Nominee: Paula Smith
Organization: Lamprey Health Care
Director of the Southern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center, Paula Smith was the first staff director when the Southern New Hampshire AHEC began 20 years ago. Southern New Hampshire AHEC improves community health by promoting and coordinating community and academic multidisciplinary partnerships with a focus on rural communities and minority populations. Paula built the staff team from the ground up and is still leading them in delivering high-quality health care and workforce development programs that benefit the local community and the state of New Hampshire.
Smith develops and implements a variety of programs which support community health professionals, identifies topics for continuing education and initiates partnerships with academic and community organizations.
“The numbers are staggering. Over her 20 years with Lamprey Health Care, Paula has educated, trained and provided educational opportunities to thousands of medical interpreters, nursing students, community health workers, and other medical professionals,” writes Gregory White, Chief Executive Officer,Lamprey Health Care. “Paula truly embodies Lamprey Health Care’s vision of being a learning organization; each year takes on several undergraduate and graduate interns, recognizing that they are the future of our workforce and deserve support and development.”
Smith was the driving force behind taking the Lamprey Health Care Nurse Practitioner fellowship from an idea to reality and creating the first and only nurse practitioner Fellowship program in New Hampshire. This pioneer program allows new nurse practitioners to work for one year under an experienced instructor in an effort to build a more confident and committed workforce for the patients and community.
“This program would not be possible without Paula’s stewardship and tireless coordination,” writes White.
Paula’s drive and passion are evident in her work with the Seacoast Public Health Network, developing the first in NH Community Health Worker training, and as the administrative lead for the Equity Leaders Fellowship. The Equity Leaders Fellowship is currently recruiting the 5th cohort of diverse community members to be on boards and take leadership roles in their communities.
“Because of these efforts, Paula has earned not only the award for 2018 National Health Center Week Health Center Hero Award, but also the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom she serves her community partners, her students, and her peers here at Lamprey Health Care,” writes White.