Ten North Mississippi Health Services employees were honored as the 2018 All Stars. The employees were recognized by North Mississippi Medical Center's Stars Online program for outstanding performance throughout the year. The program recognized employees who exhibit extraordinary care and concern for their patients, customers and coworkers. The All Stars recognized the best of the best.
Mary Adamopoulos, LSW
Mary Adamopoulos of Tupelo joined the NMMC staff in 2015 as a social work intern in Radiation Oncology before being hired as care coordinator and case manager in the critical care unit in 2016.
A 2003 graduate of Tupelo High School, Adamopoulos attended Itawamba Community College in Tupelo. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Mississippi in Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She will complete her master’s degree in healthcare administration at Louisiana State University in Shreveport in December.
Adamopoulos was recognized for being a true advocate in helping a patient cope with the sudden loss of her husband, as well as preparing for her third child at age 18. She coordinated donations for the soon-to-be delivered infant girl, including a high chair, swing, walker, 500 diapers, 70+ onesies and other clothing, 12+ blankets and towels and eight pairs of shoes. In addition to these donations, she collected enough cash to purchase a prepaid cell-phone for 1 ½ months and a $300 Walmart gift card for her family’s future needs. Adamopoulos also used her Sunday afternoon to deliver the gifts.
She was also nominated for assisting an elderly woman having difficulty walking to get her lunch. On her way to pick up lunch, Adamopoulos took the time to get the woman a wheelchair and take her to Chick-Fil-A. She waited for her to get her food and then wheeled her up to the floor where her husband had been transferred. The woman had recently had knee replacement revision and was suffering from plantar fasciitis and did not realize how far Chick-Fil-A was. She could not say enough about how kind and patient Adamopoulos was.
“What I love most about my job is the privilege of being present for a person’s most vulnerable moments and being trusted to help guide patients and families through these,” Adamopoulos said.
She is engaged to Devin Davis and has two daughters, Ashlynn, 8, and Ansleigh, 3.
Paris Calvert of West Point joined the NMMC staff in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point High School and attended East Mississippi Community College in Scooba. He is CPR certified and is also trained in crisis prevention intervention.
Calvert was recognized for immediately helping anyone who asks for assistance. He was called by a co-worker to help move a bookshelf – he came immediately and helped move a huge shelf into a co-worker’s office. He is always willing, always has a smile on his face and goes way beyond his job description.
He was also nominated for making a special effort to check on and assist a sleep tech in helping transport a recent patient in the Sleep Disorders Center.
Calvert was recognized for being a team player and setting a great example for other employees. He helps transport patients and their family members when needed. “He is always willing to help and always has a smile on his face,” wrote a coworker who nominated Calvert.
Another coworker wrote that Calvert can always be counted on to help – including when medical records needs help finding and delivering a missing chart.
“What I love most about my job is being able to deal with people, helping them and making sure they are happy,” Calvert says. “I like getting involved and making a difference in people’s lives.”
He has three daughters, Kamron, J’Shunna and M’Paris and one son, Demontez. He also has a grandson, 1-year-old Haiden. He is a member of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church.
NMMC Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation
Glen Davidson of Tupelo joined the NMMC staff in 2000 at the Wellness Center before transferring to Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation. He is a graduate of Tupelo High School and attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and Mississippi State University in Starkville, earning a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 1999.
Davidson was recognized for driving a patient to his appointment so that he would make it on time. The patient was dropped off by a transportation company at Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation looking for Urologic. Davidson drove the patient to his appointment so that he would not have to wait on the transportation company.
Although outside his job description, Davidson heard a co-worker from outside the room giving a bath to a patient, helped finish the bath and then helped the patient get back to bed from the bathroom.
He was also nominated for helping a patient with nutrition counseling and her overall health. Davidson referred her to the Population Health dietitian and even paid for the service himself.
“The best part of my job is working as a team to improve the health of our patients,” Davidson says. “We typically see patients over a three-month period beginning with their initial inpatient medical event until their discharge from our outpatient program. Seeing the patient’s progress is very rewarding.”
He and his wife, Carrie, have a son, Reagan. They attend First Presbyterian Church.
Anthony Graham of Pontotoc joined NMMC in 2015. He is a graduate of South Pontotoc High School and attended Itawamba Community College and the University of Mississippi. He has more than 30 years of experience in management.
Graham was nominated for opening his home, which is near the hospital, to NMMC-Pontotoc employees to spend the night during icy road conditions.
On another occasion, he had gone home after his shift. A patient came to the Emergency Department who had cut his thumb off with a circular saw. Security was called to help retrieve the thumb, which was still wedged in the saw. Graham lives near the hospital and took his personal tools to the Emergency Room to be used to disassemble the saw, which helped save this patient’s thumb. He also goes above and beyond for his coworkers. For example, he delivered packages to the nursing home for one of his coworkers who had to go home because she wasn’t feeling well.
