The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) pays tribute to the best and brightest in long term and post-acute care. Individuals and groups honored with awards will be recognized during Delivering Solutions 23, the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo.​

Brodey HansonBrodey Hanson, The Bridges at Ankeny, Polk County, IA
❖  AHCA Leader of the Year Award

Brodey Hanson is the executive director at The Bridges at Ankeny in Polk County, IA. Since joining The Bridges at Ankeny in 2018, he has created a culture of excellence, resulting in The Bridges receiving numerous awards and accolades. Hanson’s commitment to person-centered care, staff support, and regulatory compliance inspires his staff and the greater community.

Hanson has especially demonstrated his leadership in turbulent times. During COVID-19 when leadership was challenged to do more with less and cultivate partnerships with other nursing facilities to survive, Hanson forged a path for his community and health care across Iowa. His previous careers as a firefighter and EMT became vital. He drove as far as five hours away to pick up personal protective equipment; he secured masks, N95s, and gowns to aid 18 nursing homes throughout the entire pandemic.

Also, during the pandemic, Polk County was hit with a derecho which caused another nursing home to fully evacuate its residents. Hanson responded by housing 30 evacuated residents for over a month. To aide in workforce challenges, he has helped refugees from Iran and Ukraine find housing, education, and on-the-job training as they relocated to Iowa.

Hanson has garnered many personal and professional awards, including being named as one of Business Record’s 2022 Forty Under 40 and the 2022-2023 Governor’s Award for Quality of Care, Iowa’s highest honor.

As a trusted advisor, he serves on three different Iowa boards and is sought out from two different colleges that specialize in nursing home administrator licensure. Hanson demonstrates a high standard of ethical behavior and shows compassion, empathy, and dedication to residents, staff, and the local community.

Season HullSeason Hull, Franklin County Transitional Care, Preston, ID
❖  AHCA Noble Caregiver

Season Hull has been a Certified Nurses’ Assistant (CNA) at Franklin County Transitional Care in Preston, ID, for the last five years. In addition to her responsibilities as a CNA, she serves as a restorative aide and staff scheduler. To ensure compliance, Hull regularly volunteers to maintain restorative equipment and devices, keeping them in safe, working order. She participates in completing quarterly assessments and assists in developing and maintaining individual care plans.

Hull is highly organized and understands how to promote residents’ comfort, well-being, and genuine care. Residents and their family members often comment on how responsive Hull is to their needs and how the simple changes she makes in their care help to improve their quality of life.

As a mentor to the other CNAs at Franklin County Transitional Care, she uses a variety of educational techniques to help other staff members develop skills based on individual resident’s needs and educates staff about the “little things” that make a big difference to each resident.

While working full-time, she attends school to become a registered nurse and takes care of her family and their family farm. Hull has a positive attitude and outlook on life and lifts those around her, residents and staff, each day. 

She is patient and kind and treats everyone around her with respect, leaving those she interacts with feeling uplifted and more positive. She truly embodies what it means to be a noble caregiver.

Koko OkanoKoko Okano, Florida Health Care Association, Tallahassee, FL
❖  Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality

The Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award honors one individual who has changed the course of quality in the long term and post-acute care profession. The 2023 Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award honoree is Koko Okano, quality improvement and research analyst at the Florida Health Care Association.

With more than 20 years of experience in long term care research and quality improvement programs, Okano is held in high regard. She has demonstrated her support of the National Quality Award program, served as a Baldrige examiner, and was a catalyst for Florida’s quality improvement achievement journey. She has also served on the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Board and AHCA’s Quality Improvement Committee. She has assisted several states in their proposals and implementation of National Quality Awards and recognition as part of state value-based payment incentives.

