Spring Hill, Florida – Oak Hill Hospital has announced that its 2009 Frist Humanitarian Awards were presented to the following: 

  • Frist Humanitarian Associate Award presented to Elizabeth “Liz” Jennings.
  • Frist Humanitarian Volunteer Award presented to Phyllis Chiswell, and
  • Frist Humanitarian Physician Award presented to Robert E. Ebert, MD

The Frist Humanitarian Award honors outstanding individuals for humanitarian and volunteer activities. Named in honor of the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. – founder of HCA and renowned humanitarian – this award recognizes individuals whose daily dedication and care-giving epitomize the highest standards of quality and personal commitment.

Three awards are given annually to each HCA hospital. One recognizes an HCA associate who goes beyond day-to-day responsibilities and their overall service to the community. Another recognizes an HCA volunteer who gives unselfishly in their service to the facility. A third award is announced for a physician who best epitomizes Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr.’s commitment to the communities in which we serve.

Elizabeth “Liz” Jennings, the Frist Associate Award winner has been an Oak Hill Hospital associate since 1991. She has been involved extensively with the Dawn Center, Hernando County’s local domestic violence shelter. Liz has served as a member of the executive board and has organized and led multiple fundraisers for the center. In addition she also acts as nurse liaison for the SAVE team (Sexual Assault Victim Exam), which is an extension of the Hernando County Health Department. In addition she also takes on-call duty for the center without compensation when an exam is required for a victim. Liz currently serves as president of the Hernando County Business & Professional Women, an organization which focuses its efforts on various goals such as pay equity and the Equal Rights Amendment. Hernando County BPW participates in several community service projects. In particular, one of their fundraising efforts has led to the construction of scholarship houses where women who are in school can live at low or no cost. Currently, Hernando County BPW is constructing a house at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. Liz is also an active participant in the American Lung Association where she currently works on the local level; however, she has also been a member of its regional board. Liz has earned her accreditation to teach the “freedom from smoking” smoking cessation program and has been instrumental in the American Lung Association’s fundraisers for asthma research.

Phyllis Chiswell, the Frist Volunteer Award winner joined the Oak Hill Hospital Volunteer Association in 1998. In 2000 she was asked to serve as treasurer and has continued in that role to this day. Her volunteer activities include staffing Oak Hill Hospital’s information desk as well as helping in the surgical waiting room and the Oak Hill Hospital volunteer gift shop when needed. Recently Phyllis contributed several hours to Oak Hill Hospital’s 25th anniversary celebration. To date Phyllis has donated 8,332 volunteer hours to Oak Hill, which is the equivalent of working approximately four years as a full-time associate. In addition to her service at Oak Hill Hospital Phyllis is an active member of Mariner Methodist Church where she sings in the church choir and serves as president of the Community Performing Arts Guild (CPAG) for the last eight years. The CPAG is a community concert series that puts on 14 concerts a year. During this time Phyllis spends every other Saturday arranging the concerts and overseeing 65 volunteers. Whatever spare time is left is also devoted to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). She helps support the Gainesville chapter of RMH by collecting aluminum cans and pull tabs. Last year Phyllis was able to collect approximately 755 pounds of aluminum. The money she raised through her efforts went to cover administrative costs at the Gainesville RMH.

Dr. Robert E. Ebert, the Frist Physician Award winner, was raised in Florida but received his internal medicine residency in New York. He returned to Florida in 1986 and began his practice in Hernando County in 1987. He is a founding member of the Good Shepherd Medical Clinic and has been elected Chief of Medicine twice by his peers at Oak Hill. He has also served as president of the Hernando Medical Clinic Society. Dr. Ebert has earned a solid reputation for his support in the community. He partnered with the Hernando Medical Society to open a free clinic in Brooksville, Florida. The Hernando Doctors’ Clinic provided medical service at no charge to members of the community who had no insurance. He was responsible for the operation of this clinic for approximately 10 years before passing on these duties to other physicians. Dr. Ebert is a two-time Iron Man competitor and he has combined his passion for physical fitness with his desire to support his local community. He personally demonstrated this commitment by competing in the 3,000+ mile Race Across America (RAAM), a bicycle race that is more challenging than the Tour de France. Dr. Ebert spent eight consecutive days riding his bicycle from one side of our nation to the other, stopping to sleep for only three hours at a time. The goal of he and three other team mates in finishing the race was to raise money for Macular Degeneration. He was able to raise $30,000. He also helps support a local 100 mile bike ride that raises money for Jericho Road Ministries, a local rescue mission that responds to the economic, emotional, and spiritual needs of people in the community. In addition, Dr. Ebert has been participating in medical mission trips since high school. Over the last 10 years he has utilized his expertise as a physician to continue missions and has partnered with North Court Baptist Church for the last four years. Dr. Ebert and his team have been to Guatemala in 2010, Honduras in 2009, and the Dominican Republic in 2007-2008. He was voted one of America’s Top Physicians in 2006 and received the Patient Choice Award in 2008. He is board certified in both internal medicine and geriatric medicine.