Category Archives: Prince William

On a mission to make a difference

When Michelle Strider saw nurses in action, she knew the course of her life had changed forever

It all started when her brother was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer most common among small children. At the time, she was 14. He was 6.

She had thought about a career in medicine before all of that, in the way kids do when they consider ideal future careers. She thought she’d go to medical school and become a doctor. But the two and a half years she spent in and out of the hospital with her brother changed everything.

“The thing that really touched me was just the difference that a caring nurse could make. We would comment on the people who would do little things like use a flashlight when they entered his room at night to take vital signs, rather than flipping on the overhead light,” Strider recalled. “While I still left the hospital with a lot of respect for physicians, it was really the impact I saw the nurses make that stayed with me.”

So Strider became one. She spent time in the cardiac unit and then in the ICU, working at the bedside and emulating the nurses she observed so many years ago. Then, she moved into leadership roles, focusing on projects related to quality. That work resonated, presenting her with an opportunity to change processes to protect patients and team members. Now, she’s the senior director of clinical excellence at Novant Health UVA Health System, working across the system’s three hospitals.

“My everyday work is reviewing processes to make sure that the care we provide is as safe as possible for our team members and our patients. We do proactive risk analyses to make sure our processes are safe. We work with leaders and team members on preventing infection. We work on reducing preventable readmissions. It’s a lot of collaboration,” Strider said.

It’s the kind of work that’s critical in a normal healthcare environment. In a pandemic, the stakes only get higher, and that presented Strider with a new opportunity. As the COVID-19 crisis began to take shape, Novant Health UVA Health System CEO Al Pilong Jr. tapped Strider to co-lead its COVID-19 command center.

“That role is reviewing all clinical care practices that need to be created around COVID-19. So, lots of meetings around what types of masks need to be worn in what types of situations, daily meetings about personal protective equipment to make sure our team members have what they need, daily meetings around processes of cleaning rooms and transferring patients,” Strider said.

“It’s really an honor to be able to advocate for those who are on the front lines,” she said.

“You see these heartbreaking stories in other states where nurses are practicing in trash bags, and the fact that our team members have never had to experience that — and will not have to experience that — is something I’m so proud of for our system.”

The result is remarkable healthcare that is producing some incredible stories — like the one about the very first COVID patient admitted to Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center who was recently released, 52 days after he arrived.

“We were able to walk him out and just the joy on the team members’ faces was pretty significant,” Strider said. “It’s not routine. It will never be routine. But it seems like it’s hitting a stride now, where team members are stepping up each and every day. Seeing their resiliency has been pretty impactful.”

It’s also given her the opportunity to reflect on her career in nursing and how she’s lived up to the example set by those nurses in her brother’s hospital room all those years ago.

“There are times I miss providing that bedside care. And then I think about our team members and our patients, and it’s just a reminder that every decision we make impacts their safety and helps make them a little bit safer. I think that’s what really grounds me,” Strider said. “They deserve to get the very best right now. And team members need to have someone in their corner. Sometimes it feels like you’ve spent 900 days talking about masking, and then you realize, we’ve got to go over this and go over it again and keep going over it because we have people who depend on us to be safe.”

Some of those people live in Strider’s home. Her husband is a nurse on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, and their daughter is just 11 years old. “We’ve been very fortunate that everybody’s safe and healthy, and we use the same precautions at home that we teach our other healthcare workers to use,” Strider said.

Her husband leaves his work clothes in the garage when he comes home after work and heads straight into the shower. The family has maintained a social distance from both Strider’s parents and her husband’s. And for a few recent birthdays in the household, they limited themselves to celebrations via videoconference.

They are following the process, taking the necessary steps and being safe. Still, it’s a challenging time, and Strider finds herself focusing on resiliency.

“We talk a lot in the Novant Health UVA Health System about the eight habits of resilient leaders, and some of those are very effective ways to reset your mentality: Stay off social media, go to bed early, get outside,” Strider said. “I think that really helps, and that’s some of what I would encourage people to do is take a step back from it and take precautions and work on your own resiliency.”

