For more information, call Rebecca Sylvester at 706/828-2394.
University Hospital Board Chairman Receives State Award
ATLANTA, GA. (Feb. 17, 2010) Augustan R. Lee Smith Jr. received the Georgia Hospital Association’s Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor, at the group’s annual meeting today.
The award is given to a hospital board member who is a recognized leader in the community and in his or her own business or profession; has contributed time and talent to bettering the hospital and other health care services available to the community; has brought about specific and positive changes that have advanced health care services in the community, and has increased public attention to the health care needs of the community and has created public concern for meeting those needs.
“Lee Smith is admired and respected by all who have the privilege of knowing him,” said J. Larry Read, President/CEO of University Health Care System. “He is truly one of Augusta’s most distinguished citizens, one of University Hospital’s greatest ambassadors and a real crusader for patients. He is extremely deserving of the 2010 Distinguished Service Award.”
Mr. Smith has been a member of University Hospital Boards since 1985, and currently chairs the University Hospital Board of Trustees. He also serves on the University Health Care System Board; University Extended Care, which oversee the System’s two nursing homes; University Health Care Foundation; University Health Link, a physician-hospital corporation; and Walton Way Indemnity, which oversees the System’s offshore insurance captive.
Mr. Smith was an integral part of University’s Blue Ribbon Task Force that in 2003 began planning a 10-year strategic master facility plan that would be the blueprint for health care delivery in the region.
In 2006, Mr. Smith turned the first shovel of dirt on the project, and in 2009 cut the ribbon to open the final piece of University’s $93.6 million renovation and expansion project, the largest in the hospital’s history and one of the largest in Augusta.
As Hospital Board Chair, Mr. Smith adopted a quick interest in reportable quality of care indicators. “He set the bar for University to be in the top 10 percent of hospitals in the country in quality reporting,” Mr. Read said.
His local work with patient care quality prompted the Georgia Hospital Association to invite him to speak at its annual meeting on ways to inspire his hospital trustee peers across the state to get “on board” with these initiatives. He is also known and respected throughout VHA Georgia for his efforts and results in this area.
Mr. Smith is an Augusta native and University of South Carolina graduate. He is President/CEO of the nonprofit Community Foundation of the Central Savannah River Area, which has awarded more than 3,000 grant totaling upwards of $20 million since 1998.
“Having had the privilege to serve on the Foundation board for many years now, I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with Lee as he has guided the organization to where it is today and continues to have a major positive impact on the lives of individuals and organizations throughout the region,” said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
His works with the foundation inspired the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce to bestow upon him in 2008 the inaugural Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence at its historic 100th annual meeting.
Sue Parr, President/CEO of the Chamber, said, “Mr. Smith is one of our community’s most respected and admired citizens for his dedication and work across a broad spectrum of initiatives. He is a businessperson with exceptional vision, success and giving.”
Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Smith was an officer and partner in Southern Roadbuilders, Inc., a firm that built interstate highway systems and airport runways throughout the Southeast. The company was sold to APAC, a division of Ashland Oil Company, in 1988, and in 1993 he retired after 29 years.
In 1994 he started an expedited freight company in Memphis, Tenn., that utilized ground and air transportation in all 48 states and Canada as well as air and ocean transportation worldwide. He sold the business in 1997.
He also unselfishly volunteers his time and talents to numerous other organizations. He is on at least a dozen corporate boards and is an active member of several other civic and charity organizations, ranging in scope from the United Way to banking.