Foundation celebration: St. Mary’s honors excellence at annual dinner

Shown are this year’s award winners and honorees of the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare. They were celebrated at the foundation’s annual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence dinner at the Holiday Inn. From the left is Rev. Chris Hamm, Dr. Jacqueline Pasco, Vincent Colonno with Catholic Charities Mobile Outreach Vehicle Extension, Al Turo and Karen Shibley, right. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

JOHNSTOWN — The Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare held its annual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence dinner on Monday and recognized the five honorees who showed appreciation, compassion and excellence in healthcare to people in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

This year’s honorees and recipients of the Excellence in Healthcare Awards are: Karen Shibley, who was awarded St. Mary’s Support Associate of the Year; Chris Hamm, who was awarded St. Mary’s Caregiver Associate of the Year; Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese was awarded the Non-Profit Organization of the Year for its mobile outreach vehicle extension; Dr. Jacqueline Pasco was awarded Medical Professional of the Year; and Al Turo was awarded Healthcare Leader of the Year.

Bri Giulianelli, executive director of the Foundation of St. Mary’s said they like to honor “people who go above and beyond their job scope.”

“I was thrilled we were honoring all of them,” she said.

This year, the foundation’s non-clinical honoree was Shibley — the assistant operations manager in the Canajoharie Family Health Center. She was nominated by a colleague for going above and beyond for a family that was having trouble understanding the healthcare system.

Shown are guests at the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare annual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence dinner at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown on Monday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

“She was nominated because she went above and beyond helping a family who had no insurance and didn’t really understand the healthcare system. And she went out of her way to really help them navigate that,” Giulianelli said. “It wasn’t necessarily part of her job, but she did it anyway. Those are the kinds of people we like to honor at this event.”

This year’s clinical honoree was Hamm, a chaplain with the Spiritual Care department. He was nominated for being dedicated to patients and their families, and for showing compassion and integrity.

“He goes up on the floors and he talks to patients and their families,” Giulianelli said.

Awarded for professional of the year was Pasco, who practiced general medicine in the Philippines and went into a residence program in OB-GYN, but decided to purse a residency program in psychiatry when she and her family moved to the United States. She was awarded for dedication to her work at St. Mary’s Healthcare.

“We’re thrilled to be inducting Dr. Pasco because she has been a part of the St. Mary’s family for many years as well,” Giulianelli said. “She helps our most vulnerable patients, behavioral health patients. She’s a psychiatrist and her patients really have a high regard for her. She has a lot of people who are here to support her tonight.”

Catholic Charities was honored as the non-profit organization of the year for their partnership with St. Mary’s to give people in Montgomery County access to healthcare and food through the use of their new RV known as CC MOVE.

This year St. Mary’s Healthcare, Catholic Charities and the Regional Food Bank coordinated mass food distributions and health fairs in areas with limited access to healthy and nutritious food. Those in need were also connected to other available resources. To date, CC MOVE has distributed over 150 pounds of food.

The mobile initiative has provided nutritional support as well as medical screenings, case management and brings outreach services to people in need.

“The RV is there to have healthcare services on board, so they do blood pressure screenings or depression screenings,” Giulianelli said. “It’s been a really wonderful partnership between St. Mary’s and Catholic Charities for many years, but specifically in November 2019 when we got the RV, and now we can bring that to our food drops that we do in conjunction with other community partners like Centro Civico.”

Awarded as healthcare leader of the year was Turo who recently retired as vice president of human resources and was honored for his many years of service. He served on many community boards including Your Home Care Network, Sarah Jane Sanford Home, IPH, and Community Maternity Services.

“I was thrilled that we were honoring all of them, especially Al, because Al has been a part of St. Mary’s for many, many years,” Giulianelli said. “He was in the foundation before I came into the foundation. He still continues to be a huge support for me whenever I have questions about things pertaining to the foundation and so we’re thrilled to be inducting him.”