You can play a role in the resiliency of the Novant Health UVA Health System by ensuring they don’t have to worry about basic necessities in this time of crisis.

A contribution to the Hope for Team Aubergine Fund (formerly the Novant Health COVID -19 Disaster Relief Fund) goes a long way toward providing for those who are on the front lines of the pandemic.

Do your part and make a gift today.

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Taking action on the front lines of COVID-19

Melissa Morin’s energy is her superpower in the fight against a global pandemic

Melissa Morin doesn’t like to sit still. Over the course of her career in healthcare, that energy has been her signature, her specialty and her superpower.

She started out after high school as a volunteer with a local rescue squad in Manassas, Virginia. She spent some time as a paramedic. Then, she joined the emergency room at Novant Health Prince William Medical Center as a nursing technician. From the beginning, she was hooked.

“I got the bug. This was a fit. This was what my calling was going to be,” said Morin, now a nurse manager in the Emergency Services Department at Prince William Medical Center. “I have a lot of energy. I don’t really sit still well, and I like to fix things. When people are in crisis, they come to the hospital seeking help, and I like being part of the team that says, ‘This is what we’ve got to do to fix you.’”

Solving those problems has become more difficult in recent weeks, as the COVID-19 crisis has taken hold in Manassas and surrounding communities.

“It’s been a challenge only because these are uncharted waters. We’ve not had to deal with anything on this scale,” she said.

But Morin and her team have risen to the challenge from day one.

“In the early days, we walked the unit, figuring out what we would need if we had a huge surge of patients,” Morin said. “We started pre-planning at the very beginning.”

Those walks through the unit continue even now, along with regular meetings to share updates, to ask about needs and to solicit new ideas from the team to streamline processes or operations.

“We want to hear what our team members have to say,” Morin said. “We try very hard to get them involved, and everyone from charge nurses to technicians are sending us emails and leaving notes with ideas about what we could try. Some things work really well, and if they don’t, we try something else.”

They’re all vested in the work because they understand the role the emergency department plays in the health of the rest of the hospital.

“We are the line of defense to hold infections from getting upstairs to the rest of the facility, or from going home to the rest of your family,” Morin said. “We have places to have you shower before you leave. We’re telling people to bring an extra pair of shoes — anything they need to feel comfortable to go home.”

The community has done its part, too, Morin said.

“Every day we have food. There are people who are coming to the door of the hospital giving us boxes of unopened gloves,” she said. “Our community really has rallied around us on this.”

There have been other wins for the team, like the patient who was on a ventilator for 33 days and recovered.

“He was high-fiving people on his way out the door, thanking people for saving his life,” Morin said. “He was one of our great success stories.”

Those moments help with morale and positivity, which is one of Morin’s strengths. But she acknowledges that’s been hard in the midst of COVID-19.

“I am pretty well known to be the positive, optimistic kind of person. You throw in that extra spice of an international pandemic, and it definitely gives you a challenge. But you’ve got to stay positive,” Morin said. “There are some days that are more of a challenge than others, but I have a phenomenal team of assistant nurse managers, and we take it as a group approach.”

That’s especially important on the difficult days. The emergency room has implemented a no-visitation policy, which holds true no matter why you have to visit the hospital. People are still having heart attacks or other life-ending or life-altering diseases, and Morin said it’s been hard to tell families that they will be limited in how they say goodbye.

“There are people whose families are afraid to come into the facility because of COVID or aren’t able to get to us because public transportation’s not running,” Morin said. “We do have patients who pass away. Nobody should have to die by themselves, but it does happen, and it’s happened more frequently than I would like.”

Slowly, the hospital is getting back to normal, as the world around Prince William Medical Center reopens, Morin said. Throughout that process, one thing will remain the same.

“Taking care of patients will not change regardless of what the influences are around it, and we do a really good job of it here,” Morin said. “The nursing staff is fantastic. Our senior executive team is supportive, and our community deserves to have the best care.”

