Augusta University Physician Assistant Program graduate D’Neka Colzie has been named this year’s winner of the university’s John F. Beard Award for Compassionate Care.
The $40,000 award was presented to Colzie on May 11 during Augusta University’s College of Allied Health Sciences Hooding and Honors Ceremony.
During her time at the university, she served in the Department of Oncology working with an interdisciplinary team to stabilize patients suffering from cancer and hematological diseases. She also volunteered in several disaster relief efforts and health fairs throughout Georgia and South Carolina, and she has provided care to the indigent Latin American population in the Augusta area.
Her passion for excellence in health care made an impression on Physician Assistant Program Director Judith Stallings, whose nomination letter states how Colzie’s work ethic exemplifies what it means to overcome challenges to achieve your life goals.
“At the inception of the program, Ms. Colzie was faced with challenges that she overcame with grace and inner strength, and maintained a good academic standing through it all,” said Stallings. “She always had a goal in mind, and that goal is to provide compassionate care to others and to make a difference in the world.”
Colzie is a member of several professional organizations and her work in health care has garnered her numerous awards. She is currently working as a senior health care consultant for JW Healthcare Consultants in Duluth, Ga., where she advises health care facilities on topics such as business planning, employee hiring and compliance.
The $40,000 annual John F. Beard Award is endowed by William Porter “Billy” Payne and his wife, Martha, to a graduating Augusta University student who exemplifies caring and compassion in health care. Payne, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, established the Beard award in 1998 in memory of his father-in-law, who died of cancer in 1997. The award honors Augusta University President Emeritus Francis J. Tedesco and Beard’s physician, Dr. Mark F. Williams, a 1988 Medical College of Georgia graduate who treated Beard during his hospitalization at Augusta University Medical Center.