Pictured above, from l. to r.: Barbara Carver, Hillary Flatt, Chloe Regon, Debbie Baker, Marisa Hickle, Heather Palk, Lora Simpson, Natalie Miller, Joellen Holmes, Vicky Horn, Rachel Farris. Back row l. to r.: Dennis Baker, Madison Harris, Jesse Roberts

CRMC CEO Buffy Key made the presentation

Cookeville –  Deborah Baker, R.N., received the 2023 Martin Coffey Cardiovascular Service Award, given to an individual who has made a positive impact and best exemplifies the same dedication and loyalty in broadening the scope and delivery of quality cardiovascular care to the patients, at the Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation’s 16th annual A Woman’s Heart event Thursday, Feb. 8. 

Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) CEO Buffy Key made the presentation, citing her passion and calling to the Cardiovascular and Pulmonology Rehabilitation Center at Cookeville Regional.

“If you talk to anyone who knows Debbie, they rave about her kindness, leadership, servant’s heart, and passion for the cardiac and pulmonary rehab program,” said Buffy Key, CEO at CRMC. “It was mentioned in her nomination that it isn’t her job; it is her calling. You can see that clearly as our program has evolved tremendously under her leadership. She has a passion to educate her patients and make sure they are educated as they go through the program. It was repeatedly mentioned how much of her time she gives to her patients to listen and educate them. Patients rave about Debbie and her staff, and that is proof that what she does is changing the lives of patients.” 

Baker has been with CRMC for almost 17 years, has been a nurse for over 45, and now serves as the director of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. Before that, she worked in Ohio in various nursing departments and as the director of the emergency department. 

The letter nominating her for the award said, “She was beyond deserving of this award because of their love, care, and devotion to the patients and that it far exceeds the requirements of her position. This recipient is admired by her staff. They work tirelessly to improve her program and make sure patient and staff needs are met. She is admired for her dedication and how they handle challenges when they arise- a true mentor.”

Baker has served on the A Woman’s Heart committee and chaired for many years. She also serves on the Foundation’s Golf Committee and with the CRMC foundation and advocates for it. 

“She sees her patients benefit from it when they can’t make it to appointments due to gas from traveling long distances,” according to CRMC. 

She also served as the chapter president for the Tennessee Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation from 2019 to 2023 and has served on the board since 2014. 

Baker is involved in advocating on Day on the Hill for bills and healthcare-related changes related to their field, a part of their American program chapter, and has earned her Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Professional certificate to maintain current knowledge of the ever-changing aspects of cardiac rehabilitation.

Martin Coffey was the founding director of the Heart and Vascular Center of Cookeville Regional Medical Center from 1994 to 2007. Coffey was instrumental in developing what is known today as the Heart and Vascular Center at Cookeville Regional. 

Photo courtesy of CRMC.

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