Just as our healthcare workers are giving us the most remarkable care, we need to ensure they have the resources they need now.

You can help, with a gift to the Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund (formerly the Novant Health COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund).

Join us and help those on the front lines of an unprecedented battle.

Donate now

How you can improve access to life-saving healthcare in the fight against the coronavirus

For our healthcare community and our world, it appears we have a long road ahead of us.

COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, has forced us into a fierce battle against its global spread, and healthcare professionals across the Novant Health system are on the front lines.

That’s why we need your support, now more than ever.

Novant Health foundations provide critical funds and resources across our network, which includes more than 1,600 physicians and over 28,000 team members who provide care at more than 640 locations. Last year, our team provided care to more than 4.4 million patients.

Our primary goal is to provide the lifesaving care our community needs, and we want to let you know we’re ready. We are working closely with state and local health officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to stay on top of this fast-moving situation. And we’re taking all precautionary measures to protect every member of our team.

The good news is, help has already begun to pour in. The David A. Tepper Charitable Foundation donated $1 million to Novant Health and Atrium Health. Novant Health foundations will receive $350,000 to support our team’s response to the pandemic across the state of North Carolina. Words alone cannot express our gratitude for such generosity.

And yet, in the coming days and weeks, we know we will need more. The impact of this disease is unprecedented, and we will need financial assistance to provide testing and medication to support patient care, as well as medical supplies and staff support to take care of our team members on the front lines. Their ability to care for our patients is critical, and we are committed to doing as much as possible to meet our team members’ needs.

Please stay safe and healthy. We will get through this crisis – together.

If there were ever a time to donate to our Novant Health foundations, it is now.

We are committed to helping our community every way we can, now and always, and we ask that you consider making a contribution today. Every dollar you donate helps us continue the important work of saving lives.

Donate now

For up-to-date resources and support on novel coronavirus, visit

Our Mission

Novant Health foundations engage and connect donors to Novant Health programs and initiatives that save lives and improve the health of the communities we serve.

Healing garden: Enjoy outdoor therapy year-round

The new healing garden at Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center will provide four seasons of interest, as well as a place of solace and refuge for patients and their loved ones. Team members in need of a break in a natural setting will also enjoy the outdoor environment. Gardens seem particularly able to provide healing and refreshment along with an improved outlook. Perhaps we intrinsically find nature and beauty engrossing and soothing.

In the spring, native trees, including fringe tree, redbuds, cornelian cherry dogwood and dogwood “Constellation,” will provide beautiful blooms of yellow, purple and white. Summer will provide drifts of color from native geraniums, sedges, sedums and foam flowers. Late summer plantings into fall will provide fragrant blooms and exquisite fall colors with summersweet, sweet shrub, star magnolia and beautyberry. Even in the winter, visitors will enjoy the persistent purple berries of beautyberry, hellebore blooms, and the orange and yellow flowers of the witch hazel tree. Be sure to visit the garden in all four seasons to reduce stress, receive the comfort nature provides and reduce mental fatigue.

Interested in making a contribution to support the new healing garden? Please visit below to make a donation online. Join us for the ribbon-cutting on June 12 from 4-6pm.

2018 Mardi Gras Gala raised $65,000

With 170 attendees this year, $65,000 was raised, benefiting Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center’s women’s and children’s service line. The dollars will go toward free breast cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured community members served by our mammography coach and the addition of two child-friendly emergency exam rooms.

In partnership with Prince William County Public Schools, students from Triangle and Tyler elementary schools created original art for the tables and three strings students from Battlefield High School entertained guests.

Save the date for the 28th annual Friends of the Foundation Golf Tournament

Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center Foundation’s 28th annual Friends of the Foundation Golf Tournament will benefit the orthopedic and sports medicine service line.

The Novant Health UVA Health System Friends of the Foundation Planning Committee are local volunteers who annually plan and hold the tournament to raise funds for Novant Health UVA Health System medical centers.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Shenandoah Valley Golf Club in Front Royal, VA

Event Details
Registration begins at 9:30AM
The shotgun start will be at 11:00AM
The day will finish with dinner and an awards ceremony at 4:00PM


Register to play or sign up to be a tournament sponsor here.

