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All Stars 2017

Sarah Elizabeth Barowka, M.D.

Faculty Physician
NMMC Family Medicine Residency Center

Dr. Sarah Barowka of Tupelo joined the Family Medicine Residency Center in 2013 as a resident physician. After her graduation in 2016, she moved to faculty physician. She was previously named an All Star in 2016.

A graduate of Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, La., Barowka attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. earning a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience in 2009. Later, she received her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-School of Medicine in New Orleans.

Dr. Barowka was recognized for going above and beyond for a patient who was dropped off at the clinic two hours before his scheduled appointment. Dr. Barowka asked the patient if he would like anything to eat since he had to wait until the clinic started back up for his appointment. After the patient requested a Moon Pie and a Coke, Dr. Barowka went to the store and purchased two flavors of Moon Pies and a Coke.

She was also nominated for doing a peer-to-peer review with the medical director of a patient’s insurance company and having the decision overturned after a patient’s insurance company wanted to deny an inpatient stay.

“What I love most about my job is patients and their families,” Barowka said. “Family medicine is truly ‘from diaper to diaper’ and it is undoubtedly a privilege to care for individuals in all stages of life.”
Barowka has two “furbabies,” named Axel and Rhodes. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians and Mississippi State Medical Association.


Ashton Hamner

RPSGT/Lead Sleep Technologist
NMMC-Tupelo Sleep Disorders Center

Ashton Hamner of Hamilton, Ala., joined the NMMC Sleep Disorders Center in May 2012. A 2008 graduate of Hamilton High School, Hamner attended Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. In 2012, she graduated from the University of North Alabama in Florence with a degree in polysomnography.

Hamner is a board-registered polysomnographic technologist and will graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration from Colombia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala.

Hamner was recognized for helping a patient find a company that would take her insurance and get her CPAP device as soon as possible. The patient lived hours away and Hamner helped her get set up before going home, which saved her the time and expense of driving back to Tupelo later.

She was also nominated for helping a patient who did not have insurance find an affordable CPAP device. She spent a great deal of time on the phone, calling numerous companies to find the best price. Once she found the best option, she got the CPAP device from the company and personally delivered it to the patient.

“The best part of my job is definitely my coworkers in the Sleep Disorders Center,” Hamner said. “I am blessed to work with a group of people who display an extraordinary amount of teamwork, compassion, and genuine care and concern for our patients and their family members.”

She has a daughter named Lennox and is a member of First Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ala. Hamner also serves as a chairperson for NMMC’s Sleep Disorders Center Committee.

Amy Jenkins

Chickasaw Medical Clinic


Amy Jenkins of Houston joined Chickasaw Medical Clinic in 1997. She is a graduate of Houston High School and attended Itawamba Community College in Tupelo. She was also recognized as an All Star in 2010.

Jenkins was recognized for going above and beyond to help minimize wait times for patients. “She has been calling patients back and weighing them and putting them in the exam room to help the nurses,” said a coworker who nominated her. “This is not something she has to do, she is just helping ensure patient needs are met.”

One patient left his written prescription at the clinic, and Jenkins met the family after hours on a Friday evening to give him the prescription so he wouldn’t have to go all weekend without his medication. She helped another patient’s family get the patient out of the vehicle for his appointment.

She was also nominated for jumping in to solve a problem when the front lobby commode overflowed. “She cleaned the water up from the lobby and bathroom, got a wet floor sign up and called Facility Operations to have the commode fixed,” said a coworker who nominated her. “She never hesitates to help out whether it’s at the front desk, helping hold a child for a shot or assist with an X-ray. She always goes above and beyond her job duties.”

Jenkins said the best part of her job is helping patients get the care they need. “I love knowing my patients on a personal level,” she said. “They seem like family.”

She and her husband, Jerry, have four children – Carrie Grace Criddle, Anna Morgan Jenkins, Jeri-lyn Jenkins and Josh Jenkins – and one nephew, Noah Gatlin.

She is a member of Parkway Baptist Church in Houston.

Blanca Johnson

Continuing Education Assistant
Education Department

Blanca Johnson of Belden joined the NMMC staff in 2009 at Tupelo Service Finance before transferring to the Education Department in 2015. She was also recognized as an All Star in 2016.

She is a graduate of Mayfield High School in Las Cruces, N.M.. She attended an international business college and Itawamba Community College. She has a criminal justice degree and an associate degree in social work. She is also a CPR instructor.

Johnson was recognized for using flowers sent to her in celebration of her 2016 All Star to cheer up a patient in rehabilitation in the hospital. On another occasion, Johnson saw an employee with a food tray turn a corner and run into someone, spilling her food. Johnson helped her clean it up and then explained the situation to Food and Nutrition employees, who gave Johnson a meal pass to give to the employee.

