Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell Health System was recently recognized at the inaugural Charlotte Business Journal Health Care Heroes Awards ceremony.

Through its health care heroes program, the Charlotte Business Journal seeks to honor local individuals and organizations that are driving innovation for the health and betterment of others.

At the ceremony, the Charlotte Business Journal recognized exceptional individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty.

Three remarkable Iredell Health System teammates, Joseph Mazzola, Pam Gill, and Susan Tolle, were selected as finalists across three different categories. Of the finalists, Tolle was named the 2022 Health Care Hero in the “Volunteer” category.

About the Winner and Finalists

Susan Tolle, Board of Directors, Iredell Health Foundation; Board of Trustees, Iredell Health System; Field Advocate, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Susan Tolle

Named the 2022 Volunteer Health Care Hero, Tolle was honored for her efforts in suicide prevention and her role in the Iredell Health Foundation. Tolle volunteers as a local field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), providing mental health education and resources to schools, community groups, healthcare providers, and many others. In a typical month, she delivers a minimum of 2-3 presentations on suicide prevention, and helps facilitate four groups in the area — Iredell County Firearms Safety Coalition, Mooresville Suicide Prevention Working Group, Applied Suicide Prevention Skills Training, and CALM Training (Counseling on Access to Lethal Means). In 2017, Tolle started the AFSP chapter in Iredell County. Since starting the local chapter, she’s helped conduct 40+ programs and train 4,000+ participants in Iredell County. Tolle was also a founding member of Iredell Health Foundation and serves as its secretary on the board of directors. She assists with fundraising and planning, playing a vital role in securing necessary funding used to help individuals in the community who need assistance paying for healthcare services they otherwise could not afford.

She’s also on the board of trustees for Iredell Health System, and served previously on the system’s board of directors. Tolle is the epitome of a caring soul. Her willingness to serve and passion for important healthcare initiatives makes a tremendous impact in the community and region.

“I am very humbled to receive this award in recognition of my efforts. But more importantly, I am deeply grateful that recognition was given to the kind of work that we do. In very recent years, we have seen more focus on mental health, and so many people will benefit from this. So this wasn’t just my award — it was recognition of the need for mental health options for all of us,” said Tolle.

Joseph Mazzola, DO, MBA, CPE, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Iredell Health System

Joseph Mazzola

Mazzola was named a finalist in the Physician category for his crucial role in guiding patients, staff, and the community throughout the pandemic. Mazzola came to Iredell Health System in early 2020 and had no idea the next few years of his career would involve a worldwide pandemic. However, he has proven himself to be invaluable within the organization, volunteering his time and developing innovative ways to keep people safe. In the midst of the pandemic, Mazzola worked with specialists in the community to address concerns and questions surrounding COVID-19 through videos via social media that reached over 15,000 people.

Mazzola was also instrumental in administering vaccines and helping Iredell Health System vaccinate the community. Through his assistance and guidance, Iredell was able to provide more than 56,000 COVID vaccinations. In addition to his other job duties, Mazzola also serves on the emergency incident command team.

“It is quite humbling to be nominated and selected as a finalist for the healthcare hero recognition. I work with a tremendous family of caregivers whose mission it is to ensure our community’s healthcare needs are met,” said Mazzola.

Pam Gill, MHA, RN, CIC, CRNI, Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Iredell Health System

Pam Gill

Gill was named a finalist in the Non-physician Medical Professional category. She has been integral to Iredell Health System’s team for 37 years. As Director of Infection Prevention, she has seen her fair share of new diseases, epidemics, and other healthcare scares emerge — HIV, Ebola, anthrax, SARS, smallpox, and COVID-19, just to name a few. She is responsible for ensuring staff follow specific protocols to keep themselves, patients, and others from unnecessary exposure to diseases and viruses. When COVID-19 first became a concern in China, Gill feared the virus would make its way to the United States, and when it did, she stepped up to the plate to lead the organization in its response.

She provided much needed COVID-19 education that helped the organization and the community understand what was happening. By staying up-to-date on guidelines and recommendations, Gill has led the charge in ensuring staff knew exactly what protocols to follow for treating COVID-19 patients. And, as the pandemic continues, Gill hasn’t slowed down – she’s always ready to do what’s needed to help make sure the organization stays prepared for whatever may come.

“I was very honored that someone thought of me for this nomination. But I consider all healthcare workers that selflessly care for their patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Healthcare Heroes,” said Gill.

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital; Iredell Mooresville; Iredell Home Health; Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center; Community and Corporate Wellness; Occupational Medicine; the Iredell Physician Network and more. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only nonprofit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247 beds; more than 1,700 employees; and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s; Cardiovascular; Cancer; Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. The Health System’s newest campus, Iredell Mooresville, is home to the area’s only 24-hour urgent care facility, as well as an ambulatory surgery center, imaging center, rehabilitation services, and physician practices. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit www.iredellhealth.org.

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