The Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award recognizes an organization or individual who has demonstrated great courage in their actions on behalf of Minnesota’s hospital, patients, and their families. George Gerlach has dedicated his life’s work for nearly 30 years to provide quality health care to the Granite Falls area and has been deeply involved in other organizations such as Medi-Sota and MHA to extend quality health care across the region and the state. George began his professional career as an orderly in the National Guard. He later became a registered nurse, then advanced to a hospital nursing supervisor. While he ultimately advanced his career to the position of Hospital and Nursing Home Chief Executive Officer and Administrator, his focus remains on patient centered care. George is a strong advocate for rural health care in Minnesota; providing leadership support for the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support program, the hospital’s trauma designation, and the Telemedicine/Telestroke program to ensure his community has access to high quality care. George is active in numerous local and statewide organizations. He has been instrumental in driving the new nursing home project for the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor to help others realize the vision of providing a continuum of care from birth through senior care. Through George’s continuous service to his community and state, he continues to find new ways to provide better patient care for his community.
The criteria for the Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award:
As president of MHA for 10 years, Bruce Rueban helped catapult Minnesota hospitals’ reputation into the national health policy arena. He led the effort toward transparency and accountability when Minnesota became the first state in the nation to publicly report adverse health events. In 2006, his vision led MHA to create the first statewide report showing the specific benefits that hospitals provide their communities. Bruce showed exceptional courage working on all of these activities while caring for his wife, Denise, as she struggled and showed personal courage with breast cancer. In 2008, Patsy Riley, who worked with Bruce on many of these efforts when she was at Stratis Health, established this award to recognize Bruce’s outstanding leadership and courage in the Minnesota health care community, as well as his commitment and devotion to his family and wife Denise. Judging is be based on the following criteria:
- Demonstrated leadership and courage in the development of ground-breaking activities to increase patient safety. (20 points)
- Demonstrated leadership and courage that proactively led to a more transparent and open environment for sharing health care information. (15)
Development of programs that showed exceptional attention to issues that focus on improving patient care through advocacy and compassion. (15)