Two St. Bernards healthcare professionals were among an elite group of individuals recognized Nov. 18 at a special Healthcare Heroes Luncheon sponsored by Arkansas Business Publishers Group at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock.
Electrophysiologist Dr. Devi G. Nair and St. Bernards Vice President of Patient Services Connie Hill, D.N.P., were selected by Arkansas Business as finalists in the categories of Physician of the Year and Nurse of the Year, respectively.
Dr. Nair, who sees patients at St. Bernards Heart & Vascular, the largest cardiology practice in the region, has been on the medical staff since 2011. She has recorded a number of “firsts” in that time – with all of those translating into exceptional care for patients in the region.
She serves as physician chair for the St. Bernards Medical Group Health & Fitness Expo and works closely with the Expo team each year offering free pre-participation evaluations for about 1,200 Craighead County students who take part in school athletic programs. In that capacity, she deals directly with providing and reading electrocardiograms of students who will be in Grades 9-12 school sports programs.
In the four years she has overseen that project, the screenings have identified 16 youngsters who were at cardiovascular risk – including conditions with the potential to be life-threatening. Whenever such a risk is identified, she counsels with the student and his or her family, helping them understand the problem she has found and the treatment options open to them. The majority of students found to have heart rhythm problems to date have gone on to have procedures that “fixed” the underlying conditions.
Not only is she passionate about the heart health of young people who participate in sports, but also she is equally dedicated to helping patients of all ages understand heart rhythm problems and what can be done to help patients achieve the highest quality of life.
Hill is an outstanding nurse practitioner who recently earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Vanderbilt University. She has more than two decades of experience in caring for patients in the clinical setting and until recently was responsible for oversight of all heart services at St. Bernards – including services in the cardiac catheterization laboratories, the electrophysiology lab, noninvasive cardiology, nuclear medicine and cardiac rehabilitation.
She previously served as chief executive officer of the region’s largest cardiology practice – Cardiology Associates (now known as St. Bernards Heart & Vascular). Hill and her husband, Dr. Roger Hill, have been active participants in the St. Bernards Medical Group Health & Fitness Expo, visiting with Expo-goers and patients and participating in panel discussions on heart disease, treatments and prevention.
They also regularly take part in international medical missions in Panama. And she is active in the Alex Blackwood Foundation for Hope, an organization started in Little Rock in 2008 to promote collaboration for suicide awareness and prevention.