She was also recognized for helping a patient in the Food Court who was in a wheelchair and having trouble getting her food. Johnson helped her make her lunch, bought her food and walked with her to the patient room where she was staying with a family member. “Blanca is always taking the time to go the extra mile for those in need,” said a coworker who nominated Johnson. “She is caring, compassionate, giving and thoughtful.” She has purchased meals for patients and family members on several occasions, and brought snacks for classes in Education.

She cleaned the nourishment room in the nursing office – including the refrigerator and microwave. On Labor Day, she came to work and cleaned the media room in the auditorium.

She was nominated for cleaning up after someone vomited on the carpet and floor in the hospital hallway. “She could have easily passed by it or called someone else to clean it, but she immediately went into clean up mode,” said a coworker who nominated Johnson. “She got gloves, rags, water and cleaning solution and worked on her hands and knees until the door and floor were spotless and sanitized.”

Johnson said she loves her job because she is able to help those in need. “I love meeting new people of all walks of life and showing them compassion, and doing it with no expectations in return.”

Johnson has three daughters and attends White Hill Baptist Church.

Bridget Logan

Chickasaw Medical Clinic

Bridget Logan of Vardaman joined the NMMC staff in 2011 as a pediatric nurse. She later joined the float pool with North Mississippi Medical Clinics, transferring to Chickasaw Medical Clinic in 2013.

She is a graduate of Vardaman High School, and graduated from Northwest Community College in Oxford with her licensed practical nursing degree in 2004. She is CPR and AED certified by the American Heart Association.

Logan was nominated for helping one patient who needed financial assistance. The patient was referred to a clinic in Olive Branch for severe depression, and was concerned about having enough money go get there. Logan gave the patient enough money for gas and snacks to make her trip a little easier.

On another occasion, she trained a new nurse for another clinic. She also helps with the lab and performing drug screens in between taking patients back.

She was nominated for giving employee flu shots at a local industry.

“Bridget goes above and beyond what is expected of a nurse,” said a coworker who nominated Logan. “I observed her out my window patching an elderly gentleman’s car window that was out. This was one of the coldest days and she was concerned about him being sick and having to ride without a passenger window.”

When two of her coworkers were out with the flu, she assisted two providers and never complained. She worked in the lab and performed strep tests, flu tests, CBCs and urinary analyses, as well as helping the staff that came to fill in.

“I love being a nurse and working in health care,” Logan said. “To me nursing is not just another job, it is a calling. I always strive to treat each patient as if they were my family. The feeling you get when you are able to help someone whether it is big or small is indescribable. I am so blessed to be able to do what I love every day.”

She and her husband, Waylon, have been married for 15 years and have three sons – Landon, Layton and Lanson. They attend Midway Baptist Church in Vardaman.

She is a member of the North Mississippi Medical Clinics service team and the Vardaman Booster Club, and is active with several community organizations.

Jason Stacy, M.D.

North Mississippi Neurosurgical Services

Neurosurgeon Jason Stacy, M.D., of Tupelo, joined NMMC in 2016.

He is a graduate of Tupelo High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He received his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine, and completed a neurosurgery residency and endovascular neurosurgery fellowship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he served as chief resident.

Dr. Stacy was nominated for going to check on a patient on a Sunday after the facility’s nurse practitioner contacted him about an incision that was possibly infected. On another occasion, he was in radiology reviewing a scan, and help was needed moving another patient. Dr. Stacy stopped what he was doing to help.

One of his hospital patients would not eat anything except chicken or beef broth, and the patient complained that he kept receiving vegetable broth on his meal tray. Dr. Stacy brought the patient two large containers of beef and chicken broth so he would have something to eat.

One clinic patient is a paraplegic and requires a van to transport her. After her appointment, the transportation driver was unable to return to pick her up. Dr. Stacy and other neurosurgery staff made the patient and caregiver comfortable, brought them drinks and snacks and kept them up to date on transportation status. After hours of failed attempts with Medicaid transportation, NMMC Ambulance Services was willing to transport the patient around 9 p.m. “I cannot say enough great things about how the staff and Dr. Stacy handled the situation. It was a sad situation, but excellent staff members turned it into a good outcome,” said a coworker who nominated Dr. Stacy.

One of his patients was in a nursing facility in Pontotoc, and couldn’t come to the clinic without a family member accompanying her. The family lived out of town and would have to drive three hours to come with her. Dr. Stacy went to the nursing facility to make a determination on if she could come out of her brace. This helped the family who was unable to take off work, and the patient was able to get hands-on care.

Dr. Stacy is married to Lauren Reed Stacy and is the son of Sandra Morris and Dean Stacy. He is a member of St. James Catholic Church, the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the NMMC Institutional Review Board and the Neurosurgery PAC.

