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Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes Recognized as Sagamore of the Wabash

Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes, President & CEO for Edgewater Health was presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award on Friday, August 20, 2021, at a Board of Director’s Retreat held at the Bottleworks Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Sagamore of the Wabash Award, presented to her by Indiana State Senator Lonnie Randolph, is recognized as the “highest honor, which the governor of Indiana bestows. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.”

Dr Hughes has so distinguished herself as an individual who strives to make a measurable difference in community health and well-being for as many Hoosiers as possible.  She has served in the role of CEO of Edgewater Health for over twenty-five years.  During her entire tenure, she has remained the only African American female serving in this capacity in the state of Indiana and more recently as a federally qualified health center look alike and community mental health center combined.  She has bravely met the challenge of her dual role as she skillfully maneuvers these complex systems to ensure that quality health care services are available and accessible to marginalized populations in Northwest Indiana.  During her tenure, she has expanded Edgewater services to include primary care, as well as a comprehensive array of services for mental health, addictions and child welfare.  

Under her leadership, the organization has contributed millions of dollars to the economic development of the city of Gary through the development and expansion of services including several housing programs for homeless individuals.  

“I am honored and humbled by this incredible recognition. I am blessed to have a career where I can help people improve their lives. Being an advocate for patients and others is what I live for each and every day.”  

Dr. Hughes’s personal mission is, “To serve as a leader who inspires and teaches as many people as possible for as long as possible to live their best lives.”

She is well respected in the health care industry both locally and nationally.  She has worked diligently with local, state and federal officials to influence public policy that will better serve underserved and uninsured individuals.  She is a strong voice on issues of fairness and equity for all people.

Dr. Hughes is the recipient of numerous awards including the state of Indiana Governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award.  She is a 2013 inductee into the Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame.  

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