2021 Healthy Hall Award Recipients

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Healthy Hall Awards of Excellence spotlight those in the healthcare industry in Gainesville-Hall County making a significant impact on our quality of life through excellence in health and wellness. A luncheon honoring award recipients was held on March 2 at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville, recognizing outstanding professionals in 11 categories.

2021 Healthy Hall Award Recipients

Healthcare Education


  • Brenau University
  • Foothills Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
  • Northeast Georgia Medical Center Graduate Medical Education
  • University of North Georgia College of Health Sciences & Professions

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Graduate Medical Education
John E. Delzell, Jr., MD / Donna Brown / Dr. Janeane Walker

Georgia Medical Center welcomed their inaugural resident physicians in General Surgery and Internal Medicine in July 2019, and its first class of Family Medicine residents in July 2020.  The program is focused on developing and training physician leaders.

Corporate Achievement


  • ATEX, Inc.
  • Gainesville Surgery Center
  • Kipper Tool Company
  • Pro-GeneX

ATEX, Inc.,
Luca Di Benedetto, CEO

Located in Gainesville, ATEX is a manufacturer of non-woven material and manufactures material for N-95 masks produced under the Halyard name throughout North America.  Since early 2020, ATEX converted all of its production to producing material for the N-95 and has kept production running 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.  

Community Impact


  • Emergency, Inpatient Medicine and Critical Care Providers, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Rob Fowler, Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance / Community COVID Coalition
  • Norma Hernandez, Norma Hernandez Income Tax / Northeast GA Latino Chamber of Commerce
  • Supriya Mannepalli, MD, Northeast Georgia Health System

Supriya Mannepalli, MD, Northeast Georgia Health System

Just days after the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Dr. Supriya Mannepalli rallied healthcare leaders from across Northeast Georgia Health System to begin planning so that the Health System and our community would be prepared if the illness reached us. As the Health System’s Incident Command Center, Mannepalli, a leading Infectious Disease physician, continues to guides clinical decisions while still caring for patients and leads coordinated vaccination efforts to bring the latest treatments for COVID patients.

Outstanding Achievement in Behavioral Health


  • J’s Place Recovery Center
  • Whitney Milord, LPC, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Adam Raulerson, Laurelwood
  • Sisu

J’s Place Recovery Center
Jordan Hussey, Executive Director

The Jeffrey Dallas Gay Recovery Center – J’s Place –has not slowed down since COVID 19 impacted our community and hs more than doubled its capacity to serve those struggling with substance use disorder and mental health challenges.  They have supported over 4,700 people in our community and provided 15,783 services from January to December of 2020.

Healthcare Worker of the Year


  • Matthew Crumpton, Northeast Georgia Health System
  • Loren Funk, Longstreet Clinic
  • Respiratory Therapists, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Amy Scroggs, PT, Northeast Georgia Medical Center

**With a tie in this category, two finalists are honored

Loren Funk
CEO, Longstreet Clinic

As the pandemic hit, a COVID-19 Response Team was established and Loren Funk became Longstreet Clinic’s Operational Leader, coordinating internal efforts and facilitating collaboration with NGMC’s Incident Command. Loren led his Laboratory team to establish one of the first COVID-19 lab testing sites with drive thru testing on the Gainesville Campus. He also coordinated with Northeast Georgia Health System to assure the Epic Covid Dashboard utilized by NGHS and Longstreet was included data from both organizations. 

Matthew Crumpton
Manager of Emergency Preparedness, Northeast Georgia Health System

Matthew Crumpton ensures the hospital staff is prepared for mass casualty or severe weather events, oversees the Incident Command Center. When the coronavirus outbreak was still confined to China, Matthew began working with Dr. Mannepalli and other leaders and worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure our leaders had the technology, data and support they needed.  Governor Kemp awarded Matthew the Georgia Commendation Medal from the Georgia National Guard for exceptionally meritorious service during the pandemic.

Advance Practice Provider of the Year


  • Laura Banner, FNP, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group
  • Jennifer Butler, FNP-BC, Longstreet Clinic
  • Paige Owens, FNP-BC, Longstreet Clinic
  • Danny Webb, FNP-C, Longstreet Clinic

Danny Webb, DNP, FNP-C, Longstreet Clinic

In addition to his clinical practice, in 2019 Danny Webb began working in a leadership role providing clinical oversight of nurse practitioners and physician, guidance to the Population Health Management team and Epic team.  He is aslwo a vital member of Longstreet’s Primary Care Development strategy. Danny jumped into and became a valuable member of the COVID-19 Response Team and instrumental in the telehealth deployment, employee safety strategy, outpatient strategy for outpatient management of COVID-positive patients, testing and employee exposure, isolation and return to work protocols.

