The COTY award is given each year at the Finest Awards event.

Communicator of the Year Award

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.

2023 COTY Award Recipient

Nisha Morris
Vice President of Marketing and Communications, City of Hope Orange County

The 2023 Communicator of the Year Award went to Nisha Morris, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for City of Hope Orange County. Morris is a recognized leader in her field, having been named four times as one of the top public relations professionals in the U.S. by Ragan Communications, PR News and PR Daily. She is frequently sought out by national publications for her marketing and communications acumen. A highly strategic communicator, Morris unleashes innovative strategies and tactics to ensure patients and consumers understand City of Hope Orange County’s key differentiators.

Her work with difficult initiatives, including managing two mergers in addition to the cancer center opening, earned her considerable praise within the organization

Outside of City of Hope, Nisha is a mentor to public relations professionals. She frequently speaks on public relations topics to trade associations and chaired the diversity and inclusion committee for OC Public Relations Society of America.

Not everyone can pull this off. Morris can because she is a high-achieving professional who is truly exceptional in her field.

Past COTY Award Recipients

2021/22 - Keith Darce and Stephen Carpowich, Scripps Health

2020 - Heather Valentine, Loma Linda University Health

2019 - no event due to COVID

2018 - Jacqueline Carr, UC San Diego

2017 - Aaron Byzak, Galvanized Strategies

2016 - Dawn Anderson, AMN Healthcare

2014/15 - Mary Ball, Alzheimer's Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties

2013 - Mike Godfrey, Scripps Health

2012 - Jennifer Decker Arevalo, UC San Diego Health System

2011 - Kim Kennedy, UC San Diego Health System

2010 - Todd Miller, Sharp Healthcare

2009 - Carol Burke, AMN Healthcare

2008 - Jean Hitchcock, Scripps Health

2007 - Cheryl Moder, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative

2006 - Don Stanziano, Scripps Health

2005 - Carol LeBeau, KGTV News Anchor and Health Care Reporter

2004 - Debra Kelley, American Lung Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties

2003 - Gustavo Friederichsen, Palomar Pomerado Health

2002 - Judith Yates, Health Care Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties

2001 - Michael Bardin, Scripps Health

2000 - David Owens, Palomar Pomerado Health

1999 - CeCe Wilkens, Wilkens Communications

1998 - Maureen Wisener, Paradise Valley Hospital

1997 - Mark Morelli, Children’s Hospital

1996 - Jim McBride, Kaiser Permanente

1995 - Sharon Ross, Palomar Pomerado Health

1994 - Diane Gage, Sharp HealthCare

1993 - Micki Stockalper, Stock/Alper & Associates

Health Care Communicators of Southern California
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