“The best part of my job is interacting with all departments to ensure that patients and residents are comfortable and given the best care possible,” Graham said.
He and his wife, Ina, have three daughters – Abbey Butler, Casey Pernell and Forrest Dillard – and one son – Josh Graham. They have four grandchildren – Hoyte, Lawson, Elijah and Abigail. They attend West Heights Baptist Church in Pontotoc.
Health Care Manager
Population Health Care
Sherry Griffin of Montpelier joined the NMMC staff in 1997. She worked in Home Health for 20 years before transferring to Population Health.
A graduate of Woodland High School, Griffin earned an associate degree from Itawamba Community College in 1994.
Griffin was recognized for helping a patient get genetic testing and care. The patient needed a visit with the genetic counselor because of an abnormal mammogram and pending breast biopsy, but preventative care was not covered by the patient’s insurance plan. Griffin offered to give money out of her own pocket to help cover the upfront cost of the visit.
She was also nominated for organizing a yard sale with all proceeds going to help a patient and her family. This patient was diagnosed with cancer, and Griffin desperately wanted to help. She picked up donated items on her own time to put together the yard sale.
A nomination stated that Griffin is always kind, caring and shows compassion to others on a daily basis, always willing to help others in need.
“The best part of my job is definitely the people. I work with the working age population to manage their chronic diseases and promote wellness and preventative care,” Griffin says. “I encourage people to have their age-appropriate screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies. I feel like in my role I truly make a difference in people’s lives. I am truly blessed by my job and the patients I get to work with.”
She and her husband, Todd, have three children – Trey and his wife Savannah, Payton and Brooke – and one grandbaby, Heston Ryder. Griffin also serves at Parkway Baptist Church in Houston.
Continuing Education Assistant
Blanca Johnson of Belden joined the NMMC staff in 2009 at Tupelo Service Finance before transferring to the Education Department in 2015. She was also recognized as an All Star in 2016 and 2017.
She is a graduate of Mayfield High School in Las Cruces, N.M. She attended an international business college and Itawamba Community College. She has a criminal justice degree and an associate degree in social work.
She is also a CPR and unit coordinator instructor.
Johnson was recognized for decorating her department to make it festive for the holidays. She took the time to go out and buy decorations to create a joyful environment for employees and patients. “She also came around the department giving out candy canes,” said a coworker who nominated her. “Blanca is always being so thoughtful and is greatly appreciated.”
She was also nominated for jumping in to help a doctor get ice off her windshield so she could commute home. As the doctor was trying to scrape off the ice with her hands, Blanca noticed and went to her vehicle and brought back deicer to put on the windshield.
Two patients were on Hospice and Johnson made two care baskets for each patient. She spent her own money to give this to them just for these patients to have a better day. “She is always making the patients feel special,” wrote a coworker who nominated her.
Johnson said she loves her job – loving your job and having passion is a gift and a privilege. “Being able to help someone is my biggest reward,” Johnson said.
Johnson has three daughters – Leticia, Franqui and Delilah – and attends White Hill Baptist Church.
Population Health Care Manager
Tara Kilgore of Houston joined the NMMC staff in 2005. She worked in the Emergency Services Department at NMMC-Tupelo for seven years and spent two years at NMMC-Pontotoc before being transferred to North Mississippi Medical Clinics as population health care manager.
A graduate of Houston High School, Kilgore received her associate degree in nursing from Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville in 2003.
Kilgore was recognized for coordinating 40 free mammograms through the Breast Care Center for patients whose insurance doesn’t cover preventative care. Kilgore also spent some of her days off coming to the Breast Care Center with patients for moral support and to ensure that everything went smoothly for them. She alleviated the fears for her patients and was also there to help them navigate confusing health information.
“The work she is doing and her dedication is helping to get these ladies screened and diagnosed early and possibly saving their lives,” her nomination states.
She was also nominated for helping a patient who was just beginning chemotherapy. Kilgore went to Hematology Oncology on her own time to be with her patients during their first round of chemo.
“The best part of my job is getting to invest in my population and try to make a difference in their health. Population Health is an amazing program that allows us as nurses to advocate for excellent care for our patients and give them a chance to partner with us to improve their health,” Kilgore says. “I get to do what I love in my hometown with my community. What I love most about my job is the opportunity to take time with my patients and be sure they understand their chronic disease and what they can do to take the best care of themselves.”
She and her husband, Doug, have three children – Reagan, 9; Cohen, 6; and Addie, 2 –and are members of First Baptist Church in Houston. Kilgore also helps with the Katangello Children’s Ministry.
Neurodiagnostic Lab and Sleep Disorders Center
Dennis Kramer of Tupelo joined the NMMC staff in 2009. Kramer completed the electroencephalogram training program at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in 1976. Kramer also completed the technologist training program at Stanford University Sleep Disorders Center in Redwood City, Calif., in 1981.
