Selected as Finalist for the 2007 Foster G. McGaw Prize

The Foster G. McGaw PrizeChicago - In recognition of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community, Riverside Health System in Newport News, Va., has been named a national finalist for the 2007 Foster G. McGaw Prize – one of the most prestigious honors for excellence in community service in healthcare. The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by the American Hospital Association (AHA), The Baxter International Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation. As a finalist, Riverside Health System will receive $10,000.

“The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes healthcare organizations that set a high standard for improving the lives of people in their communities. The winner and finalists this year are wonderful examples of the things that are happening in healthcare today,” said Susan Manilow, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. “Through innovative leadership and partnerships, sustained commitment, and wide-ranging initiatives that achieve striking results in community health and vitality, these organizations truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

Riverside Health System has served the communities in eastern Virginia since 1916 and has grown to be a progressive and comprehensive not-for-profit healthcare organization. Riverside operates three acute care hospitals, a psychiatric hospital and Virginia’s largest physical rehabilitation hospital. In addition, Riverside provides several long-term care facilities and runs a number of continuing care retirement communities, wellness centers and home care programs throughout the region with a strong emphasis on the traditionally underserved rural communities.

“The Foster G. McGaw Prize honors those healthcare organizations that set the example for the nation in community involvement,” said Richard J. Pearce, CEO, Riverside Health System. “It is an honor to be recognized for our long-standing leadership in healthcare and commitment to the communities in southeastern Virginia, and to be the first Virginia hospital ever to receive this high national honor.”

Riverside Health System is being recognized for its unique and innovative leadership role in building healthier communities, including:

  • People to People - Created by Riverside executives and community leaders, People to People is dedicated to identifying, addressing and improving race relations and quality of life issues within the community. Riverside partners with a number of local organizations to improve communications, listening skills and diversity training for all interested residents. In addition, People to People joined with the National Conference for Community and Justice Organization to create a diversity training program for high school students. The intensive four-day retreat invites students to examine race, gender and religious prejudices openly and honestly among their peers.
  • An Achievable Dream - Founded in 1992, this comprehensive educational program enrolls more than 1,000 students from poor homes in Newport News. The program began with an elementary school and
    includes a middle and high school program. As part of the year-round curriculum that aims to increase opportunities for inner-city children, students wear uniforms, learn appropriate diction, and attend cultural events. An Achievable Dream has been recognized as one of the most successful inner city school programs in the nation.
  • Riverside Ask-A-Nurse - For 17 years, this program has offered free triage, health information and physician referrals. The phone service, staffed by a registered nurse, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and receives more than 89,000 calls annually. Riverside Health System has partnered with the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula to expand Ask-A-Nurse to provide more comprehensive services. The primary expansion, First Call for Help, is a 24-hour information and referral service fielding inquiries about food, shelter, medical and financial needs, senior healthcare programs, services for the disabled and homeless and child care.
  • Riverside Health System Foundation - Over the past eight years, the Riverside Health System Foundation has invested more than $2.7 million in grants to support local organizations that provide access to basic healthcare, chronic disease management and quality of care initiatives for the local community and more specifically the uninsured and underinsured populations. To ensure that resources are appropriately directed to a critical community need, the Foundation directs priority funding to high impact and highly inclusive opportunities. 
  • Riverside School of Health Careers - The School of Health Careers has been educating nurses since 1916. The program has expanded to include practical nursing and surgical and radiological technologist programs. Enrollment has been at capacity since 2003 and has resulted in a steady stream of qualified medical professionals in the Newport News region.

“The deep and abiding community involvement of Riverside Health System goes far beyond the provision of healthcare, endeavoring to engage the community it serves and inspiring people to improve their quality of life,” said Manilow. “Through education programs for inner city children, addressing race relations issues, guiding people to food and shelter, creating one of the finest schools of health occupations to ensure quality care for the future, and partnering with local non-profit organizations to affect the lives of thousands of people in its community, Riverside consistently demonstrates how deeply it cares about its community.”


Published: January 10, 2008