The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) presented its second-annual Ben Lindekugel Governance Excellence Award Dec. 2 to Whitman Hospital and Medical Clinics Board Chair Cherry Alice Van Tine. The award recognizes her continuing commitment to health care leadership in the Eastern Washington community of Colfax. The honor was presented as part of the association’s Annual Meeting, which is being held as a virtual series rather than a live event due to ongoing the COVID-19 crisis.
Van Tine began her service in health care in Arco, Idaho, at the age of 15 when the town doctor approached her parents and asked if she would come to work at his clinic, as his nurse was pregnant and needed assistance. Van Tine started by cleaning and preparing medical equipment, and by the time she graduated from high school she had helped deliver 21 babies.
As an adult, Van Tine became a certified medical assistant, practicing for 39 years. In the early 2000s, she adopted a role of hospital governance, joining Whitman’s Board of Directors. The hospital was facing potential closure at the time, and her leadership helped secure its future. Van Tine cofounded the Community Hospital Foundation, and her leadership was instrumental when the hospital transitioned from a private community hospital to a public hospital district with publicly elected trustees. She has served five terms as the board’s presiding member.
Van Tine is also active with WSHA, serving as a member of the association’s Hospital Governing Boards Committee and advocating for health care at the state and federal levels of government.
“Cherry Alice is one of the most dedicated board and community members I have had the pleasure to work with over my health care career,” said Whitman Hospital and Medical Clinics CEO Hank Hannigan said, who nominated Van Tine for the award. “She is so well versed in health care, and she’s an institution in our community. I’m so grateful to have her guidance.”
“Cherry Alice is a tremendous board member who is an exemplary leader in her community and an inspiration to her peers across the state,” WSHA President and CEO Cassie Sauer said. “Great health care governance leads to great health care, and Cherry Alice’s expertise and drive make her incredibly deserving of this honor.”
The Ben Lindekugel Governance Excellence Award was created in 2019 and is given each year to a hospital board member or commissioner who has displayed exemplary leadership and community service. The award is named after the late Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts Executive Director Ben Lindekugel, who was especially dedicated to ensuring good governance among hospitals across Washington state. Lindekugel died unexpectedly in June 2019.
About Whitman Hospital and Medical Clinics
Whitman Hospital is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital serving rural communities as a Public Hospital District covering 1,200 square miles in Whitman County, including the towns of Colfax, LaCrosse, Endicott, St. John, Steptoe, Hooper and Hay. WHMC offers a wide range of services including emergency, inpatient, outpatient, obstetrics, imaging, laboratory, therapy and primary care. More information can be found at www.whmc.org.