The founding bishop of the Colorado Springs Catholic diocese, Richard Hanifen, received the 2005 Champion of Community Health award at the Peak Vista Community Health Center’s inaugural “Breakfast of Champions” event on Nov. 16.

The award will be presented each year to an organization or individual for one of the following: impacting the health of the community through advocacy, or financially contributing to a measurable community health initiative or significant fund-raising efforts for the initiative.

Peak Vista honored Hanifen for his belief that all patients deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of their ability to pay – a Peak Vista vision as well.

“Just because an individual has no health insurance, doesn’t mean that he or she should be treated with any less respect or with less quality of care,” Hanifen said.

Hanifen began his career in Estes Park. After a stay in Europe to study CaÑon Law in Rome, he served the archbishop of Denver and eventually oversaw El Paso and Teller counties.

“Peak Vista is thrilled to bestow the inaugural Champion of Community Health award upon Bishop Hanifen,” said B.J. Scott, Peak Vista president and chief executive officer. “He is a dedicated friend of Peak Vista’s and one who continually advocates for healthcare with dignity on behalf of our patients.”

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Well-known impressionist featured at Penrose dinner

Master impressionist Steve Bridges delighted guests with a surprise visit to the Penrose-St. Francis Foundation’s Legacy of Caring Dinner on Nov. 12.

The 350 special guests of the foundation had no idea the nationally known Bridges was the feature entertainment. Bridges, who has a repertoire of more than 200 personalities, is best known for his uncanny characterization of President Bush. He has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Good Morning America” and “The Early Show.”

Although he doesn’t imitate presidents, Jim Johnson, president of G.E. Johnson Construction Co., also was recognized. Johnson received an award for his role as chairman of the $10 million capital campaign that resulted in the construction of an intensive care unit in the new E-Tower at the Penrose main campus.

It’s time again for Trees of Life celebration

Celebrate life and honor loved ones at the 21st Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care Trees of Life celebration on Nov. 26 at the Pioneers Museum.

Behind every light is the story of a remembered friend or family member.

The public is invited to participate and submit a name for a special reading. Pikes Peak Hospice also will pay tribute to the military and local protection agencies with the illumination of a special red, white and blue tree. The lighting of the trees celebration begins at 5 p.m. and complimentary refreshments will be served.

For more information about purchasing a light to add to the trees, call 633-3400 or visit Donations allow Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care to continue to provide services to people living with advanced life-limiting illness and their caregivers.

Avian Bird Flu pandemic divides physicians

A national survey of 662 physicians shows that 45 percent of those polled believe the threat of a potential Avian Bird Flu pandemic in the United States is justified and 44 percent believe it’s not. The survey was based on President Bush’s plan to combat a potential Avian Bird Flu pandemic.

HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion conducted the survey this month. Among the findings:

  • 39 percent of the physicians believe President Bush is allocating proper funds to fend off a pandemic and 29 percent said more money should be allocated to the Avian Bird Flu issue.
  • 40 percent of the physicians feel that President Bush’s plan allocates too much money for treatment as opposed to prevention; however, 31 percent said the amount is appropriate for both treatment and prevention.
  • 55 percent disapprove of the Bush administration’s management of health care policies.
  • 61 percent believe that the health care system has major problems, and about 26 percent of those surveyed believe health care in the United States is in crisis.

“In the studies we conducted during the 2004 presidential election, physicians expressed overwhelming support for President Bush, however, these results indicate that physicians’ support is eroding, particularly in the area of health care policy,” said Christopher Borick, Ph.D., associate political science professor at Muhlenberg College.

To view detailed results of the poll, go to

HCD Research is a marketing and communications research company headquartered in Flemington, N.J.

Marylou Doehrman covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.