Kramer was recognized for graciously working around his employees’ schedules during hard and emotional times in their personal lives. Kramer submitted a situation to the Employee Assistance Program director and the employee was able to receive financial assistance for attorney fees and court costs to escape a toxic environment at home. Kramer genuinely cared for his employee and continually checked on the employee during the process, the nomination states.
He was also recognized for assisting his employees in duties beyond what is required of him. On a morning where there was only one clean room available, Kramer, without asking, helped his employee gathers linens and cleaning supplies to prepare another room for a sleep study. He swept, mopped and helped change the bed linens rather than letting his employee complete the task alone.
Kramer continually exhibits the caring behaviors that NMMC encourages and puts the NMMC culture into action, a nomination states.
“Dennis is a very kind and caring boss that truly cares about his staff and their families,” another nomination states. “His compassion for others that need help is admirable.”
“The best part of my job is being able to collaborate with so many knowledgeable, caring and helpful people to provide the best possible care,” Kramer said. “It gives me a great deal of satisfaction when our efforts are successful.”
He and his wife, Linda, have six children – Kyle, Andrew, Brian, Laura, Andy and Andrea – and three grandchildren, Olivia Kramer, Kylee Kramer and Millie Brown. He is a member of St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Pontotoc.
Chickasaw Family Medical Clinic
Bridget Logan of Vardaman joined the NMMC staff in 2011 as a pediatric nurse. She later joined the float pool with North Mississippi Medical Clinics, transferring to Chickasaw Medical Clinic in 2013. She was also recognized as an All Star in 2017.
She is a graduate of Vardaman High School and graduated from Northwest Mississippi Community College in Oxford with her licensed practical nursing certification in 2004. She is CPR and AED certified by the American Heart Association.
Logan was recognized for being the only nurse at her clinic to work on a particular day where there was inclement weather. Logan’s husband drove her to work while roads were iced over, and she ran the lab by herself so patients could be seen, while employees that lived farther away did not have to commute.
She was also nominated for encouraging her colleagues to get screened for colon cancer by offering to help pay for stamps to place on every envelope to ensure the tests would be returned. She gave out of her own pocket and went above and beyond to make sure her coworkers get the care that they need.
“I am thankful for her compassion and dedication to taking excellent care of every patient she encounters,” wrote a coworker who nominated her.
Logan routinely steps in to cover the lab when it is shorthanded and goes beyond her responsibilities to ensure every patient is cared for.
“She never hesitates to do whatever is needed to take care of a patient,” wrote a coworker. “She is one of the fastest and hardest working nurses I have ever seen.”
“What I love most about my job is our patients. They are amazing and to know what so many go through and have to deal with on a daily basis, it makes you have a different perspective on life in general,” Logan said. “I have always said I want to treat each patient as my family member; we go through the good times and the bad times with them. If they cry, I cry; if they need a hug or someone to open up to, I give them a hug, let them talk; if they get good news, I am there thanking Jesus with them. Some days are not easy and I am not perfect by any means, but at the end of the day, if I was able to help at least one person, that is a feeling you cannot describe nor forget. Nursing is not a job, it is a calling, and I am so truly blessed to be able to do what I love every day.”
She and her husband, Waylon, have been married for 16 years and have three sons – Landon, Layton and Lanson. They attend Midway Baptist Church in Vardaman.
Vernon Rayford, M.D.
Dr. Vernon Rayford of Belden joined the NMMC staff in 2013 as a hospitalist before transferring to IMA-Tupelo in 2014. A graduate of Holly Springs High School, Dr. Rayford earned his doctoral degree from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in Oxford. He received his medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
He completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics and obesity medicine.
Dr. Rayford was recognized for purchasing patient medication out of his own pocket on multiple occasions. One patient did not have enough money to buy inhalers, so Dr. Rayford paid for the patient’s medication so he would not have to go without them and risk worsening his condition. On another instance, a patient suffering from COPD with frequent exacerbations could not afford his nebulizer medications. Dr. Rayford, along with the case manager, paid for the medications to prevent a delay in treatment.
He was also nominated for personally driving a patient to the emergency room and assisting her in being admitted. This patient was emotional and upset and couldn’t drive herself, nor was any family available at the time to drive her to the ER. Once the patient was admitted, Dr. Rayford provided a report to the ER staff and notified the patient’s daughter of details. “It made me feel special for him to care enough to do that for me,” the patient wrote.
“We simply need more physicians with such heart and compassion,” wrote a coworker who nominated him.
“The best part of my job is the trust that people place in me to use my training, my words and compassion to help during the bad times, while working hard to preserve the good times,” Dr. Rayford said.
He and his wife, Themesha, have a son named Vincent and are members of Mount Pleasant Chesterville M.B. Church.