Four Iowans Honored for Contributions to Community Health at Iowa Community Health Conference

November 08, 2021

Each year, the Iowa Primary Care Association recognizes individuals for their dedication to their patients, communities, and the community health center mission. To recognize outstanding contributions to the health of Iowans, the Iowa Primary Care Association honored four individuals during this year’s Iowa Community Health Conference to thank them for their work to improve Iowans’ health. 

Lifetime Achievement Award: Rick Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, River Hills Community Health Center

Rick Johnson was honored this year with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless efforts on behalf of the underserved throughout his career. This award is presented to select individuals for their commitment to Iowa’s community health centers.  

Rick has served as the CEO of River Hills for 16 of its 21 years of existence. However, since the beginning, Rick has played a role in the community health center. In 1998, he was asked to put together a group of community stakeholders to discuss the possibility of building a community health center. At the time, Rick was in the midst of a nearly three-decade career with the Iowa Department of Human Services. Rick has since grown the community health center from a staff of 12 to close to 200 and grown its footprint to 10 clinics located in Centerville, Richland, Oskaloosa, Fairfield, and Sigourney. River Hills has continued to provide incredible quality of care under Rick’s tenure.

Rick was the 2018 recipient of the Iowa PCA’s Carl Kulczyk Memorial Award and was recently elected mayor of Ottumwa, Iowa. He truly embodies what it means to be a lifetime supporter of community health centers. As Rick heads towards retirement, we recognize his incredible achievements with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carl Kulczyk Memorial Award: John Brandt, Board President and Founding EIHC Board Member

Before retiring in 2017, John served as the Executive Director of Linn County Community Services.  The largest department of Linn County government, Community Services had 300 employees, a  budget of $40 million and provided services to the low income, the elderly, the disabled, and children and youth, including delinquent youth.  Through his community leadership activities, John convened the planning committee that submitted the initial grant application for the Cedar Rapids community to have a federally qualified health center.  John is a Founding EIHC Board Member and the current Board President.

Outstanding Provider Award: Emily Sinnwell, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC

Dr. Emily Sinnwell joined the University of Iowa College of Nursing as a faculty member in 2018. She is a dually prepared family and psychiatric nurse practitioner. In 2016, she completed a one-year psychiatric fellowship at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. She has worked extensively with migrant farmworkers across the state of Iowa providing both direct patient care and serving as the clinical director of the federally qualified health center for four years. In 2015, she was named one of the 30 clinicians making a difference by the Migrant Clinicians Health Network. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner Emily worked as a nurse in Chiapas, Mexico for three years. She currently works in both family practice and psychiatry settings.

Unsung Hero Award: Jim Denman, Senior Grant Accountant

His career has included Executive and Senior Level Management positions in Banking, Real Estate, Home Health Care, Behavioral Health Care, Construction, and for the past 9 years, as the Senior Grant Account with Primary Health Care. He has developed a passion for the non-profit arena, being an integral part of supporting the mission of Primary Health Care has been his driving motivation. Helping to provide the extensive grant backing and seeing how it impacts PHC’s ability to support the vulnerable, uninsured patients, provide needed services to the homeless and achieve positive outcomes with the HIV population PHC serves, “makes it all worthwhile”.

Congratulations to all of our awardees and thank you for everything you do to support and improve the health of Iowans!