Health leader honored
Donna Singer, who was instrumental in the creation of Utah Navajo Health Systems and Blue Mountain Hospital, was recently honored as a 2017 Community Star Rural Health Leader.
Singer was honored on National Rural Health Day on November 16.
In 2015, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health accepted nominations of hospital and emergency first responder teams, community health, and volunteer service heroes on the front lines of rural health who were making a positive impact on rural lives.
Soon after, the stories started coming and the book of National Rural Health Day Community Stars was published.
Donna Singer will appear in the 2017 edition of the publication.
The recognition includes the following description of Singer’s work:
“The Singer home had an open-door policy. Lewis and Donna Singer raised their family of seven children in Blanding. Donna began her career as a radiology technician working for the county health system.
“In addition to their seven children, over the years they cared for 50 foster children in their home, primarily Navajo kids from the reservation who the Singers wanted to help receive a good education and make more of their lives.
“Donna Singer embodies the spirit of a wise community leader. In her capacity, she fully recognized the disparity of health care available to the Native Americans living on the reservation south of Blanding.
“Through hard work and tenacity, she set out to create the same open door policy in a healthcare organization as what she created in her own home.
“In January of 2000, with a line of credit against her family dwelling, she opened the doors of Utah Navajo Health Service (UNHS) in Montezuma Creek, Utah.
“In the beginning, she had ten staff members and two medical providers. Donna served the organization as CEO for 14 years, during which time UNHS expanded its operations and opened three additional clinics throughout the county.
“In 2009, UNHS was an instrumental partner in opening Blue Mountain Hospital (BMH) in Blanding, where Donna eventually served as CEO while continuing on her role as CEO at UNHS.
“In 2014, Donna retired from both organizations; however, her leadership is ever-present and appreciated as a member of the BMH Board of Directors.
“Donna has served on just about every community board, and to this day is a member and supporter of six public health programs.
“Like Donna, her children are outstanding and active members of the community including a medical doctor, high school principal, a grant writer, an executive with the UNHS, a virtual reality video specialist, and a few nurses.
“Donna is also a grandmother of 24, and her 57 Navajo foster sons have gone on to achieve great things as well, including serving their country.
“Every life that Donna has touched is brighter than before.”