SVHC Announces Honorees for Outstanding Physician and Outstanding Community Member


BENNINGTON - In September, Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is honoring two individuals, a physician and a community member, for their efforts to advance the health system’s vision of healthier communities. The honoree for SVHC’s Health Care Leadership Award is Dr. Richard Dundas and the Reverend Thomas Steffen is the recipient of SVHC’s Distinguished Community Service Award.

For the awards, SVHC sought nominations from the public, the physician community, health system employees, and SVHC’s board of trustees.

“We’re proud to honor Dr. Dundas and Rev. Steffen,” said Thomas Dee, the health system’s president and CEO. “Both of them have made lasting contributions to the health of SVHC’s community through their leadership and commitment. While it was difficult to pick just two nominees to honor, the achievements of Dr. Dundas and Rev. Steffen are outstanding.”

Dr. Richard Dundas is an internist who has practiced in the Bennington area for more than 30 years. He was a physician for Union Carbide (Eveready) for many years. Dr. Dundas also was instrumental in developing many services at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) including the Intensive Care Unit, the Echocardiography Department, Nuclear Stress Testing, and Cardiac Rehab.

Dr. Dundas has always exhibited a high level of personal and medical professionalism, kindness and caring for his patients and the community in general. His dedication to the Bennington community is most evident when visiting the Bennington Free Clinic. Dr. Dundas saw his dream become a reality with support of the Interfaith Council in 2009. He had a vision to provide high-quality medical care to all who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay, and to help them navigate the complex medical system. He acted on that vision and has made sure that everyone in the Bennington area now has access to affordable health care.

Rev. Thomas Steffen has also shown great commitment and support of SVHC’s mission and vision over the years. For 29 years he served as the minister at the Second Congregational Church in Bennington and retired in 1994. Steffen has always been very active in the Bennington community.

Rev. Steffen served on the SVHC board of trustees, a voluntary commitment, for 22 years from 1984 to 2006. He also has served as chair of the board. Rev. Steffen was instrumental in the SVHC’s search for a new CEO in the early 1990’s, acting as chair of the Search Committee.

Today, Rev. Steffen remains active with SVHC. He is a Trustee Emeritus on SVHC’s board and a lifetime member of the SVHC Auxiliary. Rev. Steffen continues to offer his generous support to SVHC whenever and wherever it is needed.

SVHC will present the awards at the SVHC First Annual Harvest Ball on Sept. 11. The event will take place at the 1768 Hubbell Homestead at Colgate Park. All proceeds will benefit Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, contact PJ Venti in the SVHC development office at 802.440.4024.

SVHC is a community-based, not-for-profit health system that exists solely for the benefit of its community. SVHC has a vision to make the communities it serves the healthiest in the nation. To find out more, visit