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Gaylord Specialty Healthcare Chief Nursing Officer Named a ‘Connecticut Health Care Hero’

WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT, November 16, 2021 – Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a rehabilitation-focused nonprofit healthcare system based in Wallingford, is pleased to announce that Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Kalafus, MSN, BSN, RN, was today honored as a 2021 Connecticut Health Care Hero by the Hartford Business Journal and New Haven Biz publications.

The awards program identifies “outstanding healthcare leaders across the state who represent the epitome of a hero.” A Stratford resident, Kalafus was nominated by her Gaylord peers to receive the honor in the nursing category.

Nurse Manager Nicole Morrill MSN, BSN, RN, explained that Kalafus recently instituted Gaylord’s first ‘shared governance,’ a practice model that empowers nurses to have accountability for decisions that impact policies, procedures and processes at the point of care.

“Lisa staunchly believes that employees who are heard and appreciated are happy employees. Over the last few years, she has created a number of recognition programs that have truly resonated with our care staff,” she said.

Kalafus was also commended for her accessibility and leadership through COVID and for creating innovative solutions – such as an LPN float pool and Gaylord’s TeleSitter program – to help staff provide the highest quality care at the bedside.

“Lisa is an amazing example of excellence in nursing,” said Sonja LaBarbera, president and CEO of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare.

 “As a leader, she is truly dedicated to patient-centered care and exudes her commitment to Gaylord’s mission every moment of every day. She leads with the heart, is forward-thinking and creative, and is always looking for ways to improve the delivery of care.”

“It’s such a privilege to work alongside our team of exceptional nurses and care staff who are passionate about restoring the health and function of people recovering from catastrophic injuries and illnesses,” remarked Kalafus.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by my colleagues for something that’s not just my job, but my life’s calling,” remarked Kalafus.

About Gaylord Specialty Healthcare:
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare is a rehabilitation-focused, nonprofit health system headquartered in Wallingford, Connecticut, that provides inpatient and outpatient care for people at every point in their journey from illness or injury to maximum recovery.

Gaylord Specialty Healthcare is anchored by Gaylord Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital, and includes Gaylord Outpatient Services and Gaylord Physical Therapy for patients who require diagnosis and treatment on an outpatient basis. Together, these entities deliver a complete continuum of rehab care driven by technology, research, clinical experience, and human compassion. For more information visit