Deaconess and St. Mary’s Receive National Wellness Award from Leading Healthcare CEOs

Healthcare Leadership Council Honors Project AWARE (Youth Mental Health First Aid) with Wellness Frontiers Award

Pictured left to right: Debbie Witchey, Executive Vice President, HLC; Linda E. White, President and CEO Deaconess Health System; Keith Jewell, President of St. Mary’s Health; Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN).

2016-10-27_13-01-31EVANSVILLE, Ind. Oct. 26, 2016 – The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) is honored to announce that it has recognized Deaconess and St. Mary’s for their Project AWARE program (Youth Mental Health First Aid) which focuses on increasing awareness of mental health and substance abuse issues among school age youth, with the prestigious Wellness Frontiers Award. The award ceremony took place Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Evansville-Vanderburgh Central Public Library.

The Healthcare Leadership Council created the Wellness Frontiers Award to recognize health and wellness best practices and programs in communities and organizations across the nation. Winners are organizations developing and activating cost-effective, measurable community programs promoting wellness and disease prevention.

“Deaconess and St. Mary’s are providing much needed awareness and vital health information throughout the community in southwestern Indiana. What impressed us most about the work being done through Project AWARE are the evidence-based results in achieving improved community health and the ability to replicate this program throughout the country,” said Debbie Witchey, Executive Vice President of the Healthcare Leadership Council.

Linda E. White, President and CEO Deaconess Health System, said, “It made all the sense in the world to collaborate with the other local health system for improved community health. Real improvements cannot be made in isolation. It takes everyone moving in the same direction. Project AWARE is a great example of how teamwork and focus generate positive change.”

Keith Jewell, President of St. Mary’s Health said, “At St. Mary’s we have a comprehensive commitment to heal Body, Mind and Spirit with special attention to those who are most vulnerable.  Evidence supports that improving the mental health of our community begins with earlier awareness and intervention.  Through Project AWARE, people who care about area youth receive the tools and training they need to recognize children on the verge of mental health challenges and help set them on a path toward healing.”

Congressman Larry Bucshon joined the awards ceremony praising Deaconess and St. Mary’s for their efforts in the community, “As a physician, I had the opportunity to work with both health systems. I can say we are truly blessed to have such talented medical professionals committed to the health and well-being of our community. Through programs like Project AWARE, both Deaconess and St. Mary’s are on the forefront of our flight to overcome the challenges we face with mental illness and substance abuse. I congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition.”

About Healthcare Leadership Council
The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) ( is a coalition of chief executives from all disciplines within American healthcare and is an exclusive forum for the nation’s healthcare leaders to collaboratively develop policies, plans, and programs to achieve their vision of a 21st century system that emphasizes wellness and makes affordable, high-quality care accessible to all Americans. For more information on HLC’s Wellness Frontiers Award, visit

About Project AWARE
Project AWARE is an initiative by Deaconess and St. Mary’s that supports the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with youth in both school and community settings to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth, including how to encourage adolescents and their families experiencing problems to seek appropriate services and support.

Media contact:
Jordan Martin
(404) 832-7162