Angie Tunnell

Office Manager
Chickasaw Medical Clinic

Angie Tunnell of Houston joined Chickasaw Medical Clinic in 1993 in admissions and discharge. In 1996, she became office manager.

She is a graduate of Houston High School and is a certified breath alcohol technician.

Tunnell was nominated for going above and beyond in her duties as office manager by helping call patients back, weighing them and putting them in a room when the nurses are busy.

“Angie always goes beyond to ensure the clinic is open and running and the patients are happy,” said a coworker who nominated Tunnell. “She cleans patient rooms and will take patients to their rooms when needed. She is willing to do whatever it takes. She answers the phone and is also willing to answer and assist providers, nurses and office staff. She really cares about Houston and the people who live here.”

One mother accidentally left her child’s medicine at the clinic. Tunnell met them at the clinic after hours so the child could have his medicine.

On another occasion, the clinic ran out of A1C testing supplies. Tunnell drove to another clinic to pick up a box of supplies to last until the clinic’s came in. This helped keep patients from having to come back to the clinic later to get their needed lab work.

She and her husband, Terry, have two children, Lance and Lindsey, and one grandson, Cole.

Carissa Wages

Speech Language Pathologist
NMMC Acute Rehabilitation

Carissa Wages of Pontotoc joined the NMMC staff in 2011. She is a graduate of Bruce High School. She completed her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology from Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, and her master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. She has a certificate of clinical competence by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Mississippi State Board of Health.

Wages was nominated for making communication cards to help a young patient with a trach who has having trouble communicating with staff and her family.

On another occasion, the hospital was very full and on diversion. In the ICU, the nurses escort patients to other areas of the hospital when needed. “One nurse was downstairs with one of her patients, and a STAT order was placed for her other patient to go to CT for a scan,” said a coworker who nominated Wages. “Carissa recognized how busy that nurse was and took the patient to CT. She had no obligation to be so kind and helpful. She set a good example of going out of her way when she didn’t have to. She is always willing to lend a hand when needed.”

She helped another coworker by supervising a patient and managing his oxygen while the physical therapist performed gait training with the patient.

One patient, after being told he could drink liquids after several days of not being able to drink or eat, mentioned how much he liked orange Gatorade. Wages took the initiative and her own money to buy the patient orange Gatorade.

“The best part of my job is helping people who have lost the means of communication speak to their loved ones again and those who are unable to eat or drink by mouth to have their favorite meal again,” Wages said.
She and her husband, Corey, have one daughter, Carstyn. They attend The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo.

Tracy Wilburn

Admission/Discharge Specialist
North Mississippi Neurosurgical Services

Tracy Wilburn of Okolona joined the NMMC staff in 2000 as a unit coordinator on 4 South, where she worked for 12 years before transferring to the neurosurgery clinic.

She is a graduate of Okolona High School and is certified in CPR.

Wilburn was recognized for helping one patient who had locked her keys in her vehicle, and for walking another down to the first floor to help him find the office he was looking for. She also stopped one patient from stealing a wheelchair that belonged to Longtown Medical Park by explaining that other patients needed to be able to use wheelchairs there as well.

One patient needed to use the restroom but the light was not functioning. Wilburn held the door open so the patient could have some light, and then called facility operations to fix the light.

“The best part of my job is that I get to see the world from someone else’s standpoint,” she said. “It gives me the opportunity to appreciate the little things in life. You never know what someone is going through and my smile could make a difference for them. This has taught me to count my blessings and be grateful. In the 17 years that I’ve worked for NMMC, I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Wilburn has three sons – Bryson, 14; Silas, 11; and Brayden, 9. She attends Chapel Grove East in Okolona.

Shonnie Wright

Respiratory Therapist

Shonnie Wright of Guntown joined the NMMC staff in 2003 as a respiratory therapist in Tupelo, and she transferred to NMMC-Iuka in 2012.

She is a graduate of Burnsville High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in cardio-respiratory care sciences in 1996 from Tennessee State University in Nashville. She is a member of the American Association of Respiratory Care.

Wright was nominated for helping clean rooms in the Emergency Department after a mock code green. On another occasion, she helped clean up after a patient who had gotten sick.

One day the Emergency Department was very busy and the nurses were tied up with critical patients. Wright helped clean and stock rooms and assisted discharged patients with getting to their cards. “Lives were saved an patient satisfaction was at an all-time high thanks to the amazing leadership, teamwork and courtesy exemplified by Shonnie,” said a coworker who nominated her.

Wright said her favorite part of her job is working with all types of people. “As a respiratory therapist, I see people of all ages and backgrounds,” she said. “I really enjoy doing a job that makes them feel better. It’s a great feeling when a patient tells me that they can breathe better.”

She is the daughter of Tommy and Wanda Wright. Her uncle is Thurman Glover and her brother is Shane Wright.