Marty Duncan, Lakeview Assisted Living, Battle Creek, MI
❖  NCAL Noble Caregiver

As the beloved office manager since 2013, Martha “Marty” Duncan is the heartbeat of Lakeview Assisted Living. On any given day, Duncan is typically dancing around the lobby, encouraging anyone who is in the vicinity to join her. When a resident or family member comes to her window, her world stops, and she focuses on their needs. She listens and communicates the needs and wants of each resident and family to the appropriate department and follows up regularly to ensure the resident is the number one focus. Some individuals stay in their “lane” when it comes to their jobs, but Duncan sees her role as taking care of the residents’ needs no matter what it takes.

Duncan is always there to help other departments, whether it’s setting up a table so a resident can dine with family at the last minute or sorting through a resident’s closet to ensure that person feels dignified and put together for the day. She takes the initiative, even if those extra tasks mean working after hours to catch up on the duties she didn’t get to during the day.

Duncan is the go-to person for anything that is needed. People go to her for a daily dose of inspiration, a smile, a laugh, a listening ear—no matter the need, she is there to encourage, validate, or offer encouragement. She makes a tremendous impact on the lives of residents, families, staff, and co-workers and creates a legacy of love at Lakeview Assisted Living.

Cecilia OwsleyCecilia Owsley, Guardian Angel Homes, Post Falls, ID
❖  NCAL Leader of the Year

As chief operations officer and chief nursing officer, Cecilia Owsley utilizes her unique talents to help nursing and administration teams across three states and four facilities lead each of their communities to higher levels of person-centered care. Owsley makes it a priority to mentor leaders in her organization and help develop new programs such as LeadWell, a branch on the LiveWell program tree, to encourage and develop a spectacular team. She guides her team with authenticity, integrity, humility, empathy, and transparency.

Additionally, Owsley advocates at the state and federal level for better care for seniors. As a board member for the Idaho Health Care Association and a state representative for the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), she speaks on behalf of those whose voices may otherwise go unheard, ensuring that seniors, especially those struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, are not forgotten.

She has a genuine passion for embracing holistic health and taking a true resident-centered approach. Owsley has previously worked with AHCA/NCAL on quality improvement initiatives, the Alzheimer’s Association as a guest speaker, and Goodwill Industries as a youth mentor. She also collaborated with A Mind for all Seasons to introduce The Enhance Protocol, a holistic program designed to slow or stop the advancement of Alzheimer’s symptoms, to the seniors at Guardian Angel Homes.

Owsley prioritizes quality assurance and performance improvement by taking a staff-led approach rather than a leadership-led approach. As a result, Guardian Angel Homes has seen better resident outcomes and satisfaction, as well as enhanced teamwork and staff empowerment.

Sarah SilvaSarah Silva, Arete Living, Wilsonville, OR
❖  Jan Thayer Pioneer Award

Sarah Silva serves as president of Arete Living and has a strong dedication to senior living, starting as a caregiver with Avamere (previously part of Arete Living). She possesses over 20 years of experience across all aspects of senior living, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, hospice, home health, and home care.

Most recently, after serving as president of the Senior Living Division of Avamere for four years, Silva executed the spin-off of the division into the standalone company of Arete Living, which included transitioning 28 managed communities to the new Arete Living brand. 

Under her leadership, Silva continues to drive change at Arete Living through the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). In 2020, she launched the DEIB initiative that cultivated a company culture where everyone feels valued and part of a collaborative team. She prioritizes career advancement and ensures there are career paths for employees to grow within Arete Living and reach their career goals.

Silva is known across the long term care sector as a leader driven to advance senior living and quality. Her involvement with AHCA/NCAL is extensive and includes serving on the NCAL Board of Directors as the secretary/treasurer, chairing the NCAL quality committee, serving as an Oregon State Leader, and as part of the NCAL Assisted Living Task Force committee. She also previously served as a Baldrige Quality Award examiner for AHCA/NCAL.

Silva participates in other advocacy groups, including the Oregon Health Care Association as chair of the Assisted Living Council and a member of the Quality and Compliance Committee. Silva is the epitome of dedication to quality, innovation, education, and advocacy. Her commitment to senior living and person-centered care is unwavering.