For questions about the event, contact Kelly Persons at (703) 369-8791 or [email protected]




In 2017 the orthopedic and sports medicine service line provided the following for our community:

  • Team physicians for nine local high schools, including Prince William County, Manassas Park, Manassas City and Culpeper Public Schools.  Our primary care sports medicine physicians provided 97 sports physicals in the schools.
  • Our orthopedic physician team performed 516 surgeries at Prince William Medical Center and 170 surgeries at Haymarket Medical Center.
  • Our primary care sports medicine physicians had 819 concussion visits and 371 of those were new concussions.
  • Athletic training substitute coverage for schools in five counties and one private school.
  • Medical services for community partners: Northern Virginia Soccer Club, Virginia Soccer Association, Culpeper Soccer Club, Manassas Youth Football League, Gainesville Haymarket Youth Football League, NOVA BMX, Girls on the Run, and Fun Run Racing.
  • Education for the community with orthopedic lectures, concussion and injury prevention education, splint labs for Prince William County Fire & Rescue, and collaborated with George Mason University on a free sports medicine symposium.

Novant Health UVA Health System foundation hosts Pro-Am Golf Tournament

Gainesville,VA– Seventy-two golfers including 16 professionals and 56 amateurs played in the Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center Foundation’s pro-am golf tournament on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Stonewall Golf Club at Lake Manassas in Gainesville, Virginia.

Proceeds from the pro-am benefit the Novant Health UVA Health System Cancer Center to ensure that the community is able to access world-class clinicians, care and technology. The Cancer Center has been serving Prince William and Fauquier counties since 2007 and has grown from serving 15 patients per day to 40 patients per day.

Congratulations to the foundation’s board chair, Mike Pybus with Team BB&T for winning first place!


You can still help support the Cancer Center. Click here to make your donation today.


Event Sponsors:

Title Sponsor

Brasfield & Gorrie, General Contractors

Superior Paving Corporation

Leaderboard Sponsors


Gresham, Smith and Partners

SteelFab, Inc.

Sentinel Sponsors

Brown & Brown Insurance Agency of Virginia, Inc.

The Christman Company

Dominion Mechanical

Heritage Charity Classic, Inc.

Manassas Anesthesiology Associates

McLean Mortgage Corporation


Scott-Long Construction, Inc.


William A. Hazel, Inc.

Meals & Contest Sponsors

AExellent Telecommunications

Finley Asphalt & Sealing, Inc.

Smokin Shawn’s BBQ

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C.,

Gift Sponsors

Mahoney’s, Old Bust Head Brewing Company

Premier Turf and Landscaping

RKM Construction Systems, Inc.

WebbMason Marketing



Nova HomeWorks

Timothy Greenhouse

Turner Tenant Services

Event Volunteers

Al Penksa, chair

Gary Huebner

Deneen Clary

Judy Handshy

Dr. Ivan Harangozo

Ed Long

Joe and Margaret Gorzka

Joe Martin

Herb McClary

Bill Sauder

Haymarket Medical Center exhibits student art from Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine Prince William County Schools’ Summer Art Enrichment Program

Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center hosted an art exhibit and reception on October 1 for 30 students and their family members recognizing selection of their artwork and their participation in the Prince William County Public Schools’ Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine Summer Art Enrichment Program. The artwork will be on display in the Haymarket Medical Center Community Art Gallery through Jan. 15, 2018. Joining students from grades two through 8 were Prince William County School and Haymarket Medical Center administrators who recognized the student’s artistic achievements.

Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center Foundation has partnered with Prince William County Schools’ Fine Arts Department to display the exhibition of student artwork at Haymarket Medical Center in the first of three community art displays to be shared in the hospital’s Community Art Gallery. The program is made possible through a Prince William Medical Center Foundation grant.

Click here to give to the Prince William Medical Center Foundation today.