rodriguez Ornelas, Communications Specialist

Inspirational Leader: Deborah Volosin, Director of Community Engagement

Chief Population Health Officer

Kaweah Care: Kelli Larson, Database Reporting Analyst

Inspirational Leader: Crystal Clark, Pop Health Data Analytics Supervisor

Chief Operating Officer

Kaweah Care: Teresa Kenner, Application Analyst III; Bao Vang, Lab Services Coordinator

Inspirational Leader of the Year: Renee Lauck, Director Imaging & Radiation Services; Deborah Salazar, Nurse Manager

Chief Nursing Officer

Kaweah Care: Melissa Pinheiro, RN-Field Infection Prevention; Sonya Fajardo, Certified Nursing Assistant; Julie Arciaga-Tuvera, Registered Nurse

Inspirational Leader of the Year: Rebekah Piche, Nurse Manager; Maribel Aguilar, Safety Officer/Life Safety Manager; Andrea Hodgkins, Nurse Manager

Chief Human Resources Officer

Kaweah Care: Valerie Lee, HR Specialist

Inspirational Leader: Raleen Larez, Director of Employee Relations & Engagement

Chief Executive Officer

Kaweah Care: Marc Mertz, Chief Strategy Officer

Inspirational Leader: Malinda Tupper, Chief Financial Officer

For a complete list of winners, visit

Kaweah Health is a publicly-owned community healthcare organization that provides comprehensive health services to the greater Visalia region and Tulare County. With over 5,700 dedicated medical professionals and employees, Kaweah Health is committed to meeting the community’s health needs and providing patients with a personal, professional, and compassionate healthcare experience by offering state-of-the-art medicine, high-quality preventive services and specialized health centers and clinics. For more information, visit