Influential Health and Medical Leaders 2018*

All of the finalists posed for a group photo to celebrate the work and service that they provide for the Tucson community. Each finalist was nominated for the outstanding work that they do. 

Measuring success in the health and medical industries is a difficult task to manage. Do research grants and other funding sources mean good work is being done? What about notoriety and name recognition? According to the 18 men and women honored as winners at the fourth annual Influential Health and Medical Leaders Awards, success is most clearly measured in patient impact. 

Recognized at Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment on Wednesday, June 13, talented doctors, nurses and medical practitioners were recognized for their service to the Tucson community.

“Tucson Local Media and Inside Tucson Business cherish the opportunity to recognize the hard-working men and women in the health and medical fields throughout Southern Arizona for all that they do,” said Tucson Local Media President and Publisher Jason Joseph. “Though we recognized more than a dozen nominees at our ceremony, each of our finalists should be considered a winner for their contributions to the betterment of Pima County.”

Keynote speaker Nancy Sweitzer, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said that health care and medical science are “very special industries, full of people that have devoted their lives to help the well and the less-well achieve their best possible lives.”

 “These people share the most basic of values, to reliving suffering, and to create a quality of life in the process,” she said.

Event emcee Cheryl Horvath, the newest fire chief of the Tubac Fire District, praised each finalist for their valuable contribution to the wellbeing of the region. Horvath said that the yearly event is “truly special” because each nomination is sourced directly from the general public—those whose lives have been directly impacted by the work of each nominee.

 “[Nominations] come from your colleagues, co-workers, patients, family and friends who think you are special enough to be deserving of this award,” Horvath said.

It’s that dedication to clients and family that drives winners, like A New Creations Woman’s Clinic Owner Cheryl Abraham—who won in the Outstanding Health and Fitness category. 

The Florida native cited a need to communicate with patients in order to create a course of action that works for all involved. She thanked everyone who has helped her reach the stage Wednesday night. 

“As a medical provider, I think we need to look a little beyond the medical part of it, and we need to look holistically and need to kind of look into the whole broad spectrum of what's going on in people's lives,” Abraham said. 

Dr. Emil Annabi of Pima Pain Center, who earned won in the Outstanding Pain Management category, thanked his patients for all they do to make his work special.

Dr. Annabi described how his eight years working as the medical director of pain management at the University of Arizona Medical Center would not be the same were it not for the talented staff around him—and the quality of patients that his staff see every day. 

Dr. Annabi said that in order to deliver care and compassion in the practice of first-time pain management, “with all of the things that are going on with the government and with the state boards and everything—it's very, very difficult to take care of these patients.

“Sometimes, we get blindsided, we put blinders on but ultimately, I think this really goes to our patients,” he said. “Because truly without them we don't have really the blessing of practicing medicine. So, thank you to all of you.”


2018 Influential Health and Medical Leaders Awards finalists and winners 

Outstanding Children’s Care

George Hobeich, M.D.; Hoebeich Pediatrics

Dr. Zebulon Delp; Old Pueblo Pediatrics

Dr. Sosan Moussa; Catalina Pediatrics

Outstanding Chiropractic

Dr. Aaron Scheff; Chiropractic Balance Center

Robert T. Brook, D.C., DABCN, FACFN, Lac; Brook Chiropractic Neurology

Outstanding Dental

Dr. Mark McMahon; Coyote Dental

Dr. Kirt Kacer; OrthoPros

Dr. Sharad Pandhi; Smile Perfection

Outstanding Dermatology

Pima Dermatology

Dr. Katherine Orlick, M.D.; Foothills Dermatology & Plastic Surgery

Skin Spectrum

Outstanding Eye Care

Dr. Sean McCafferty; Arizona Eye Consultants

Dr. Jason Levine; Arizona Eye Consultants

Dr. Martin Worrall, M.D.; Retina Center

Outstanding Health and Fitness

Cheryl Abraham, FNP; A New Creations Woman’s Clinic

Michelle Thatcher, NMD; Tucson Naturopathic Family Medicine

CARF International (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)

Outstanding Heart/Neurology

Dr. Jeanette Wendt; Territory Neurology & Research Institute

Dr. Ronald Kline; Southwest Advanced Vascular

Dr. Thomas F. Norton; Center for Neurosciences

Outstanding Nurse

Valerie Rittenhouse, RN; Oro Valley Hospital

Annette Karlsberg, RN; Oro Valley Hospital

Cynthia Carlson, RN, MSN, FP

Outstanding Oncology/Radiology

Dr. Alton Hallum III; Arizona Oncology Associates

Janet Bruce, NP-C; Arizona Oncology Associates

Dr. Joseph Buscema; Arizona Oncology Associates

Outstanding Pain Management

Dr. Emil Annabi; Pima Pain Center

Donna Garrett; Star Cryotherapy

Jennifer Parks; Jade Star Acupuncture

Outstanding Physical Therapy

Dr. Nolan Shifren; Shifren Physical Therapy

R&R Physical Therapy

ProActive Physical Therapy

Outstanding Plastic Surgery

Dr. Jaime Moenster; Dermatology & Plastic Surgery of Arizona

Dr. Richard Hess; Hess & Sandeen Plastic Surgery

Dr. Sven Sandeen: Hess & Sandeen Plastic Surgery

Outstanding Senior Care/Hospice

Casa de la Luz Hospice

Senior Homecare of Tucson

CareMore Health

Outstanding Veterinarian

Kayla R. Boyer, DVM; Speedway Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Annie Adams; University Pet Clinic

Outstanding Medical Research

Dr. Becky G. Farley, PT, MS, Ph.D.; Parkinson Wellness Recovery

L. Rodney Anderson, M.D.; Medical Lead Investigator

H-H. Sherry Chow, Ph.D.; University of Arizona Cancer Center

Outstanding Outreach

Margaret Higgins, Ph.D.; The Haven

Paige Hector, LMSW; Paige Ahead Consulting

Tohono O’odham Nation Health Care

Outstanding In-Patient Facility

Northwest Healthcare

Carondelet Health Network

Cornerstone Hospital of Southern Arizona

Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Karen Herbst, Ph.D., M.D.; Banner-University Medical Center

Dr. John Racy, M.D.; University of Arizona College of Medicine

Thomas Biuso, M.D., FHM, FACP; United Healthcare