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Father and daughter cited for humanism in health care
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Father and daughter cited for humanism in health care

Foundation honors leading healers with Lieberman awards

Dr. Alice Cohen, left, receives her Lester Z. Lieberman Leadership Award for Humanism in Healthcare from Marsha Atkind, executive director of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. Photos by Robert Wiener
Dr. Alice Cohen, left, receives her Lester Z. Lieberman Leadership Award for Humanism in Healthcare from Marsha Atkind, executive director of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. Photos by Robert Wiener

A father and daughter who have devoted their professional lives to bettering the lives of cancer patients at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, are the recipients of the 2011 Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey’s Lester Z. Lieberman Leadership Award for Humanism in Healthcare.

In a July 18 presentation ceremony at the Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center in Florham Park, Dr. Frederick Cohen was cited by foundation executive director Marsha Atkind “for the gentle, caring manner with which he treats his patients and the role model he has become for fellow physicians.”

Cohen practices oncology and internal medicine at the Beth.

His daughter, Alice Cohen, who directs the Comprehensive Cancer and Blood Disorders Center named after her father, was hailed by Atkind for her “warm personality, deep sense of empathy for their problems, and the sense of confidence and hope that she instills.”

Atkind said Alice Cohen’s service has been “pivotal in reaching out to community groups and private physicians about the importance of screening and education in the fight against cancer. As a result of her leadership, countless underserved women in greater Newark have benefitted from breast cancer screenings and medical care.”

Delivering the keynote address at the foundation’s annual dinner was Kerry Glass, a videographer and art therapist from Springfield who operates Memories Live. Through her nonprofit organization, people facing death make video recordings of their life stories. These projects, intended for friends and families, are made by clients “in their final stages of something awful,” Glass told the audience. “I try to connect from a place with compassion and give them a chance to create a gift for their families, to celebrate their lives, and to be empowered. I am giving my clients, who may feel helpless and guilty, a voice to record their version of their memory, their vision, their legacy.”

The evening ended with the presentation of the 2011 Lester Z. Lieberman Humanism in Healthcare Awards, given to 35 top professionals from 18 healing centers in Union and Essex counties.

Lieberman is chair of the foundation and was chair of the board at Newark Beth Israel Hospital when it was sold to the Saint Barnabas Health Care System in 1966.

Funds from the sale enabled the MetroWest Jewish community to create the Healthcare Foundation, whose grants are designed, according to its website, to “reduce disparities in the delivery of healthcare and improving access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in the greater Newark area and the Jewish community of MetroWest NJ.”

“Health care goes far beyond fighting disease and infirmity,” Lieberman told the 210 people in the audience. “It is about helping people faced with chronic and life-threatening situations to help maintain their hopes and dreams and stay connected to their communities, their families, their work, and their dignity.

“It is about healing in the truest sense of the word.”

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