Denise Dunlap Ratcliffe, LNHA, Recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award


Denise Dunlap Ratcliffe, LNHA

WYCKOFF, NJ … Denise Dunlap Ratcliffe, LNHA, Strategic Advisor to Christian Health Care Center’s (CHCC) President and CEO, was recently honored with the Excellence in Leadership Award by LeadingAge New Jersey (LANJ) at its annual Awards Breakfast. This award is presented to an individual from a member organization who has exhibited an exemplary career of outstanding service in the field of aging and who has enhanced the concept of professionalism by virtue of his/her leadership. Prior to her new role as Strategic Advisor, Ms. Ratcliffe served as the Executive Vice President and COO for 25 years. CHCC is a member of LANJ, whose mission is to advance quality aging services in New Jersey through advocacy, education, and fellowship.

CHCC is a 531-bed non-profit facility located on a 78-acre campus in Wyckoff and Wayne, NJ. As the Executive Vice President and COO, Ms. Ratcliffe was responsible for daily operational oversight, including close to 900 employees, 67 physician partners, and a $76 million budget. During her tenure at CHCC, Ms. Ratcliffe has definitively exhibited an exemplary career of outstanding service in the field of aging and has enhanced the concept of professionalism by virtue of her leadership. She has played a significant role in achieving revenue growth and net profit through improved payor mix, new program development, expense controls, and organizational efficiency. Today, as CHCC’s Strategic Advisor, Ms. Ratcliffe continues to provide expertise and leadership in the day-to-day operations, new development, and strategic planning.

“I have had the distinct privilege of working with Denise for the past 25 years at Christian Health Care Center,” said Douglas A. Struyk, CPA, LNHA, CHCC President and CEO. “I have valued her partnership, guidance and support through our tenure together. I have great respect for her as a professional, a leader, and a friend. Denise’s leadership abilities are outstanding, and she is well respected within this organization and far beyond.”

“Denise has been a trustee on the Valley Home Care Inc. board since 2008,” said Donna Fry, President, Valley Home Care. “Prior to her appointment as trustee, she was an advocate and leader in the association between Valley Home Care and Christian Health Care Center in our mutual efforts to provide quality health care for our patients and support for their families. She embodies dedication to advancing quality aging services in New Jersey through advocacy, education, and fellowship.”

Ms. Ratcliffe has been a guiding force behind many unique and successful initiatives at CHCC during her tenure, including the Transitional Care Suite within the newly expanded Bolger Gym & Wellness Center. The suite is part of patient’s daily occupational therapy and allows patients to practice the activities of daily living in a home-like environment. It also helps the therapist to assess whether the patient is truly ready to be discharged. In addition, Ms. Ratcliffe founded the Nurse Executive Leadership Council at CHCC, comprised of four key nursing leaders who help to maintain quality of clinical care and service in each program at CHCC. Ms. Ratcliffe was instrumental in the creation of Person- and Family-Centered Care, affirming the role of patients and their families as equal members of the care teams. And she coordinated Kula for Karma, a therapeutic yoga-based program for adults and seniors which deals with stress management and meditation in a health-care setting as part of therapies for mental-health services. In addition, one of Ms. Ratcliffe’s passions is furthering the education and training of nursing staff and providing opportunities for advance training, education, and certification of CHCC’s clinical staff’s competencies to excel and enhance the quality of superior care that is CHCC’s hallmark.

A licensed nursing home administrator, Ms. Ratcliffe holds a bachelor of science in management degree from Rider University School of Business, Lawrenceville, NJ. She is a member of the American College of Health Care Administrators and a recipient of the college’s Distinguished Health Care Professional Award.

In 2001, Ms. Ratcliffe was the recipient of the prestigious YWCA of Bergen County’s Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award. The TWIN Award is presented annually to celebrate women who have excelled in their fields and have made a significant contribution to the organization.

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