Patient and Family Choice Award

July 10, 2024

As the first face people encounter at Vanderbilt Behavioral Health, Selene Lanier-Henderson promises ‘kindness, a friendly face and a smile.’

“We repeatedly saw her show that same sort of grace and love to everyone who crossed her path. She was a blessing during this very difficult time!”

Selene Lanier-Henderson poses for a portrait after being surprised with the Patient and Family Choice Award in the Vanderbilt Behavioral Health administration office at the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. (photo by Erin O. Smith)

Selene Lanier-Henderson said she was “completely overwhelmed” when she found out she had won the 2024 Patient Family Choice Award for Vanderbilt Behavioral Health.

“It’s the doctors and the nurses who are treating your family,” said Lanier-Henderson, guest services representative for VBH and the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. “The only thing I have to give is kindness…a friendly face and a smile.”

Lanier-Henderson was one of six employees chosen this year to receive a Patient and Family Choice Award.

Nominations are submitted by patients and families. The award honors employees from across Vanderbilt Health who act with compassion and excellence to provide an exceptional experience for patients and their families. This year, Vanderbilt’s patient and family advisory councils bestowed awards to six individuals from Vanderbilt University Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, Vanderbilt Adult Ambulatory Clinics, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital and Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital.

Lanier-Henderson’s role is a crucial one. Stationed at the hospital’s information desk, she is often the first person encountered by family members who are visiting patients after their admission. More than a greeter, she is a warm and reassuring presence for those worried about loved ones in crisis.

It’s a powerful gift.

“Selene gives a large dose of empathy and compassion…to each patient, visitor and family member who enters the lobby,” said Ann Driscoll, manager of Guest Services for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “She treats those she helps as she would like to be treated if the roles were reversed.”

“She was a blessing during this very difficult time!”

In return, family members have brought her flowers and nominated her for the Patient Family Choice Award with words of gratitude.

“She was calm and friendly…and gave 110% to make a difficult situation more bearable,” one woman wrote.

“It wasn’t just us, though,” wrote another. “We repeatedly saw her show that same sort of grace and love to everyone who crossed her path. She was a blessing during this very difficult time!”

A native Nashvillian, Lanier-Henderson is a mother and grandmother with 25 years of experience in claims processing and customer service in the insurance industry and as a Medicare specialist for a health care delivery network.

Eleven years ago, a friend told her about an opening in guest services at VBH. The position, she said, “is perfect.”

Lanier-Henderson said her mother often told her, “If I can help somebody along the way, my living is not in vain.”

“I’m a social being,” she added. “I love people. The things that I do, I do from the heart.”