SVHC Names 2012 Health Care Leadership and Distinguished Community Service Awardees


16 July 2012
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 2012 Health Care Leadership Award is Dr. Manindra N. Ghosh and Mr. Richard Pembroke is the recipient of SVHC’s 2012 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. SVHC will present the awards at the Third Annual Harvest Ball, an event sponsored by the SVHC Foundation. The ball will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the 1768 Hubbell Homestead at Colgate Park. All proceeds will benefit Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC). For tickets or more information, contact PJ Venti in the SVHC development office at (802) 447-5017.
“Dr. Ghosh and Mr. Pembroke are truly deserving of these honors,” said Thomas Dee, the health system’s president and CEO.
“Both men chose to dedicate their lives to others and their generosity has positively reached out to many people. For this, we are truly grateful for their time and talents.”
Dr. Manindra N. Ghosh
Dr. Ghosh has been a part of the SVHC health system for 40 years. He received multiple nominations for the award and is noted for his humility and selflessness. Said one nominator, “His patients leave feeling like a person, not a number…Safety for his patients is a priority.”
Added another, “Dr. Ghosh is empathic, generous, and caring. His staff is very important to him. He has had the same nurse [with him] for 38 years….”
Dr. Ghosh also knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the patient/physician relationship, having received a heart transplant two years ago.
“Having been on both sides of the health care system,” wrote one nominator, “[Dr. Ghosh] knows how important it is to have the support a person needs to not just survive an illness, but to overcome it…”
Another added, “Three days after his heart transplant, he called the office to see if anyone needed anything.”
For Dr. Ghosh, having a heart transplant reaffirmed his desire to live life to the fullest every day. “I feel reborn,” he said. “I am thankful to the family who donated the heart, as it gave me a second chance at life. Not many people have that opportunity.”
Born and raised in India, Dr. Ghosh received his medical degree at Calcutta Medical College and did medical training at the Tata Maine Hospital in Jamshedpur, India, before coming to the United States in 1968. Dr. Ghosh then studied at Bristol Hospital in Bristol, Ct., and completed a residency in pediatrics with a special interest in allergy medicine at Saint Vincent’s Hospital in New York, N.Y., where he was chief resident.
“When I was ready for college and higher education, it was soon after World War II and there was so much happening and evolving in the medical world,” said Dr. Ghosh. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to study medicine.”
Dr. Ghosh became a fellow in neonatal with work in allergy services at the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. In 1972, he joined the SVHC community.
“I wanted to come to a place where I could raise my family and serve a smaller community,” Dr. Ghosh stated. “My boss at the time, Dr. Shefford, knew of Bennington and that the town had a great hospital with a great staff. When I interviewed, it really felt like the right place for me and my family.
“Dr. Phillip Martinez was instrumental in my development as a physician in Bennington. He was there from day one to support me as a mentor and friend.”
Dr. Ghosh originally joined SVMC as an emergency room physician, but the need and his talent quickly led him to begin a family medicine practice for the health care organization. He served people of all ages in his practice, from newborns to older adults.
“I love that I could and still can offer individualized care to each of my patients,” he said. “My greatest satisfaction comes from listening to my patients and then being able to help them by answering their questions or helping with a medical issue.”
Since those beginnings, Dr. Ghosh has served the health system with his expertise in emergency medicine, family medicine, allergy medicine, medical needs for foreign travel, and occupational health. He also continues to give back to the village he is from in India, supporting the schools in the area and the local people when he visits.
Family has always been a priority for Dr. Ghosh. He has been married 43 years to his wife Maggie, formally a nurse at SVMC. They have two children, Melanie and Ashoke and three grandchildren, Maya, Nayan, and Avi. He has seven siblings, and his two brothers and one sister also moved to Bennington and have worked within the health system.
“You have to have balance in your life,” said Dr. Ghosh. “And you must realize that sometimes people get lost and need help to find their way.”
Richard “Dick” Pembroke    
Richard “Dick” Pembroke has been a true “servant of the people” for decades. A native Vermonter, Mr. Pembroke grew up on a farm in Montpelier, served in the Korean War, returned to New England and, even when transferred to New Hampshire by his company, never gave up his desire to live in and serve the state of Vermont.
When his Navy service was completed in 1955, he managed several stores for First National Grocery Stores, Inc., before finally making his way to a brand new store in Bennington in 1962. He began his own landscaping business in 1973 and, on any given day, you can still find him driving a Pembroke Landscaping truck or tractor.
“No matter where life took me,” he said, “I always wanted to return to Vermont. Living here has given me so much, I’ve always wanted to give back in some way.”
And give back, he surely has. Mr. Pembroke has coached little league and helped to build the Bennington little league park; he was a member of the Mt. Anthony Union High School Booster Club for seven years; joined the Lion’s Club 55 years ago; was a member of the University of Vermont Extension board from 1980 to 1986; served as director of the Red Cross; and has been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1963. He served on the Bennington Zoning Board of Adjustment from 1975 to 1987, where he was in the role of chairman.
In 1986, Mr. Pembroke was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives, a role he would continue in for 14 years. He served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee for 12, championing the creation of the bypass in Bennington and many other projects designed to improve Bennington’s infrastructure. From 2002 to 2011, Mr. Pembroke was a member of the SVHC board of trustees, serving on the Development and Marketing Committee.
            Said one of his nominators, “Dick is well known for his love of the Bennington community. Whatever he pursues, he puts himself into it wholeheartedly, so he can do the best job he can.”
            Added another, “Dick has always been committed to the betterment of his community.”
When he left the Vermont legislature in 2002, Vermont Senator Jeffords had this to say about Mr. Pembroke, “He was a politician in the finest sense…He was repeatedly re-elected because of his exceptional spirit to get important things done. He used the legislative process for the benefit of all and the detriment of none.”
As a real testament to his character, when asked what he is most proud of in terms of his service to the community, Mr. Pembroke recalled how he helped a young Irish woman he met become a U.S. citizen.
“I met her in the 80’s when I was campaigning and had knocked on her door, asking for her vote,” he said. “We chatted for a while and I found her to be a lovely person. As I was leaving, she told me it was nice to meet me, but she couldn’t vote for me because she wasn’t a U.S. citizen, although she wanted to be one.
“I set her on the right track for achieving citizenship. She made me so proud when she passed the test with flying colors. Watching her take the oath, how could I not tear up? It meant so much to her to become a citizen and it is truly one of my proudest moments.”
While in the Navy in Pensacola, Fla., Mr. Pembroke met and married his wife of almost 57 years, Maryann, which he still touts as “the best thing I ever did.” Together they have four children, Russell, Ronald, Sharon, and Richard, Jr., and nine grandchildren. Ronald now owns the family landscaping business, but Dick has yet to find the desire to retire.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘true Vermont farmer,” he said recently. “I have no regrets. Vermont and its land and people have been very good to me. What I’ve done in my life has been a way for me to give back what I can.”
Southwestern Vermont Health Care is an integrated health system providing care for patients in Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, Rensselaer and Washington Counties in New York, and Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes SVMC, Vermont’s first Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence, the VNA & Hospice of SVHC, the Centers for Living & Rehabilitation, and the SVMC Northshire and Deerfield Valley Campuses. To learn more about SVHC, visit or visit our Facebook page.
Media Contact: Eileen Druckenmiller
(802) 447-5558