Mercy Health-Lorain’s director of community health, Catherine Woskobnick, was among 60 healthcare leaders across Ohio who have been nominated for the Albert E. Dykes Healthcare Worker of the Year award by the Ohio Hospital Association.
A Lorain native and graduate of Lorain Schools, Woskobnick has been with Mercy Health-Lorain for 22 years and said she takes pride in the opportunity to work in her hometown and expand opportunities for people in the International City.
“That has been very important to me to come back to serve and to care for the community that that took care of me and set a strong foundation for me, to be able to work in Lorain and to look at the needs of Lorain County between our three Community Health Needs assessments that we have developed,” she said. “ And we have implemented amazing outcomes — those focused on mental health needs of the community to chronic disease needs and measures.”
The virtual ceremony honored the important role played by healthcare workers in Ohio and across the country.
OHA President and CEO Mike Abrams honored Ohio’s health care heroes in going the extra mile to serve their communities and he said all of the nominees represent their leadership and excellence.
“As the leaders of Ohio’s healthcare delivery system we’re faced with enormous responsibilities, but through the passion for health care, and our empathy for patients, we’re making a remarkable difference,” Abrams said. “We’re so proud of Ohio’s 260,000 hospital employees who provide the highest quality care for more than 33 million hospital encounters every year.
“People traveled to Ohio from all 50 states and across the globe to benefit from the excellent care and advanced medical treatments provided by our hospitals.”
Woskobnick has been working with local partners in addressing health disparities in Lorain County — working on tackling infant mortality rates, increasing Mercy’s cultural competency as a healthcare provider and addressing the needs of the people they serve.
Mercy partners with Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio in addressing food insecurity and El Centro de Servicios Sociales who assist in providing translation services for their patients.
She said she lives by the Muhammad Ali quote, “our rent here on earth is service to others,” as her guiding philosophy and so much has come full circle.
Woskobnick helped develop Mercy-Lorain’s Rising Stars Program 16 years ago in providing internship and mentorship opportunities to give young people the chance explore careers in healthcare. About 87 Lorain County youth have participated in the program with five currently in medical school.
“We thought we would be successful if we had kids who went to college and decided to perhaps become a nurse or come back to health care, and to see the evolution of leadership, that we planted seeds of belief for individuals to believe in themselves and to see their own potential. That is what’s so beautiful,” Woskobnick noted, “And when we think of the Sisters of Humility of Mary that founded us they wanted us to seek those that didn’t have.”
One of those local leaders is Rising Stars alum Parris Smith, now the president and CEO of the Lorain County Urban League.