The Virginia Community Healthcare Association has announced its annual award winners and three employees of Eastern Shore Rural Health were honored.

Denise Bland named Volunteer of the Year

Outgoing Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. Board President Denise W. Bland was named Volunteer of the Year for her efforts to promote community health care. She has served Eastern Shore Rural Health as board president for 17 years through June 25, 2019. When Eastern Shore Rural Health first began in 1976, the organization’s focus was to make primary care more accessible to people living on the Eastern Shore. Today, its eight locations offer a wide range of services including primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health services, pharmacy assistance services, pediatrics, and a robust school dental program.

Ms. Bland has been actively engaged in the organization’s growth and has been instrumental in helping it expand from a $2 million to a $24 million organization. She actively meets with local, state, and national legislators to advocate for funding and support. She has worked on policies that have enabled more access to care for the people of the Eastern Shore. She stays current on health policy, health legislation, community health center trends, and leadership best and promising practices by participating in activities and trainings offered by the Virginia Community Healthcare Association, the Virginia Health Safety Net Partners, and the National Association of Community Health Centers. She is an active member of her town council and her church, where she continues to share the mission of Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. with the community.

“I am so very pleased that Denise has been recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of Eastern Shore Rural Health, Inc.,” said Nancy Stern, Eastern Shore Rural Health CEO. “Denise’s impact on our health centers is immeasurable because the ripple effect of her efforts expounds in numerous ways, directions, and degrees. Her methodical work and dedicated leadership have strengthened a culture within Eastern Shore Rural Health – the mission; the wellbeing of our community, the constant assessment and improvement of policies and procedures, and the highest regard for integrity and ethics. I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Denise.”


Lori Miles named Nurse of the Year

Eastern Shore Rural Health Clinical Nurse Educator Lori Miles was named Nurse of the Year for her dedication, expertise, and concern to see that patients are afforded the best quality care, and for the outstanding quality of her work with staff, patients, and family members.

In her role at Rural Health, she creates health education programs for health center staff and patients. Ms. Miles joined the staff one year ago and in that time she has worked on patient safety and risk management as well as addressing staff concerns. The health education programs she created and implemented are designed to educate patients and help them improve their health outcomes. She has also worked to develop an clinical orientation program for new staff that provides them with the right tools to find success in their new working environment.

Ms. Miles also serves as the expert in all clinical federal requirements on the health center’s Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement Committee. She volunteered to be a lead trainer for the organization’s breathalyzer alcohol training and she led a team to complete 25 respirator fit testings for NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Overseen by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, respirator fit testing is mandatory for any worker who is required to use a tight-fitting respirator. Trainings led by Ms. Miles resulted in 100% compliance. “Lori is also a valuable member of the School Nurses Association and Eastern Shore Community College considers her a valuable resource for their program,” said Nancy Stern, Rural Health CEO.

“I believe Lori is the embodiment of this award. She is truly committed to our mission and to the people of the Eastern Shore,” said Stern. “Since her arrival to our organization in the past year, Lori has actively worked on seven critical policies and procedures addressing staff concerns, focusing on patient safety, and risk management. As our organization’s clinical nurse educator, she coordinates with all clinical teams helping to insure that our patients receive the highest quality of care. I am so pleased that Lori has been recognized for her outstanding achievements.”


Kandy Bruno earns Special Recognition Award

Eastern Shore Rural Health Chief Financial Officer Kandy Bruno was presented with the Special Recognition award for her extraordinary efforts in support of the Eastern Shore Rural Health’s overall mission.

Ms. Bruno has served as the first and only CFO at Eastern Shore Rural Health. She was key in helping Rural Health grow from a $2 million to a $24 million organization with eight locations, all the while supporting Rural Health’s mission to provide care for all regardless of ability to pay. “Our Board of Directors consistently applauds her finance presentations, be it the top ten monthly financial highlights, or the intense reporting and discussion she initiates for the Finance Committee. She has earned their respect and trust,” said Rural Health CEO Nancy Stern.

Ms. Bruno’s financial policy development has assured compliance with industry-standard accounting, proven by successful annual audits. She has also developed her organization’s finance department, currently a staff of 15 that manages the day-to-day financial operations. “Kandy’s leadership and efforts in empowering her team have yielded an effective, hard-working, and outcome-focused department,” said Stern. “Additionally, our medical providers are grateful for her willingness to support them. She assists them with hiring medical and dental coders, helps them understand the business and financial side of their practice, and provides them with weekly reports. They recognize that she has a detailed understanding of medical and dental practices which helps them collaborate on programs and services.”

Ms. Bruno has also immersed herself in Rural Health’s dental program and attends the National Network for Oral Health Access, sharing the best practices she learns at sessions with colleagues.

“Kandy is a trusted community leader. She teaches financial classes at the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. In all she does, she consistently puts the people of the Eastern Shore first,” Stern said. “Because of her enormous contributions to Eastern Shore Rural Health and the people of the Eastern Shore, Kandy is very deserving of this award. Through her leadership as CFO, she has been instrumental in helping us to grow from a $2 million organization to $24 million. This growth has created opportunities for us to offer more services at more locations along the Eastern Shore so that the communities we serve have access to convenient, high quality, cost effective care. I am so proud that Kandy is a part of our team and that her many contributions, talents, and skills have been recognized across the Commonwealth.”