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This year, Apploi received a record-breaking number of nominations for our Top Healthcare Worker Awards. It was incredibly difficult to narrow down the list of outstanding workers—but we are thrilled to share the five winners. Get to know them in their own words, and in the words of their friends and colleagues.

Please join Apploi in congratulating the Top Healthcare Workers of 2022 and extending our deepest thanks to every member of the healthcare community.


Above & Beyond

This award honors a worker who goes beyond expectations to create a truly special workplace, staffing strategy, or care experience. No matter what they’re working on, they look for ways to improve operations and add a personal touch. If you collaborate with this person, you’re in good hands—it’s in their nature to approach new challenges with enthusiasm and determination.

Jennifer Parker

“Jennifer is an outstanding employee who has gone above and beyond her job description by taking our resident, who is wheelchair bound, to his wife’s funeral service.

Our resident was distraught over his wife’s passing but did not want to go to her funeral, stating he did not want to be a burden or embarrass his family as he needs assistance to use the bathroom. Jennifer took the time to talk to our resident and encourage him to go. She took all the barriers he presented and came up with solutions and actually transported and consoled him during the service. Our resident was so grateful and so are we to have such a compassionate and loving employee.”

Steven Brick

Over the past few years, a global pandemic has proven that the collaboration and commitment of our essential workers are of paramount importance, and uniquely so in the area of elder care. I take tremendous pride in getting to work with the teams at our Family of Caring facility, and am grateful for their support and the faith they put in me, and so I would like to dedicate this award to them for their extraordinary efforts.

“Steven started working in the facility at the beginning of March 2022. Due to construction the facility had a census of 42 out of 69. Once construction was completed, the census quickly grew to 59. Within a month and a half the facility census grew to full capacity.

Steven personally gets involved in recruiting to ensure that the building is fully staffed with in-house employees who are dedicated and caring. The facility remains a 5 star facility per CMS. With exemplary leadership, Steven has been able to boost morale by showing the line staff that he cares about them, maintaining an open door policy, knowing all employees on a first name basis, and implementing and $8 hourly wage increases for the CNAs. Steven is truly a leader among his peers and continues to create a positive atmosphere.”

Emerging Leader

When you need inspiration, encouragement, and a sense of perspective, this is the worker you go to. They might be a supervisor, or they might be a team member with an amazing knack for stepping up to lead. They have natural influence, and they use it for good, boosting their coworkers’ morale and speaking up when something needs to change.


This worker sends positive ripple effects throughout their community, inside and outside of the facility. They excel at forming connections and know exactly how to make other members of the community feel seen and cared for. Whether they’re leading a team or staying out of the spotlight, they make a difference in the lives of everyone they work with and care for.

Demita Hyatt

I am honored to be chosen for this award. I am proud to be a part of the work we do and the service we provide here at Grant Healthcare & Rehab. I am grateful to be seen as a valuable member of our team and enjoy getting to know and serve the residents and families at a place I am glad to be able to work. Thank you for the recognition, it motivates me to continue to work hard.

“Demita offers a tremendous amount of compassion, guidance, support, and empathy to everyone she comes into contact with, whether it be at work or in the community. She respects the values, culture, choices and decisions of every resident and will always do her best to make sure that everyone is accepting and respectful to the resident’s choices, especially when it comes to their care. She takes the time to listen to everyone’s concerns and let them know she is empathetic to their needs and wants. Demita is the first person most people talk to when entering the facility, and she is always so loving and approachable. She shows so much love and compassion that residents and visitors call and stop in to see her after they or their loves ones leave.

As someone who has great devotion to logic and an eye for detail, she has the capacity to remain calm and think logically, even during severely distressing times. I am not only honored to work with her and get to know her but also to nominate her as a Top Healthcare Worker of 2022.”

Dr. Essence Johnson

Diversity is more than just gender and race, but includes where we practice, how we practice and who we provide care to. The Innovation category is fitting as it is the diversity in thought and ability to see things from a different perspective that will help advance healthcare in a changing landscape.

“When optometry practices nationwide were mandated to shut down due to the pandemic, Dr. Essence Johnson and her colleagues focused their attention on finding a solutions to the scarcity of doctors of color in their field. Currently fewer than 2% of practicing optometrists identify as Black and African American, a number that hasn’t changed since Dr. Johnson graduated over a decade ago.

Dr. Johnson’s work with Black EyeCare Perspective is redefining the color of the eyecare industry, 1% at a time, by creating a pipeline for Black students into optometry. In just two years they have been able to affect change in their industry, as evident in the 1% increase in Black students entering optometry school last year. They have created the first nationally recognized pre-optometry club advised by optometrists, with over 130 members. Dr. Johnson and her team have helped over 60 students gain acceptances into optometry programs and have engaged hundreds more students at HBCUs through virtual events, on-campus speaking engagements, and by bringing a mobile clinic on campuses—not only promoting optometry as a career choice, but also ensuring college students have access to eyecare and eyewear. These services have helped over 200 students see clearly this school year.”


To this worker, there’s no such thing as a boring job. No matter what task they’re working on, they find a way to inject it with new life. A workplace trailblazer, they’re happy to try new ways of tackling familiar duties. You can find them experimenting with different processes, suggesting new tools, and keeping things fresh for their whole team.

Team Player

This worker’s power comes from their strong commitment to their team. They are motivated by a shared sense of purpose and they will go out of their way to remove obstacles that might make it harder for their colleagues to do their jobs. Between their work ethic and their interpersonal skills, it’s no wonder they’re such a treasured coworker and friend.

Michael Paehlig

I am honored to recieve this award. I would like to thank the person who nominated me and how they seen how much time and effort it takes to do the job I do. I am proud to work in the healthcare field and to do my best to impact the people around me.

“Mike has been a crucial team player for the past 19 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mike was a critical asset, maintaining both the maintenance and housekeeping departments. He worked hard to make sure that shifts were covered, supplies were ordered, and everything needed was kept in stock.

Mike had been critical in the implementation of new policies and procedures throughout the Covid pandemic. He works odd hours and is on call at night and on weekends. Just like many facilities, his department was understaffed, and he was more than willing to cover gaps in the schedule or employees’ time off.

Mike embodies the definition of a team player and deserves to be recognized for his work ethic and interpersonal skills.”