NCHA Awards and Recognitions

The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) is honored to recognize leaders and teams in North Carolina hospitals and health systems that are committed to improving the health of their communities through innovative, high-quality care.

Awards offered in 2023:

  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Clinical Leadership Award
  • Healthier Communities Award
  • Highsmith Award for Innovation

Winner selection and presentation

A committee will review all nominations and make recommendations to the NCHA Board. The NCHA Board will make the final selection of winners. NCHA will recognize all award winners during its Summer Meeting, July 19-21, 2023 in Williamsburg, Virginia.


Nomination Criteria

One of NCHA’s highest individual honors, this award is presented to an NCHA member institution executive currently serving in a leadership role whose contributions to the healthcare field have had a positive and lasting impact at the local, regional, state or national level. Click here for past winners.

This award is presented to an NCHA member institution clinician currently serving in a leadership role who has made an outstanding contribution to his/her organization through creativity, collaboration and clinical excellence. 2022 Recipient: Dr. Eric Eskiglu

North Carolina’s hospitals and health systems are transforming healthcare delivery across the care continuum utilizing new skills, practices and systems built around the ultimate end-user, patients. Named for Dr. John Highsmith, the first president of NCHA, this award is presented to a member institution or to an individual/team employed by an NCHA member institution in recognition of innovation that creates value for patients/consumers of healthcare.

Nominations should describe the organization, team or individual’s work on a specific project or initiative designed to enhance the patient experience that

  • Illustrates the scope, originality and implementation of innovation
  • Effectively achieves a stated purpose
  • Demonstrates potential for applicability to other hospitals or health systems

2019 Highsmith Award for Innovation: The Outer Banks Hospital: Dementia-Friendly Initiative

Hospitals and health systems are catalysts in their communities for new approaches to  promoting more equitable health outcomes for patients, families and communities. This award recognizes collaborative work by an NCHA member institution or institutions to promote health and well-being by addressing an identified community need.
Nominations should describe a program, project, event or initiative that:

  • Is a collaboration between one or more NCHA member institutions with other healthcare providers, community-based organizations or local government agencies
  • Promotes and improves the health and well-being of the community
  • Demonstrates a financial and/or resource investment from the hospital/health system to the community.
  • Illustrates a creative approach to meeting the community need
  • Establishes a measurable impact on the health and well-being of the community

2022 Healthier Communities Award: Statewide Patient Movement Coordination Team

Presented at the annual Summer Membership Meeting in July.

Life membership is conferred upon retired CEOs or executives that have served NCHA member institutions for at least 20 years and upon immediate past chairs of the NCHA Board of Trustees in recognition of service to the field. To make a recommendation, please contact Debra Carter at

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