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Forrest General Presents the 2020 Philip Rogers Award Winners - Forrest Health
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    Published on December 18, 2020

    Forrest General Presents the 2020 Philip Rogers Award Winners

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (December 18, 2020) Forrest General Hospital proudly announces the winners of the 15th annual Philip W. Rogers awards. These awards are presented to healthcare workers who exemplify commitment to the field of medicine and excellence in patient care. The award is given to five individuals based on nominations received from their peers. Each winner represents one of Rogers’ most admirable characteristics –Innovator, Leader and Mentor.


    The Innovator Award was presented to Mary Assaad, MD, an ICU physician at Forrest General Hospital. Dr. Assaad has exemplified leadership and innovation in her role in the ICU. When the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Assaad proactively formulated protocols to be used for CPR, intubation, extubation, and the like in an effort to keep the Forrest General staff safe. She used her off time to make educational videos for nursing staff; and, at one point, Dr. Assaad, who is described as driven and devoted, even made at least one box in which to safely intubate a COVID-19 patient. 


    The award for Leadership was given to Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD., director of the 
    Forrest General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Clinic. Dr. Rouhbakhsh has distinguished himself in service to Forrest General Hospital through his medical staff leadership. He has been a calming spirit and voice during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has proven to be an excellent spokesman representing both the hospital and Hattiesburg Clinic as a united front to care for our community during this difficult time. Physicians like Dr. Rouhbakhsh help bridge the gap between the process and patient ensuring that compassion never takes a back seat to business. He has provided guidance to both the Epic team and the leadership of the outpatient clinic as well as interacting with clinicians to bring better focus and tools to the Ambulatory program. He worked closely with the Epic team as they completed system modifications needed to join the Hattiesburg Clinic ACO and participate in the operational committees managing ACO initiatives. His demeanor reflects respect and professionalism toward everyone he interacts with. His eagerness to work with the Epic team has provided much-needed insight and forward thinking to help take Forrest Health to the next level in the Ambulatory setting. As a faculty member for the Residency program, he is an amazing example to the next generation of providers.


    The Philip Rogers Mentor Award went to Keith Jones, MD, a neurologist. Dr. Jones continually demonstrates the We C.A.R.E. values by supporting and encouraging staff while contributing to a positive patient experience. He is described by his peers as always going above and beyond, not only for his patients, but also his co-workers; he is never too busy to stop and explain what he is doing and why, and he is also willing to lend a helping hand whenever needed. Dr. Jones demonstrates the We C.A.R.E. values each and every day. 


    Dr. Jones has developed award-winning Gold Plus Stroke programs designed to improve the quality of care for stroke patients and has received recognition by the American Stroke Association for his contribution to this area of medicine. He has also been recognized with awards for patient care relating to satisfaction scores and by his peers for “outstanding patient care and excellence in evidence-based clinical practice.” In addition, he just joined Forrest General’s pet therapy program by visiting the hospital with his golden doodle, Finn. Dr. Jones understands that you need to improve and adapt to succeed.


    Philip Rogers Advocate Awards were presented to Todd Benton, MD, The Pediatric Clinic and Shannon Vega, RN, Radiology. As in many instances here at Forrest General, teamwork is the key to getting things accomplished. The two healthcare professionals worked toward a goal for a young patient and were dedicated to the process of doing what was best for the patient. 


    Dr. Benton is a mentor and leader who has served Forrest General for a number of years. His empathy for his patients is evident to everyone he works with and he will do whatever it takes to help those in his care. In one particular instance, Dr. Benton researched the procedure, medications and staffing requirements necessary for a young patient to receive care at Forrest General since traveling out of town on a regular basis was causing a strain on the family, both emotionally and financially. Dr. Benton worked to establish an order set and educate the staff. He willingly gave his phone number for multiple texts and spent time answering questions and calling UMMC in Jackson.


    Shannon Vega has been an advocate for many patients at Forrest General. She worked alongside Dr. Benton researching everything from administering the medications and determining what nurses were PALS certified to cost analysis to see how Forrest General might be able to assist this young patient and the family. Once administration gave its approval, Vega arranged for a staff in-service before setting up treatment and reach out to family prior to the first Forrest General treatment to let them know what to expect. Her efforts did not go unnoticed by the pediatrician or the family. Shannon’s dedication to seeing this procedure through to the end is truly an example of “Doing what is best for the patient,” and fully supports the hospital’s mission and our We C.A.R.E. values. This illustrates taking time not to do what is convenient for us, but what can be done to make a difference for our patients.




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