Aspirus Health names Stephanie Dulak a Climate Champion

Aspirus Health recently presented Stephanie Dulak, RN, manager of Aspirus Wausau Hospital’s emergency department, with its Climate Champion award. In honor of Dulak’s remarkable environmental sustainability efforts, five trees are being planted in the Superior National Forest in her name.


Dulak earned the Climate Champion award for identifying and leading a project to reduce the amount of waste the emergency department generates by replacing single-use, disposable EKG leads with reusable ones. EKG leads are attached to patients’ chests for use in monitoring the electrical activity of the heart. Rather than throwing out these leads after each patient, the reusable EKG leads are thoroughly cleaned and then reused.


This project allows the emergency department to:

  • Cut down on its landfill waste by about 14,400 pounds a year.
  • Save $46,000 in supply costs a year.
  • Receive less of the unnecessary packaging supplies come in.
  • Avoid carbon emissions associated with transporting supplies for delivery or disposal.

After a temporary switch to reusable EKG leads in 2021 proved successful, clinical emergency department leadership committed to the permanent implementation of reusable EKG leads in the department beginning July 1, 2022, as a means of helping reduce Aspirus Health’s environmental footprint while continuing to provide patients with the best quality care possible.


“It feels great to implement a small change that has such a large impact both financially and environmentally,” Dulak said. “We have cascaded this information to our other business units and encouraged them to participate in the same way.”


Presented by the committee that oversees system-wide environmental sustainability efforts at Aspirus Health, the Climate Champion award recognizes employees who identify and implement sustainable practices, and demonstrate leadership and innovation through:

  • Reducing waste (material, energy, water, carbon equivalents and more).
  • Improving the patient experience and employee safety.
  • Supporting operational performance.

Aspirus Health is committed to aggressive environmental sustainability goals for the health of the communities it serves. Goals for the Aspirus system hospitals include reducing carbon emissions by 80% and reducing energy costs by 50%, both by 2030.