‘Doc Willett’ award winners announced | SteamboatToday.com

‘Doc Willett’ award winners announced

Birch, McCaulley to be honored for health care contributions

Sue Birch will be leaving her job with Governor John Hickenlooper and moving to Washington where she will take a position with that state's Governor Jay Inslee.

— Two highly respected local health care professionals have been named the 2012 recipients of the Doc Willett Health Care Heritage Awards.

Sue Birch and Dr. Mark McCaulley will receive their awards Aug. 24 during a ceremony at Strings Music Pavilion.

"I'm honored and humbled," said Birch, executive director of Colorado's Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. She is the former CEO of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

Birch said the real credit for the award goes to the staff that supported her during her tenure at the VNA.

"You always get a little teary about these things," Birch said.

Birch was described in one nomination letter as "a futuristic person and always dreaming of better ways to address health care issues," according to a release announcing the awards from the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley.

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Birch still lives in Steamboat and commutes to Denver during the week. She will receive the 2012 Health Care Community Advocate Award.

The 2012 Health Care Professional Award is being given to McCaulley, who practices out of Yampa Valley Medical Associates.

Those who nominated Mc­­Caulley noticed similarities between him and Doc Willett, a pioneering local physician in Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

"Dr. McCaulley asks questions and discusses our feelings and — like Dr. Willett, giving us assurance of the future — he too makes us know we're going to see another day. He instills in us the same confidence that Dr. Willett did years ago," one nomination letter read.

The awards that Birch and McCaulley will receive are a tribute to the roots of hospital care in Routt County. They are named after Dr. Frederick E. Willett, who served Steamboat Springs and neighboring communities for 56 years.

The awards are presented by the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley, which serves as the fundraising arm for Yampa Valley Medical Center.

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