Nurse of the Year


  • Ashley Belfance, RN, BSN, OCN, Longstreet Clinic
  • Cheryl Bittel, CNS, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Angie Caton, RN, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Tara Jernigan, RN, Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Cheryl Bittel, CNS, Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Cheryl Bittel has worked tirelessly in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville since it opened and cares as much for the other nurses as she does for patients.  Cheryl brought creative solutions to many of the challenges that the hospital staff faced as they treated the sickest of the COVID patients, while always having a smile for others.

Dentist of the Year


  • Sergey Gritsiv, DMD, Oakwood Smiles
  • Matthew Vaughn, DMD, BGW Dental Group
  • Joe Weber, DMD, Weber Dental
  • Richard Weber, DMD, District 2 Public Health

Richard Weber, DMD, District 2 Public Health

Dr. Richard Weber has dedicated his professional life to providing dental care for disadvantaged people. Early in his career he cared for the dental needs of inmates in the prison system, and over the last 30 years he has worked in the Public Health System providing dental care for children and educating them and their parents about ways to improve their oral health. Our District is one of the few in the state to provide dental care and is available, at least in part, to the relationships that Dr. Weber has maintained with the dental community and medical facilities.

Physician of the Year


  • Jack Cheng, MD, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group
  • Mohak Davé, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Clifton Hastings, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Priscilla Strom, MD, Longstreet Clinic – Surgery

Clifton Hastings, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center

When Dr. Clifton Hastings became Chief of Medical Staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in 2019, he had no idea what lay ahead in his two-year term. Even before the pandemic, Dr. Hastings worked tirelessly to support hospital staff and the community, and as the hospital prepared for the first, second and third COVID-19 peaks, his calm, reassuring voice became one that leaders across the community and state listened to.  Never complaining and always kind, Dr. Hastings made himself available to educate the community while caring for his patients.  Dr. Hastings worked non-stop to help ensure that no patient was turned away at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Though his term as Chief of Medical Staff ended at the close of 2020, his leadership has left an indelible mark on our community.

Visionary Leader


  • John Browning, MD, Longstreet Clinic
  • Pranav Jain, MD, Northeast Georgia Health System
  • Elizabeth Larkins, RN, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • Mary Lou Wilson, RN, Northeast Georgia Medical Center

John Browning, MD, Retired, Longstreet Clinic

Dr. John Browning is not only a visionary – he is a doer, a motivator, a goal setter. In the early 1990’s a number of physicians and healthcare leaders began a collaborative journey to ensure our medical community was prepared and positioned for success for years to come. Dr. Browning’s vision helped position us where we are today and was at the forefront of this effort.  In 1995, Dr. Browning and other physician leaders spearheaded the creation of Longstreet Clinic from eight competitive and very successful single specialty practices. In addition, his bold vision and leadership can be seen today in many areas of our medical community, specifically the Prenatal Clinic at the Public Health Department and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at NGMC.

Lifetime Achievement Award


  • Jim Butts, MD, Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic and Good News Clinics
  • Tim Fulenwider, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center (Retired)
  • Tommy Jenkins, MD, Longstreet Clinic (Retired)
  • Sam Poole, MD Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic (Deceased)

Jim Butts, MD, Retired
Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic & Good News Clinics

During Dr. Jim Butt’s 41 years with Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic, he worked in internal medicine, hematology and oncology.   He began Gainesville’s first dedicated Oncology practice, initiated chemotherapy services, and was instrumental in bringing drug trials to the forefront of cancer treatment locally.  He has served on the Board of Directors for Emory University’s School of Medicine and Alliant Health Group.  He was also the Medical Director for Good News Clinics for 13 years before retiring in 2019.  His leadership in aligning partnerships with the clinics helped remove barriers to generate medical care for thousands of low income individuals in Hall County.  In addition to his volunteer service at Good News Clinics, Dr. Butts was responsible for establishing a Hepatitis C treatment clinic, saving thousands of dollars for the community and patients as a result of the partnerships he secured. 

The Healthy Hall Awards of Excellence 2021 Program was presented by Northeast Georgia Health System and the following sponsors:  BGW Dental Group (Gold sponsor); Gainesville Eye Associates, Longstreet Clinic, Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic, ProCare Rx, UNG College of Health Sciences & Professions (Silver sponsors); Alliant Health Plans, Full Media, MedLink Georgia, Inc., Stribling~Whalen Financial Group (Bronze sponsors).

For more on this Greater Hall Chamber Healthcare Initiative, contact Amanda Lewis, Project Manager, Economic Development Division, 770-532-6206 x 111. Email Amanda