Pioneer Award

Created by THA’s Rural Hospital Constituency Council, the Pioneer Award honors a rural hospital administrator or CEO who demonstrates creative and innovative leadership in the organization and community he or she serves.

Every year since 2004, THA has honored one rural hospital CEO with the Pioneer Award. Each recipient has set a standard of excellence in leadership and community service that exemplifies THA’s commitment to the health care industry.

Nominees must be a CEO or administrator of a rural/small hospital that is an active Type 1 THA member. 

Selection Criteria
Nominees must demonstrate creative or innovative management achievements and leadership within their organizations and the communities served. Nominees also may be recognized for their collective body of work following several years of service as a rural hospital executive.

Nominations may be supported by letters; press releases; financial information; information about patient outcomes, programs and services; and any other information that validates the candidate’s leadership achievements (maximum 15 pages, including CV/resume).

Nominations may be submitted by a member of the Rural Hospital Constituency Council, a member of the nominee’s hospital staff, or a member of the community served by the hospital.

Selection Process
The Rural Hospital Constituency Council reviews all nominations and selects the award recipient by majority vote.

The honoree will be featured in THA publications and recognized at the THA 2021 Annual Conference and Expo Jan. 26-27 in Austin.

Step 1. Complete the nomination form.

Step 2. Attach up to 15 pages of supporting documents, including a one-page summary of the nominee’s professional achievements and contributions to the health care industry.

Step 3. Be sure all materials are completed and SUBMITTED by Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020.

Questions? Contact Ollie Jo Bozeman at or 512/465-1007.

Pioneer Award Recipients

2019: Nathan Tudor, CEO, El Campo Memorial Hospital

2018: Robbie Dewberry, CEO, Mitchell County Hospital, Colorado City

2017: J. Patrick Murray, president/CEO , Peterson Regional Medical Center, Kerrville

2016: Dianne Yeager, RN, CEO, Crane Memorial Hospital

2015: Brian Burnside, FACHE, CEO, Connally Memorial Medical Center, Floresville

2014: Janice Simons, FACHE, CEO, Medina Healthcare System, Hondo

2013: William H. Barnes, FACHE, administrator/CEO, Sweeny Community Hospital

2012: Penny Gray, RN, administrator/CEO, Limestone Medical Center, Groesbeck

2011: James E. Vanek, administrator/CEO, Lavaca Medical Center, Hallettsville

2010: Karen Barber, RN, CEO, Yoakum Community Hospital

2009: Keith Butler, CEO, Lillian M. Hudspeth Memorial Hospital, Sonora

2008: Teresa Callahan, RN, CEO, Iraan General Hospital

2007: Russell Tippin, administrator/CEO, Pecos Memorial Hospital, Fort Stockton

2006: Sandra Jackson, Ed.D., RN, CEO/chief nursing officer, Tyler County Hospital, Woodville

2005: Robert A. Pascasio, administrator and CEO, Bayside Community Hospital, Anahuac

2004: Michael Hare, CEO, DeLeon Hospital and Evan Moore, CEO, Comanche Community Hospital