Children’s to receive special Health Care Heroes award for teen vaping investigation

Former Gov. Schreiber to receive lifetime achievement award


As part of BizTimes Media’s annual Health Care Heroes awards program, Children’s Wisconsin will receive a Special Impact Award for its work in identifying a serious public health concern for vaping teenagers.

Earlier this year, Children’s Wisconsin, formerly known as Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, admitted several otherwise healthy teenagers with mysterious severe respiratory problems. Each patient went through a battery of tests, but a cause could not be determined.

Hospital staff conducted an investigation, examining the patients’ history and discovered that vaping was a common thread among them.

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Children’s shared that information with the state Department of Health Services and went public with information about a possible link of vaping to teen respiratory problems.

Soon after, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert, putting the teen vaping health issue on the national radar. Some states have since banned the sale of e-cigarette products. The Trump administration is preparing to ban the sale of flavored vaping products.

Children’s Wisconsin and the other winners of the Health Care Heroes awards will be honored at an awards breakfast on Friday, Dec. 13, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee. Click here to register. M3 Insurance is the sponsor of the Health Care Heroes program.

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Here is the complete list of the 2019 Health Care Heroes awards winners:

Advancements in Health Care

  • Dr. Katja Kovacic, gastroenterologist – Children’s Wisconsin

Behavioral Health

  • Crisis Resource Centers
  • Dr. Terri deRoon-Cassini, associate professor – Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Adel Korkor, founder – A.B Korkor Foundation for Mental Health

Community Service

  • Monica Hebl, dentist/owner – Burleigh Dental
  • Joshua Knox, physician assistant/clinical associate professor – Marquette University

Executive Leadership

  • Cheryl Maurana, PhD, professor of population health and senior vice president for strategic academic partnerships – Medical College of Wisconsin

First Responder

  • Ladonna Davis, licensed practical nurse – Community Care

Health Care Staff

  • Fabiola De Chico, community health coordinator – Ascension St. Francis Hospital
  • Bryan Lewis, assistant to the dean for health-related professions – UW-Parkside


  • Barb Burmeister, registered nurse, Froedtert Hospital
  • Jeffrey Couillard, registered nurse, Advanced Pain Management


  • Dr. Madelaine Tully, family practice physician – Progressive Community Health Centers


  • Dr. Peter Geiss, medical director – Lake Area Free Clinic

Lifetime Achievement

  • Martin Schreiber, former governor of Wisconsin, author of “My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver”

Special Impact Award

  • Children’s Wisconsin, discovered common thread between vaping and serious respiratory problems in teenagers.

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