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2024 HCC Finest Awards

May 17, 2024

El Adobe de Capistrano

11:30 am - 2:30 pm

Afternoon Agenda

11:30am | Networking & Registration

12:00pm | Luncheon & Awards Presentation

Letter from Our Co-Presidents

A Letter from Our Co-Presidents:             James Chisum and Jody Schneider

We are pleased to let you know that this year we received more submissions and will have more award winners than we’ve had in years! While more submissions might mean a tougher and more competitive process for those hoping to win a Finest Award, it also makes the winning that much more special and deserved! We credit this achievement to the hard work of our Board of Directors who have worked for months during their limited "free time" to lay the groundwork for a successful event. We recognize that serving on the Board of Directors is a voluntary position that oftentimes takes us away from our work and personal commitments and we appreciate everyone who has devoted themselves to ensuring that the Health Care Communicators of Southern California (HCCSC) is a strong and engaging organization to be a part of.

Our Board is fully committed to nurturing and growing HCCSC. We are all passionate about our mission of helping communicators and marketers fine-tune their professional skills and stay current with the ever-changing challenges of working in health care, health IT, life sciences, and other related fields.

The Finest Awards presents the perfect opportunity for us to advance communications in health care by convening representatives from health care organizations throughout Southern California to show off their talents and unique approaches to successful campaigns. Ranging from public relations and advertising, to community relations and marketing analytics, the Finest Awards showcases and recognizes the best of the best in health care communications, and we are proud to be a part of this.

We’d like to heartily congratulate today’s winners, and importantly, thank this year’s sponsors for their support of our organization, without whom we would not be where we are today.

Finally, we'd like to thank ABC's veteran health reporter, Denise Dador, for making the long journey down here to help us in acknowledging and celebrating the accomplishments of this year's winners.

If you are not yet a member, we strongly encourage you to consider joining. Our team has already scheduled a series of interesting and informative events designed to promote networking, education, and fun for everyone involved, and you won't want to miss out!

Thank you so much for your support and we hope you enjoy this year’s Finest Awards!

2024 Board of Directors

Co-Presidents - James Chisum & Jody Schneider

Treasurer - Arika Daniels

Secretary - Sandra De La Torre

Website Director - Callie Huza

Events Director -  Erin McHenry

Sponsorship/Partnership Director - Maggie Habib

Finest Award Chair - Kirk McDonald

Nonprofit Incorporation & SHSMD Affil. Director - Andrew Werts

Membership Chair - Tara Kyman 

Scholarship Chair -  Poolak Forutanpour

Past President & Advisor - Christina Campo

2023 Scholarship Winners

Mirela Guzman

Mirela Guzman, a recipient of the 2023 AMN Healthcare/HCC Scholarship, recently graduated from Downey High School and is presently pursuing a degree in biochemistry at Stanford University. Mirela's ambition is to become a pediatric emergency physician, and she has a strong dedication to providing medical care to underrepresented communities. During her time in high school, Mirela exhibited her fervor for assisting her community by actively participating in KIWIN'S and The Thirst Project. Additionally, she volunteered to provide tutoring to students who were facing difficulties in English and Chemistry. Mirela endeavors to use the skills and drive instilled in her by her family to create an ongoing cycle of consciousness and resilience in marginalized communities by advocating for the rights and well-being of families and children.

Zoe Levin

Zoe Levin, 2023 AMN Healthcare/HCC Scholarship winner is currently a freshman at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she plans to major in Public Health Sciences. During high school, she volunteered in the labor and delivery and postpartum units at UCSD Jacobs Medical Center and engaged in public health research as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Now, Zoe is researching the implications of risks during pregnancy associated with racism and the role they play in Black birthing people's communication with healthcare providers. While she is still exploring what her career will look like, her ultimate goal is to make the field of maternal healthcare more equitable.

Cameron Patton

Cameron Patton, 2023 AMN Healthcare/HCC Scholarship winner, is a junior at San Diego State University, pursuing a major in Interior Architecture with a minor in Honors in Interdisciplinary Studies. Following the completion of undergraduate studies, Cameron intends to apply to medical school. Currently employed as an EMT in San Diego, Cameron gains valuable insights into the pervasive socioeconomic disparities affecting healthcare access.

Within the SDSU community, Cameron holds an executive position in the Doctors Without Borders organization, actively coordinating events aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis in the San Diego region. Beyond local efforts, Cameron extends dedication to international volunteer work, contributing to healthcare initiatives in underserved areas surrounding Antigua, Guatemala. As part of an ongoing commitment, Cameron looks forward to participating in a volunteer medical campaign in Peru during the upcoming spring break.

These diverse experiences underscore Cameron's unwavering commitment to healthcare advocacy and highlight a multifaceted approach to addressing global healthcare challenges.

