BRETTON WOODS – The New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA) recently honored local leaders in health care during the association’s 80th Annual Meeting at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.


Senator Robert Odell and James Varnum were joint recipients of the James A. Hamilton Founder’s Award, the New Hampshire Hospital Association’s highest honor which is presented only as appropriate for outstanding service to health care on behalf of the people of New Hampshire.


During his 12-year tenure in the NH Senate, Sen. Odell has worked tirelessly on the most challenging health policy and fiscal issues that directly impact the citizens of New Hampshire, and he was instrumental in the creation of the NH Health Protection Plan. He also worked to help resolve many of the long-standing issues and challenges with New Hampshire’s Medicaid Enhancement Tax.


Varnum, the former CEO at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, served as chair of the State’s Commission on Medicaid Expansion. This contentious process was instrumental in helping more than 50,000 citizens gain health insurance, and Varnum was recognized for his role in helping to achieve one of the most important health policy accomplishments of recent decades.


Bruce King, President and CEO of New London Hospital, received the Leslie A. Smith President’s Award, bestowed upon an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

King served as member of the NHHA Board of Trustees in a variety of capacities, including Chairman of the Board. His leadership and advocacy on legislative issues was invaluable to the NHHA, and he has been a long-time member of the Rural Health Coalition.


Mark Johnson, chairman of the board from Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, was recognized for his exemplary performance in hospital governance with the Outstanding Trustee of the Year Award.


Johnson was also cited for specific achievements in service to the hospital, including his leadership on the controversial decision to close the 110-year-old hospital’s birthing center.


Naomi Gauthier, MD of CHaD at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, was presented with the Medical Staff Award for outstanding service to hospital and community. The honor is bestowed upon a medical staff member from an NHHA member institution whose professional performance has strengthened the cooperation between the hospital and the medical staff, and who brings credit to the institution and the community

According to NHHA President Steve Ahnen, “Dr. Gauthier founded Camp Meridian – a three-day annual camp experience for children with congenital heart problems – and she and her team not only plan the annual trip’s itinerary, they also attend it, and get involved with the kids on a personal level. She also led the effort to raise funds to create this camp, which is free for all children to attend.”


Scott Goodwin of Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, was named recipient of the Innovator’s Award from the Foundation for Healthy Communities, which celebrates extraordinary ingenuity, creativity and skill in improving health or healthcare access, delivery or quality. Recipients are honored for their leadership or for extraordinary individual achievement in advancing these goals.

In citing Goodwin’s work, Shawn LaFrance, executive director of the Foundation for Healthy Communities, said, “Scott has excelled in setting the highest standards in delivering quality health care where he works and in partnership with others through the Foundation for Healthy Communities. He recently completed two years of service as chairman of the NH Health Care Quality Assurance Commission, where his influence helped better all the hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the state.”

The Wellness Connection at New London Hospital was also honored at the NHHA’s annual meeting when it was named recipient of the HEAL NH Award for promoting active living and healthy eating.


With the aid of an anonymous $700,000 gift, the hospital formed a strategic planning committee comprised of 15 community leaders who worked honor the wishes of the donor, who asked for “a plan for improving the health of the community and the patients served by the hospital.”

The organization that emerged from the committees’ deliberations – The Wellness Connection for a Healthy Lake Sunapee Region – will bring people together to create environments where they live, work and play that help make healthy choices the easy choice.


Hospitals have been collaborating through the New Hampshire Hospital Association since 1934. The association's mission is to provide leadership through advocacy, education and information in support of its member hospitals and health care delivery systems in delivering high quality health care to the patients and communities they serve.