June 15, 2001

Children’s Hospital volunteer wins national Heroes Award

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Children’s Hospital volunteer wins national Heroes Award

A Children’s Hospital volunteer has been recognized as the National Heroes Award Winner Parent Volunteer of the Year by the Emergency Medical Services for Children organization.

Dara Howe accepted the award at the recent National Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) meeting held in Virginia.

“Dara has been an unflagging champion of children and their families for many years. She has been known to ‘walk over hot coals’ to make sure her children’s needs are met, but what makes Dara so extraordinary is that she is willing to make the same sacrifices for other children and families,” explained Rhonda Phillippi, statewide EMSC coordinator. “Dara believes that children are gifts, and advocates for all children including children with special health care needs. Year after year, she combines her dedication, compassion, tenacity and wisdom to improve the health and well being of children in Tennessee and all over the nation.”

Howe has served as a family representative for the Tennessee EMSC program for four years. She serves on the state committee on Pediatric Emergency Care and chairs the state’s Family-Centered Care task force. Howe was instrumental in the successful passage of EMSC legislation in Tennessee and incorporating family-centered care principles into the Pediatric Emergency Care Rules and Regulations, as well as advocating for family and patients rights.

In addition to being a family advocate for the EMSC program, Howe is the state coordinator for Family Voices of Tennessee, as well as a member of their national Board of Directors. She works to ensure that hospital regulations incorporate effective standards for including families in the overall care of seriously ill and injured children. She also serves as an advisor to the Family Advisory Council at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

“Dara’s meritorious service has been described as exemplifying the definition of leadership, collaboration, and partnership,” Phillippi said. “She carries with her a professional, non-confrontational, and common sense approach to every individual and every issue that distinguishes her as an exceptional individual. She is never too tired to assist, too aggravated to cope, or too fed up with the system.”

Howe, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., is a wife and a mother of two children, Alex and Aron. Alex is a teen-ager with special health care needs and one of her greatest sources of inspiration.