 Emily Rodriquez

Emily Rodriguez, 2023 AMN Healthcare/HCC Scholarship winner is attending San Diego State University studying Biology with a minor in Spanish. She was a part of nonprofit organization, NexGeneGirls, which places underrepresented highschool girls into research labs. She was able to conduct both dry and wet lab research which confirmed her passion for biological

sciences. She is a volunteer with flying samaritans where they provide medical and dental services monthly, at a free clinic in La Morita, Mexico. She plans to conduct research in a cancer biology lab at state and continue volunteering in underserved communities.

Darcey Tran

Darcey Tran, 2023 AMN Healthcare/HCC Scholarship winner, is a recent graduate of El Camino High School in Oceanside. She is now a freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is majoring in Biochemistry. During high school, she interned at the UCSD Kawasaki Disease Research Center, where she assisted with lab operations, created a presentation about patient recovery rates, and shadowed multiple pediatric cardiologists. She is currently a member of the Asian Pacific Health Corps at UCLA and volunteers in health fairs that provide BMI, vision, and blood pressure screenings to the underserved Asian and Pacific Islander community. She also plans to earn her Basic Life Support certification this year, along with a scribe or EMT certification to gain clinical experience. Darcey aspires to become a pediatrician to serve her community and to expand access to affordable healthcare.

Master of Ceremony

Denise Dador

Denise Dador is the Eyewitness News Health Specialist whose “Circle of Health” reports can be seen on ABC7 Eyewitness News at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Since joining ABC7 in 1998, Denise’s mission has been to help Southern Californians improve their lives with timely medical information and advice. Through her reports, L.A’s top medical experts become accessible and relatable. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, her stories played a pivotal role in helping Angelenos navigate their changing world. Besides volunteering to help groups that fund medical research and patient care, Denise also represents KABC in her work with various Asian Pacific Islander and Filipino- American community organizations.

Denise grew up in San Francisco. She attended Long Island University in Brooklyn and graduated from Mills College with a degree in communication. At WXYZ-TV in Detroit, she anchored the weekend news and hosted a weekly talk show. At KMPH in Fresno, she was the main anchor of their 10pm news.

Denise has received numerous journalism and community service awards including national recognition for her work with Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches. She received Emmy awards for News Feature Reporting and Outstanding Children’s Programming.

Outside of work, Denise is a wife and mother of a teen-aged son and daughter who both have big dreams. While she would like to say she is an avid runner or skier, streaming historical documentaries and period dramas has become her latest obsession.

Today's Awards

We are thrilled to announce that the 2024 Finest Awards competition has been a resounding success, with 125 remarkable entries from 24 diverse organizations. Each submission has showcased an extraordinary level of creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness, setting new benchmarks for success.

Participants have demonstrated exceptional talent across various categories, including advertising campaigns, website design, video production, event management, data analytics, and public relations. The ingenuity and dedication behind each entry have truly impressed us.

As we celebrate the achievements of all entrants, we want to emphasize that every participant is a winner. The effort and passion invested in your work deserves the highest commendation. You have all contributed to raising the bar for excellence, and for that, you should be immensely proud.

The Communicator of the Year award is the highest honor given each year in recognition of outstanding and successful health care professionals. Eligible nominees are individuals who consistently demonstrate excellence in health care communications through service to their organization and/or the health care industry as a whole. The COTY award is open to all professionals at any level, working in a marketing/communication capacity in health care or other health-related field in southern California. This includes professionals from public relations, marketing, advertising, health care or media professions.

Best in Show

One special awardee will take home the coveted “Best in Show”award, the entry with the single highest score.

Past Best in Show Winners

2022/2023 Scripps Health, OE Performance Max Ads

2021 Tri-City Medical Center, Heroes Live Here Poster

2020 Tri-City Medical Center, Tri-City Medical Center Brand Refresh-Branding Guide

2019 Scripps Marketing Scripps Whittier Diabetes Yellow Line Digital, Scripps Diabetes Outreach

2018 Studio K Communications, “For the Boys” written for Cedars-Sinai

2016/17 UC San Diego Marketing and Communications, Cancer Immunotherapy media relations campaign

2015/16 AMN Healthcare, 2015 Survey of Registered Nurses Multi-Channel Digital Campaign

2014 UC San Diego Health Sciences, Discoveries Magazine, Volume 5/2014

2013 Porter Novelli, The Bill Holmes Tower Opens at CHOC Children’s, Public Relations Campaign

2012 Palomar Health, Opening of the New Palomar Medical Center, Public Relations Campaign

2011 Scripps Health, Update Magazine

2010 San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine, “Pawsitive Pals” Video

Special Thank You to Our Judges

Once again, this year’s entries were judged by our colleagues at The New England Society of Healthcare Communications, NESHCo. We are grateful for their partnership and hard work to judge your entries this year. NESHCo is a premier membership organization for healthcare communication, marketing and public relations professionals in New England. To learn more, visit

Health Care Communicators of Southern California
5694 Mission Center Road, Ste 602-310, San Diego, CA 92108-4312

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