SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Scholarship recipients were named at the HSHS Sacred Heart Foundation annual Caritas Guild dinner. The annual donor event pays tribute to individuals and organizations that provide extraordinary philanthropic support for the health care ministry of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.

The scholarships are intended to promote the highest level of patient care by providing hospital colleagues with assistance to attend academic programs or conferences to advance their clinical education.

• Kristin Peters, a registered nurse in the critical care department, received a scholarship from the Brain and Spine Educational Enhancement Endowment. A recipient must work with patients in neurology or neurosurgery, which includes stroke, critical care, rehabilitation and emergency services, nursing, surgery or technical support.

• Chris Zimmerman, clinical education manager, received a scholarship from the Michael D. Markin & Patricia J. Markin Children’s Fund. A recipient must work in an area that enhances pediatric care and pediatric counseling programs for children at the hospital. Zimmerman also received a scholarship from the Annabel Bauer Surgical Nurse Education Endowment, which helps to fund academic programs, seminars and continuing education for surgical nurses.

• Hannah Schroeder, simulation program coordinator and nurse educator in the clinical education department, received a scholarship from the Annabel Bauer Surgical Nurse Education Endowment.

• Jennifer Vaughan, cardiac educator in the cardiac rehabilitation department, received a scholarship from the Annabel Bauer Cardiac Nursing Award Endowment, which benefits and supports further education and technical training for nurses who work with cardiac patients.

• Cardiac Care nurses also received a scholarship to participate in American Association of Critical Care Nurses two-day CCRN-PCCN review course from the Annabel Bauer Cardiac Nursing Award Endowment.

• Jessica Gugel, oncology nurse navigator, received the Marten Transport, LTD. Education Endowment for Cancer Care, which is new this year. She will be attending the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigation Mid-Year Conference.

“The engagement of our donors with our frontline colleagues has been very rewarding, and this endowed scholarship program is an effective way to reward and retain the best and brightest who serve our patients and their loved ones every day with the very best care possible,” said Ann Kaiser, director, HSHS Sacred Heart Foundation.

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NEW DIRECTOR: Kristen M. Johnson recently began her new role as director of public affairs for Mayo Clinic Health System’s Northwest Wisconsin Region.

In this role, Johnson provides on-site mentorship to the public affairs team based in Eau Claire and works closely with communications and marketing directors across Mayo Clinic Health System.

Prior to joining Mayo Clinic Health System, Johnson was president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina. She also spent nearly 11 years working in hospital communications through the office of development at Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Durham, N.C.

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations, mass communication and political science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Johnson’s family has had firsthand experience with the medical care provided by Mayo Clinic. Her husband received the gift of life through a successful heart transplant at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester, Minn., campus in July 2017.

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NEW POST: HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals are pleased to announce that Laura Baalrud has accepted the role as director of community health for the two hospitals.

Baalrud has served at the two hospitals since 1977, most recently as community health educator in 3D Community Health: Body.Mind.Spirit, a service line of the hospitals.

She was instrumental in the development of QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer, an education initiative for both adults and students; and has implemented the first Mental Health First Aid community education series in our region. Both programs have reached thousands of individuals in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties.

Baalrud leads the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership community coalition and is the point person for community benefit reporting for both hospitals. In her tenure with HSHS, Baalrud has served as director of volunteers and director of food service, both at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital.

From staff reports