St. Mary’s County Health Officer, Dr. Meena Brewster awarded 2020 Health Care Hero award

News Release, St. Mary’s County Health Department

LEONARDTOWN, MD (June 1, 2020) – The St. Mary’s County Health Department is proud to announce that The Daily Record has selected Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer to receive a 2020 Health Care Hero Award. 

As home to several renowned medical and federal institutions, Maryland is a national leader in health care research and development. The Daily Record’s Health Care Heroes Awards honor those organizations and individuals who have made an impact on the quality of health care within our state. The winners were selected by an outside panel of health care experts. 

The award categories are:

  • Advancements and Innovation in Health Care, which recognizes organizations that have made significant strides within the health care community 
  • Community Outreach/Education Hero, an award that honors individuals and organizations that have helped the community they serve by providing support and education
  • Workplace Wellness Program, which honors a company that has created a work environment for their employees focusing on wellness 
  • Nurse of the Year, which honors nurses who have performed in exemplary ways
  • Nurse Practitioner of the Year, which honors nurse practitioners whose job performance is considered exemplary by patients and peers   
  • Physician of the Year, an award that honors physicians whose job performance is considered exemplary by patients and peers
  • Lifetime Achievement, an honor that recognizes individuals in the health care community whose body of work in their careers makes them stand out from their peers

“Our Health Care Heroes are often described as miracle workers for making a positive impact on lives and creating change,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. “The individuals and organizations being honored are truly outstanding for their work with patients, families, the industry and our community. We at The Daily Record salute their accomplishments.”

“Nothing in public health is done in isolation. This is most evident during times of crisis, including the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “I’m so grateful for our tenacious public health team, partners and community that have pulled together to fight this battle and forge bonds stronger than what lies ahead.”

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, the 2020 Health Care Heroes Awards will be presented at a June 25 online event at Each of the winners will be celebrated for their achievements through video storytelling. For the honorees in the Advancements and Innovation in Health Care category, each innovation will be showcased. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in the program with their congratulations and cheers using social media platforms from their homes or offices. For tickets, visit

During this time of COVID-19, we also want to honor the heroes battling the illness. Individuals can be nominated at the following link: The deadline for nominations is May 15.

Winners will be profiled in a special magazine that will be inserted into the June 26 issue of The Daily Record and will be available online

The event partner of The Daily Record’s 2020 Health Care Heroes Awards is the Maryland Hospital Association.

For more information about sponsorships and tickets for The Daily Record’s 2020 Health Care Heroes Awards, visit or call 443-524-8161.

2020 Health Care Heroes Awards

Advancements and Innovation in Health Care:
Johns Hopkins Medicine, Tobacco Treatment Clinic
Keswick, Wise and Well
LifeBridge Health, Virtual Hospital
Saint Agnes HealthCare, Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
Community Outreach/Education Hero: 
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst)
LifeBridge Health
Maryland Citizens Health Initiative Health Care for All Coalition
MedStar Harbor Hospital
MileOne Autogroup

Workplace Wellness Program: 
Kaiser Permanente
Nurse of the Year:
Ashley Keating, Carroll Hospital
Kevin Mempin, Kaiser Permanente
Nia Williams, Kaiser Permanente

Nurse Practitioner of the Year:
Susan Carroll, Lorien Health Services
Marianne Fingerhood, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Beverly Ruiz, Gilchrist
Brigit VanGraafeiland, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Physician of the Year:
Dr Robert Atlas, Mercy Medical Center
Dr. Marc Gertner, General Surgery Specialists LifeBridge Health
Dr. Ashley Kinder, Ascension Saint Agnes Healthcare
Dr. Elizabeth Nichols, Maryland Proton Treatment Center
Dr. Aziza Shad, Sinai Children’s Hospital
Lifetime Achievement: 
Dr. John Herzenberg, LifeBridge Health
W. Anthony Riley, Gilchrist
Elizabeth Tanner, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

COVID-19 Heroes: 
Dr. Jason Birnbaum, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
Dr. Meenakshi Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Department
Karen Doyle, University of Maryland Medical Center
Dr. Jason Heavner, University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center
Dr. Lisa Maragakis, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Dr. Carole Miller, Ascension St. Agnes Cancer Institute
Michele Mullen, University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center
Kim Peterson & Heather Thomas, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Farzaneh (Fazi) Sabi, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Permanente
Nikki Highsmith Vernick, Horizon Foundation

David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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