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2023 President’s Award Honorees

At Southcoast Health, our promise to you is Exceptional Care from People Who Care.

How do we do this? By working together, as a team. Every one of our employees plays a vital role in ensuring we provide the best care to you, our valued patients. Here, we introduce you to some of the amazing people at Southcoast Health. You may recognize them as your family, friends or neighbors. To us, they define what it means to be More than medicine.

Portraits of the award recipients will be displayed at all three Southcoast Health hospital locations and the Fairhaven Business Center as of January 2, 2024.

More than medicine is: Community

Donna Franco, Environmental Services, Housekeeper

I worked in medical billing for 16 years before I decided I didn’t want to be in a cubicle anymore — I wanted to move! I applied every day for over a year to get my foot in the door at Southcoast Health, and at 52 I was hired in housekeeping. I was excited to jump into this new role to “go, go, go!”, and I love working with people. Coming from a family that loves gathering, I can tell you, what really drives me is the people I work with. Southcoast to me is a family and I love coming to work with “my people.”

More than medicine is: Entendimento (Understanding)

Maria Da Costa, Manager, Interpreter Services

Moving from the Azores at 8 years old, I couldn’t speak a word of English. When I did learn, I became the
unofficial family and neighborhood interpreter. One day, I was with my father at the unemployment office, he asked me to help a man struggling to get services. This was a real turning point for me. From then on, I helped everyone! When you’ve walked in their shoes, you know how impactful it can be. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help our patients and community, connecting them through language.

More than medicine is: Hard Work

Karen Dockery, HR Program & Analytics Manager

As the granddaughter of Irish immigrants, it was instilled in me that hard work is what it takes to reach your goals. Though my role is very much behind the scenes, I enjoy taking separate, seemingly chaotic things, and bringing order to them, uncovering relationships with data to make a positive change. Working in healthcare, I have learned there is always a new challenge to solve. I am happy to be a part of our innovative solutions and proud of the team I work alongside.

More than medicine is: Flexibility

Lisa Bechard, RN MS, Executive Director, Clinical Systems, Chief Nursing Information Officer

As a nurse for 35 years, my mindset is to always start from the patient and work outward. This carries over to my role in advancing our electronic medical records. I joined Southcoast as a Director of Nursing in the Emergency Department, and was asked to be the nursing liaison for IT in 2007. I quickly found that this was my calling. It takes work to keep the momentum going. Through daily walks, Sudoku puzzles and yoga, I am able to adjust and be flexible to change and see what comes next.

More than medicine is: Reliability

Kevin Paulson, Manager of Investigation and Training, Department of Public Safety

Serving 28 years as a police officer in Marion and Mattapoisett, I now work with a small but mighty team
of former law enforcement officers on the investigations team at Southcoast Health. Investigations can be
challenging but I really enjoy helping people and letting them know they are not alone in a bad situation. I am a father of three grown daughters, who can attest — I am the same person on and off the clock. I am dedicated to service, enjoy a challenge, and always show up to do my job to the best of my ability.

More than medicine is: The Little Things

Rachel Tolan, RRT, Respiratory Therapist

When you walk in a patient’s room you can sense when they need your help. I think of it like a sixth sense. When I am with a patient, I look at everything — how they talk, how they walk, even their eye contact. Sometimes, even propping a pillow can make a big difference in how someone breathes. I love what I do and I love my team. Over the past few years, we faced the pandemic head on, and we are still standing strong. In our role, we get to witness a baby’s first breath and sometimes a person’s last. It’s an honor to do this job.

More than medicine is: Positivity

Samba Cande, Personal Computer Technician

When you come from nothing, you learn to appreciate everything. Growing up, my mom did whatever it took to take care of our family, and it taught me the importance of positivity. When I immigrated to the United States from Cape Verde at 15 years old, the change wasn’t easy. I wasn’t fluent in English, but I was determined to create a better life for myself, and I put myself through college. Because of these experiences, my goal is to help others find the answer to their problem. Even when I don’t have all the answers, I’ll find a way. My mother named me “Samba” which means to “dance” so I try to embody the energy my name represents.

More than medicine is: Opportunity

Michael Johns, BS, R.T.(R), Clinical Educator of Diagnostics Radiology

Radiology is my passion, and I learned that my purpose is to share it through teaching. My parents and my experience in the military taught me to never shy away from opportunities, even the challenging ones.
It’s something I carry with me and try to instill in my students. Each day radiology presents a new opportunity to provide our patients with the best possible care and experience. I’m honored to have the opportunity to encourage new generations and to inspire them to learn and grow.

More than medicine is: Connection

Susan Wood, Medical Laboratory Technician

When I was 21 years old, my mom passed away from cancer. Working in the lab, this deepened my connection to our patients, especially those receiving oncology care. My connection with my colleagues and knowing we make a difference in the lives of our patients, brings me peace. Even outside of work, I find connection with others – volunteering with the Girl Scouts or shopping with a friend. I’ve made so many connections over my 54 years here at Southcoast.

More than medicine is: Giving Back

Donna Kincman, Manager of Volunteer Services and Visitor Management

I’m grateful for the work I get to do. I recruit candidates from all over and welcome them to give back to our community. I believe our volunteers are at the very heart of our mission, serving our patients and creating exceptional experiences. Volunteerism is also an integral part of our healing journey. Kindness heals. Compassion heals. A smile heals. I’m inspired to continue giving back to our people and patients, knowing that I’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.

More than medicine is: Commitment

Kathleen Shubitowski, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CEN, Clinical Expert Nurse, Professional Development

I’ve been a nurse for more than 39 years, beginning as an Emergency Department Nurse and continuing my career to teach and mentor the next generation of nurses. Even now as an educator, I still love to be at the bedside with my students. It’s important to me to be committed to them and our patients. One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had is the ability to improve, and sometimes save, someone’s life. I have the privilege of guiding other nurses, showing them that commitment embodies what it means to be a nurse.

More than medicine is: Kindness

Jessica Inwood, MD, Medical Weight Management Physician

It takes courage to ask for help. Patients are in a vulnerable place when they step into my office, and I’m here to offer them the comfort and care they need. I will never turn a patient away. I’m there to provide ongoing medical and emotional support. Many of my best qualities come from my humble parents who always pushed me to treat people with kindness. I believe in treating everyone with compassion and empathy, including myself.

More than medicine is: Working Together

Fairhaven Radiology

We’re a tight-knit group. We genuinely care about our patients and each other. There’s a real sense of
camaraderie and collaboration on our team. We often see repeat patients and their journeys become ours. The team is always willing to support one another, even when it means crossing over into different functions to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients. Together, no task is too big or small. It’s not always knowing what to do; it’s about understanding how to work together. It’s as if we’re all in sync, moving harmoniously as one.