Forrest General Trauma Award Winners

From left, Dan P. Burgess, MS, RN, CEN, Education coordinator; Victoria Hickerson, BSN, RN, CEDP, Education coordinator; Chuck Carter, RN, CEO of AAA Ambulance and Rising Star award winner; Kate Aseme, MD, Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Trauma; John Gardner, MACM, BRST (R) (CV), director; Duncan Donald, MD, Forrest General medical director for Trauma and Surgical Services.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (May 28, 2021) Forrest General Hospital is proud to have affiliations with two of the state’s three winners in this year’s recognition of outstanding trauma leaders. AAA Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Carter, and retired FGH Trauma Surgeon, Kate Aseme, M.D., were recognized during the May meeting of the Forrest Health Board of Trustees, by representatives with the Mississippi Trauma Care System Foundation, on behalf of the Mississippi State Department of Health Bureau of Acute Care Systems.

“We are here to recognize two exceptional individuals chosen by members of the statewide trauma care system to receive recognition as the finale to our 2021 Mississippi Trauma Symposium,” said John Gardner, MTCSF director.

Duncan Donald, MD, medical director for Trauma and Surgical Services at Forrest General and who serves as chairperson for the Mississippi Trauma Advisory Board of Directors, said it was “quite an honor for Forrest General personnel, both past and present, to be recognized with these prestigious statewide awards.”

The Rising Star: Wade Spruill Jr. Memorial Award was presented to AAA CEO, Chuck Carter. This is the first year for this award which identifies the next generation of leadership in trauma care. The award recognizes a trauma professional who has demonstrated leadership and passion for trauma patients in his or her contributions to the trauma population – physician, nurse, registrar, Emergency Medical Services, administrator, or any other healthcare professional that has gone above and beyond for trauma care.

Carter, who has many years of experience with EMS and in leadership positions was mentored by Spruill, who passed away earlier this year. Carter has been with AAA Ambulance Service since 2001 and served as Chief Operations Officer until he was named Chief Executive Officer in January 2021. The service covers an eight-county area and is a joint effort of Forrest General Hospital, Forrest County and the City of Hattiesburg.

Carter, both a registered nurse and a certified paramedic, consistently shows his commitment to the betterment of trauma care by his involvement in emergency management, prehospital care and EMS leadership.

“Chuck is truly deserving to be the first recipient of this award,” said Gardner. “He is honest, dependable, dedicated, and is a valuable asset to EMS in the state of Mississippi.”

Kate Aseme, M.D., was awarded the Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Trauma. This award recognizes an individual (current or retired) who has demonstrated dedication to the development and ongoing support of the Mississippi Trauma System of Care. The award recognizes a distinguished career and visionary leadership dedicated to the prevention of injuries, advancement in trauma care, and a lifelong commitment to the care of trauma patients.

Aseme was a trailblazer in the world of surgery and trauma. As a female surgeon, she came to Mississippi in 1977 and, thus, became the state’s first female African-American general surgeon. She practiced surgery at Forrest General until her retirement in 2015. As a founding member of Forrest General’s trauma program, which was established in 1998 and became one of the first community-hospital-based trauma programs in the Southeast, her work, and that of others, led to the hospital’s Level II trauma center designation. She is a long-time member of the state Performance Improvement Committee, and a leader in trauma care in the state. Aseme was appointed to the At-Large seat on the Forrest Health Board of Trustees in June 2016.

“She is respected by her peers for outstanding patient care,” said Gardner. “She has elevated the quality and accessibility of trauma care statewide.”

“Here at Forrest General Hospital, we are fortunate to have two such dedicated and outstanding professionals who have helped shape and drive the trauma program,” Donald said. “Dr. Aseme has long been a leader in the trauma system, not only locally, but also statewide. She has been an architect of a quality trauma system and her contributions to its growth have been immeasurable. Chuck Carter has been a long-time employee at AAA Ambulance Service, serves on several state trauma committees and is widely recognized for his ongoing commitment to the excellence of Mississippi’s trauma program. We are lucky to have been blessed with the work of these two to help treat injuries and save lives of patients throughout the Pine Belt area. I am honored for the opportunity to have worked with both of these illustrious individuals.”

Both award recipients received a trophy identifying their award, as well as a signed painting by Daniel Sundahl, a firefighter, paramedic and artist who creates portraits of EMS scenes inspired by his work in the field. Carter’s painting reflects his life of Emergency Medical Service, while Aseme’s reflects her life as a trauma surgeon.

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Beth Bunch

Media Coordinator

Please submit all media requests via email to beth.bunch@forrestgeneral.com or by phone at 601-288-1303.

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