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Reno Home to 37 of the Nation's Best Patient Communicators

May 08, 2023

Reno Cityscape

During National Healthcare Week, clinical providers who are “Best of the Best” being honored for demonstrating exceptional communications skills in their clinical practice, as awarded by you, their patients.

“Amazing! Phenomenal! Thank you for always showing genuine concern. You are kind, considerate and caring. You are interested in me. You are the best doctor/nurse practitioner I have ever had. I trust you with my life. You act on things right away. You are awesome. You have saved my life, and my family. You are knowledgeable, thorough, intelligent, and compassionate. You are my favorite. You are my angel. You have made me better. You always make me feel like a success, even if I could have tried harder. I love you. I thank you.” These are some of the comments made by patients regarding their doctors and advanced practice providers who will be honored next week by the Patient & Family Advisory Council and Renown Health with a special breakfast celebration in south Reno.

In honor of National Healthcare Week, Renown Medical Group, which offers primary and specialty care at locations in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Fallon, Fernley, and Silver Springs will honor 37 physicians and advanced practice providers at the Dr. John Spellman Excellence in Patient Communications Award Celebration.

This annual award, supported by the Renown Health Foundation and a donor family, honors clinicians who demonstrate exceptional communications skills in their clinical practice, as awarded by their patients. Recipients of this award are ranked in the top ten percent nationally in provider communication for 2022, as measured by over 11 thousand patients who responded nationally to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CG-CAPHS) or Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems and over 14,000 local patients who gave them top scores on the national patient experience survey.

Patients were asked if their medical providers explained things in a way they could understand; if they listened carefully; if they showed respect for what they had to say; if they spent enough time with them; if they read their medical records; if they ordered tests and followed up with them on their results; and to give them a rating on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 was the highest score.

“These incredible medical providers set the gold standard for excellent communications with patients, scoring in the top 10% nationally for compassion, caring, competency and communications,” said Brian Erling, MD, MBA, President & CEO of Renown Health. “We are extremely proud of them and their outstanding dedication to patients, families and our community.”

The awards will be given by his family in remembrance of the late Dr. John W. Spellman, human rights advocate, scholar and professor. Dr. Spellman treasured kindness, scholarship, debate and medical providers who demonstrated exceptional communications skills and held their patients in the highest regard.

The Recipients of the 2022 Dr. John Spellman Excellence in Patient Communications Award are:

  1. Christina Alsop, DNP, AOCNP, Oncology Nurse Practitioner, William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown
  2. Pamela Burgio, APRN, Renown Primary Care
  3. Jennifer Brown, APRN, Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine
  4. Stephanie Carlesen, DNP, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
  5. Carolyn Dennehey, MD, Rheumatology
  6. Benjamin Ebner, MD, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
  7. Christopher Driscoll, MD, Pediatrics, Renown Children’s Hospital
  8. Kerac Falk, MD, FACOG, Renown Women’s Health
  9. Michael Hardacre, MD, Radiation Oncology, William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown
  10. Robin Hollen, DNP, FNP-C, APRN, M.Ed., MSN, Breastfeeding Medicine Nurse Practitioner, Renown Women’s Health
  11. James Martin Johnston, MD, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Renown Children’s Hospital
  12. Stephanie Jones, DO, Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation
  13. Charlotte Kermode, APRN, Renown Primary Care
  14. Michele Kiser, MD, Renown Primary Care
  15. Matthew Klippenstein, MD, Renown Primary Care
  16. Anamarie Manea, MD, Pediatric Endocrinology, Renown Children’s Hospital
  17. Marie McCoramck, MD, Renown Primary Care
  18. Catherine Mindeguia, APRN, Renown Primary Care
  19. Dean Miyagawa, MD, Internal Medicine, Renown Primary Care
  20. Amanda Morgan, MD, Pulmonary Medicine, Renown Medical Group
  21. Cecelia O’Dowd, MD, Renown Primary Care
  22. Kasie Reynolds, APRN, Renown Children's Hospital, Behavioral Health
  23. Jocelyn Schneider, APRN, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
  24. Vanessa Slots, MD, Renown Pediatrics
  25. Daniel Spogen, MD, Renown UNR Primary Care, Sports Medicine
  26. Jennifer Simcox, APRN, Renown Primary Care
  27. Mark Stovak, MD, Renown UNR Primary Care, Sports Medicine
  28. Shining Sun, MD, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
  29. Jennifer Sutton, MD, Radiation Oncology, William N. Pennington Cancer Institute at Renown
  30. Robert Swackhamer, MD, Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health
  31. Carl Thomas, MD, Renown Primary Care
  32. Katherine Thyssen, DO, Geriatric Medicine, Renown Primary Care
  33. Ly Vu, MD, Renown Primary Care
  34. Scott Michael Wallace, MD, Renown Pediatrics
  35. Kristin Wilson, MD, Renown Pediatrics
  36. Bryan Young MD, Internal Medicine, Renown Primary Care
  37. Jacob Zucker, MD, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, Renown Children’s Hospital


Since 2018, Renown Medical Group has posted thousands of verified patient ratings and comments of their employed providers online and viewable by the public at renown.org.

“Our goal is to consistently exceed customer expectations, every day, and with every encounter. At Renown, we embrace transparency and empower patients,” says Rahul Mediwala, MD, CEO of Renown Medical Group. Dr. Mediwala should know – he is also a highly rated physician by his patients, has practiced for more than 20 years, and sees the ratings program as another way to support employed physicians and providers at Renown Health.

Only patients who’ve had an outpatient visit with a Renown Medical Group provider may be selected to receive a survey from CH-CAHPS. This way, Renown can confirm the results are from patients who have been seen by the provider. All comments are posted anonymously, and patients are asked for their permission to use their comments. Feedback is shared with every provider.

Renown Health is integrated with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada’s first medical school, which serves to enhance the health of the community through increased access to care, innovative health care delivery, expansion of clinical research and training for the next generation of physicians and health care professionals.

Almost 700 Renown Medical Group primary care and specialty providers are currently accepting new patients and accept most health insurance plans, including Renown’s not-for-profit insurance plan, Hometown Health. To find the doctor or provider that is best for you visit renown.org, self-schedule with your established provider at MyChart.Renown.org or schedule an appointment with a Renown Medical Group or University Health provider by calling our agents available by phone- Wed-Fri: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat-Sun: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 775-982-5000. Renown Health is currently hiring in all areas. Search for a new career opportunity and apply online at careers.renown.org.

About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health.

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