Renown Health Honored for Support of Military Employees

Michael Henson, Renown Health human resources compliance specialist, Michelle Sanchez-Bickley, Renown Health vice president of human resources, Dawn Ahner, Renown Health executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Jason Farnsworth, veteran and Renown Health administrator of health care and Gen. Craig McKinley (Ret.), national director of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves at the Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Renown Health has been selected as one of 15 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipients in the U.S. in 2017 for the organization’s support of employees who are National Guard and Reserve members. 

Renown Health was named one of 15 recipients across the nation — and the only health system in the U.S. — for the Department of Defense’s highest employer award, the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, for exceptional support of its military employees. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves and Renown held a ceremony June 29 to recognize the award and to honor representatives of Renown who currently serve in the Guard and Reserves.

Renown is privileged to have more than 100 active military and veterans on staff. Since 2008, the healthcare network has seen 35 full-time, active duty deployments by its employees. 

Registered Nurse Jennifer James, MSN, CNL, CMNL is a captain with the Nevada National Guard. For James, nursing is nursing no matter the setting. Learning to be a leader — her largest takeaway from the military — is a skill she uses daily at Renown. 

“As a leader you are always growing and learning,” James explains. “And with my military experience I’ve learned how to be a charge nurse, supervisor and now a manager. Being able to delegate, prioritize and deliver crucial conversations — all things I learned in the military — has helped make this job easier.”


And when Becca Gilbert, BSN, RN, isn’t wearing scrubs in her role as a trauma nurse in the intensive care unit of Renown Regional Medical Center, she’s wearing fatigues as a first lieutenant in the Nevada Air National Guard.

“Service is huge,” says Becca Gilbert, RN, of her role in the Air Guard. “It’s something that is ingrained in me and a big part of who I am as a person. I find a lot of pride in being a part of something that is bigger than what is going on in my world.”

With her Air Guard background, Gilbert is preassigned veteran patients at the Renown ICU. She says she’s able to relate to the veterans and their families and create a quick bond with them.


Renown has entered into a series of contractual agreements with the Nevada Air National Guard in recent years, including training agreements allowing Nevada airmen to operate at their highest levels of competency for service medics. Under the agreements, individuals from various disciplines in the 152nd Medical Squadron, including clinical engineering, cardiopulmonary technology, nursing and medical service corps, have come to Renown facilities to train on procedures they’d normally have to travel great distances to experience.

“This award is a symbol of the support we are proud to give to our employees in the Guard and Reserves,” says Michelle Sanchez-Bickley, Renown vice president of human resources.