NGHS employees transform ideas into reality with grant funding for healthier communities

Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2024

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – American flags for veterans, clothing and shoes for homeless patients and expanded therapeutic music services are just a few of the ideas that will soon change the way patients experience their hospital stay and discharge at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). Ten Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) employees recently received $52,463 in grant funding through the NGHS Foundation’s Change Grant program to bring their ideas to life. Each project aims to improve patient care, enhance the employee experience, or support a healthier community.

The projects span each of NGMC’s five hospital campuses, as well as several Northeast Georgia Physicians Group practices. Projects include:

  • American flags to honor veterans who die at NGMC.
  • Memory bottles for families of patients whose loved ones die in the emergency department.
  • Blood pressure cuffs for low income, under or uninsured patients diagnosed with hypertension.
  • Expanded therapeutic music services at NGMC Barrow, Lumpkin and Habersham.
  • Sensory toolkits and busy boards for patients with memory concerns.
  • Medical equipment for low-income patients at NGMC Barrow.
  • Clothing and shoes for indigent or homeless patients following their discharge.
  • Technology tablets for psychiatric patients in the emergency department.

“A Code Salute ceremony is a poignant moment when a veteran who has passed at NGMC is covered with an American flag, transported from their hospital room and sent on their way to their next resting place,” said Karen Ende, patient experience employee at NGHS. “Funding for these flags allows us to conduct ceremonies where staff, family, visitors and fellow veterans can pay their respects.”

Employees receiving grants include Rebecca Barrere, Karen Ende, Tara Forbes, Zachary Green, Lori Hamrick, Tina Johnson, Linu Joseph, Manuela Radu, Ashley Trammell, and Hayley Woodard.

Funded by donations to the employee giving club, WATCH, the Change Grant program empowers employees to make a real difference in the patient, visitor and employee experience. For a full listing of all current and previous Change Grants, visit To support NGHS with your own contribution, visit

About NGHS Foundation

Founded in 1986, the Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to health system improvements, complementary programs and partner organizations throughout the region. In an effort to further the mission of improving the health of the community in all that we do, donations to the Foundation help support innovation and enhancements at all five of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s community hospitals, as well as many health initiatives of the system. It is truly through the generosity of friends and neighbors that many critical, life-saving projects, improvements and patient care services are available today. For more information, visit