Skip to Content

Published on April 19, 2010

KishHealth System Announces Physician Awards

April 19, 2010 


Three medical staff members have been recognized by KishHealth System as Acclaimed Physicians for 2010. They are Dr. Michael Thornton and Dr. Asim Nisar, Kishwaukee Community Hospital; and Dr. Richard Mason, Valley West Community Hospital.

Dr. Thornton, a family medicine physician with Kishwaukee Medical Associates, Sycamore, received the Outstanding Service to Patients Award. Dr. Nisar, an interventional cardiologist with Cardiac and Vascular Specialists, DeKalb, received the Promotion of Quality Award. Dr. Mason, a general surgeon with Sandwich Family Practice, Sandwich, received the Humanitarian/Community Service Award.

The awards were presented April 15, at the health system’s third annual Physician Recognition Event. Nominations were received from staff, the community and medical staff members.

pictured from left: Dr. Richard Mason, Dr. Michael Thornton, Dr. Asim Nisar

pictured from left: Dr. Richard Mason, Dr. Michael Thornton,
Dr. Asim Nisar

Dr. Thornton Dr. Thornton, who has been on the Kish Hospital medical staff for 25 years, has been an advocate for all children, but especially those with medical problems who lack access to health care.  In 1987, he approached the DeKalb County Health Department and for 23 years the Well Baby Clinic he started has provided preventative health care to thousands of children.   In 1993, he accepted the role of medical director at the health department.  He is bilingual in English and Spanish and has served the area’s growing Hispanic population.

He also is medical director of DeKalb County Hospice, guiding and mentoring the hospice team, and often accepting patients who have no primary physician or no health insurance. He also makes home visits to those patients too ill to come to his office. 

According to his nominations, patient centered care, quality of care, compassion and respect are Dr. Thornton’s priorities, demonstrated by attending patient care conferences, comforting family members when their loved one is critically ill, and acting as “captain of the ship” when a patient is hospitalized.  

He is known for his gentle way with patients, holistic approach to caring for the sick, advocacy for preventive health care, and overall kindness.

Dr. Nisar Dr. Nisar was recruited to the Kish medical staff in 2007, to become medical director of Cardiovascular Services. His primary responsibility was to help establish the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab.  Having practiced in the Elgin area for more than 25 years, he provided the essential experience and expertise to make emergency and diagnostic cardiac procedures available to patients locally. After receiving state approval, the cath Lab became a reality in May, 2009.

He worked closely with pre-hospital providers, Emergency Department personnel, and hospital staff to develop a program that allows for rapid interventional treatment, especially for heart attack patients requiring angioplasty. Angioplasty involves inserting a balloon to open the artery and restore blood flow to the heart.

The national benchmark for “door to balloon time” is 90 minutes.  As a result of Dr. Nisar’s leadership, the cardiovascular team’s average time has dropped from an initial 103 minutes to 80 minutes. As chair of the Section of Cardiology, he also is responsible for promoting other quality targets and outcomes for the hospital’s cardiac programs.

Communication and education are other aspects of Dr. Nisar’s promotion of quality.  He is open and attentive with his patients, striving to know them as a person, not just a disease process, and he is transparent about their diagnosis, options and prognosis. Staff appreciates his communication of clear expectations. After procedures, he and staff debrief so they can share and learn from him and each other.

Dr. Mason Dr. Mason and his wife, Sharon, founded Equine Dreams in Newark 12 years ago, providing therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with special needs in DeKalb, Kendall and LaSalle counties.

Equine Dreams operates entirely on funds generated by private donations, foundation grants, and fundraising efforts and donations. Services are completely free to all participants.

Due in part to Dr. Mason’s efforts, over the last year, Equine Dreams grew even more, providing services to more than 70 individuals each week. Involved at every level of the organization, he works tirelessly with his family on the Equine Dreams property fixing equipment and clearing land. He is often found working in the stables when called out to perform surgery.

“He works tirelessly, whether it be as stall cleaner, carpenter, driver, trainer or public relations expert,” his nominator said.

Four years ago, Dr. Mason started running in the Chicago Marathon to raise money for Equine Dreams and which has inspired other doctors, hospital staff and members of the community to join him. Thanks to him, Equine Dreams is now one of The Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s associate charities, raising more than  $100,000 in four years.  He has been on the Valley West medical staff for 16 years.

Other 2010 nominees

Other physicians nominated for the Service to Patients Award were Drs. Krishna Reddy, Jagdish Patel,  Paul Nguyen,Ghori Khan, Roger Maillefer, Asad Shah, James Hawkins, Erik Englehart, Richard Mason,and Jennifer and Douglas Pacaccio.

Other physicians nominated for the Promotion of Quality Award were Drs. Paul Nguyen, James Fedinec, Joseph Scianna, Jagdish Patel, and Tess Grant.

Other physicians nominated for the Humanitarian/Community Service Award were Drs. Roger Maillefer, and Jennifer andDouglas Pacaccio.

Previous winners


Service to Patients: Dr. David Faulk, Valley West

Promotion of Quality: Dr. S.W. Chang, Kish Hospital

Humanitarian/Community Service Award: Dr. John Kostrey, Kish Hospital



Service to Patients: Dr. Erik Englehart, Valley West

Promotion of Quality: Dr. Jagdish Patel, Kish and Valley West Hospitals

Humanitarian/Community Service Award: Dr. Joseph Baumgart, Kish and Valley West

Footer Curve