Celebration of Healthcare Excellence dinner Jan. 23

JOHNSTOWN — The Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare will honor individuals and organizations at its 23rd annual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence dinner on Jan. 23 at Holiday Inn, starting with cocktails at 6 p.m., according to a news release.

The Excellence in Healthcare Awards will go to St. Mary’s Healthcare associate and community friend Sr. Rita Jean DuBrey, a Sister of St. Joseph; associate Randie Salmon, a certified family nurse practitioner; and BBL Charitable Foundation, represented by John DeForest, its executive vice president.

Besides the annual recognition awards, incoming foundation board members will be introduced and sworn into office.

The Excellence in Healthcare Awards were established in 1996 as a community expression of appreciation for bringing healthcare of compassion and excellence to the people of Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Along with recognition for community members, healthcare leaders, volunteers and corporations, the event serves as the foundation’s annual meeting and is a way for St. Mary’s to honor associates who have been recognized by their peers with a monthly Values In Practice Award.

Each month, two associates — one a caregiver and one a support associate — are nominated by their peers and recognized for their efforts. Two special awards will be presented for the VIP of the Year associates: Manny Santiago, a licensed practical nurse, will be recognized the Clinical VIP of the Year, and Leon Ozug, a member of the materials management department as the Support VIP of the Year.

∫ DuBrey will be honored with the Carondelet Medal in recognition of her “unselfish work to further the mission of St. Mary’s Healthcare and Foundation through personal example, inspirational leadership, and commitment to Christian ideals.” She was the foundress of and director of the Center for Complementary Therapies for the past 18 years.

∫ Salmon will be honored with the Medical Professional of the Year Award. She has always been passionate about her career in nursing and the medical field. She earned a bachelor of nursing degree in 1980 from the University of Rochester.

∫ The BBL Charitable Foundation will be honored with the Award for the Non-Profit Organization of the Year. Giving back to the communities where they live and work is one of BBL’s core values and an integral part of their business. From their earliest operations in 1973, they have been involved and engaged in supporting numerous initiatives and organizations that strengthen lives and improve communities through philanthropy and the volunteered time and talent of their employees.

The BBL Charitable Foundation was founded in 1998 by members of the BBL Family of Companies to support two central tenets of their culture: integrity and a deep sense of compassion for others. The not-for-profit corporation is organized and operated exclusively to receive and administer funds from donors and distribute such funds to organizations throughout the United States for scientific, educational and charitable purposes.

∫ Santiago was chosen as Clinical VIP of the Year because he worked tirelessly to bring BARD Sherlock 3CG device training to St. Mary’s. The device is used to insert peripherally inserted central catheters) for infusion of medications that are either long term or too caustic to put through a normal intravenous line. Manny had the proposals approved and reapproved countless times in order to bring this device to St. Mary’s. His persistence reportedly shows his enthusiasm for improved care, and his heart enabled him to bounce back whenever he encountered opposition.

Santiago has been asked to educate other hospital staff on the Sherlock device and the new PICC lines. His motivation stems from his best friend, Ken Simek, a fellow St. Mary’s nurse, who he lost unexpectedly in September 2017. Getting this device was the last project that Simek was working on before he passed.

∫ Ozug, a member of the materials management department, is the Support VIP of the Year. He is being commended for taking on a leadership role when his supervisor was on leave for two months. Through his department, Ozug interacts with a variety of associates throughout St. Mary’s. These encouraging interactions help contribute to the positive culture at St. Mary’s. His dedication is always apparent, but it was especially apparent during the time that the department supervisor was temporarily on leave. If there is a job to be done, Ozug would help. He was a role model to the other associates in the department and ensured that daily operations proceeded without issue.

He spent many hours looking for alternative products if an item was unavailable, with special attention to not disrupt patient care or daily work efforts by staff. This effort is a direct contributor to the St. Mary’s ability to provide service to the poor and vulnerable in our area. It was said that “Leon always carries a positive attitude and works hard to serve the ministry,” the release stated.

∫ Additionally, the monthly St. Mary’s VIP winners will also be recognized and are as follows: Sariena Dennis — LPN in Children’s Behavioral Health; Joan Wadsworth –food services — Memorial/Rao Pavilion; Amber Frye — occupational therapist at Wilkinson Nursing Home; Sandra Pallotta — technician in health information management; Chris Bardequez — health home care manager in behavioral health; Alethea Kelly — speech-language pathologist at Memorial Health Center; Kerry Conley — chaplain with the pastoral care office; Sarah Barber — social worker at Wilkinson; Jennifer Ligon — counselor in mental health in Fulton County; Jayme Noble — patient registration representative at Rao Pavilion; Kaileigh Sheffer — a registered nurse in the mental health outpatient department; David Patterson — therapist in physical rehabilitation; Gabriel Sasso — pharmacist; Julia Nicholas — patient registration representative — Amsterdam Urgent Care; Kimberly Ridge — payroll accountant — finance; Seth Steenburg — registered nurse — inpatient mental health; Tanya Syzdek — registered nurse — William Hall; Cristian Vallejo — housekeeping — Wilkinson; Kim Pacheco — administrative support — behavioral health; Robyn Burdick — registered nurse — PROS Fulton County; Patrick Cotnoir — support — information technology; and Andrew Steenburg — housekeeping — environmental services.

New members to the Foundation Board to be inducted are as follows:

∫ Jeffery Brown of Brown’s Ford of Amsterdam and Johnstown; ∫ Kimberly Roberts of Kinderhook Bank; ∫ Andrew Roth of Hear for You.

The public invited to attend the St. Mary’s Celebration of Healthcare Excellence to help honor the evening’s award recipients. Tickets are $50 per person. Reservations may be made online at www.smha.org/the-foundation/excellence-awards or by calling (518) 770-7584.


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