March of Dimes honors local nurses

Three women from the Gorge — Melodi Johnson, Patricia Gilbert and Jeri Foster-Horracks — were honored as exceptional nurses from across Oregon Nov. 2 at the annual March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards breakfast, presented by Oregon Health & Science University.

With nearly 400 nurses nominated, the statewide committee selected 16 winners in a blinded process.

The three local winners all work at Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles:

n Small Hospital category — Melodi Johnson, a resident of Hood River

n Emergency — Jeri Foster-Horrocks, a resident of The Dalles

n Nurse Educator — Patricia Gilbert, a resident of Hood River

While the immense value and profound effect that all nurses have on our lives was noted and celebrated, these 16 nurses were acknowledged for their constant care, compassion and dedication to improve the quality of others’ lives through service.

Advance Practice — Yun Long Ong, OHSU

Charge Nurse: — Cindy Bell, OHSU

Community Health: —Charmika Schuster, OHSU

Critical Care: Kate Thomas, — Legacy Meridian Park Hospital

Distinguished Nurse of the Year — Leda Isabel Garside, Tuality Healthcare

General Medical and Surgical Services — Jennifer Zeck, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center

Hospice, Home Health, Long Term, Rehab and Pallative Care — Kathy Graham Gadler, Legacy Hospice

Mental Health — Marianne Zundel, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart

Nurse Leader — Nancy Simonson, St. Charles Medical Center

Pediatrics — Allison Franco, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Rising Star — Faisal Mutua, Legacy Emanuel Hospital

Women’s Health — Amy Kaiser, Tuality Healthcare

Chaired by Dr. Joe Robertson, president of OHSU, and emceed by Amy Troy, anchor for KOIN Local 6, this event was a benefit for March of Dimes. With the support and involvement of 40 health organizations and medical centers, Nurse of the Year raised nearly $90,000 to help fund the mission of improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

For the latest resources and information, visit or Find out what’s going on in the Greater Oregon Chapter by visiting

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