A diverse group of medical practitioners were recognized for their “compassion, empathy, respect, and cultural sensitivity” at the the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HFNJ) 2019 Lester Z. Lieberman Humanism in Health Awards dinner.
Some 225 health-care professionals and guests attended the event, held July 15 at The Crystal Plaza in Livingston.
The HFNJ was formed in 1996 from the proceeds of the sale of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center to the Saint Barnabas Corporation. The foundation’s mission is to support the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in the area of Newark and the Greater MetroWest region.
The awards cited the recipients’ outstanding professional and personal attributes “in the delivery of care to patients and their loved ones.” Among them were five awards recognizing workers in Jewish health-care agencies.
Lieberman, who died in 2013, was Beth Israel’s board chair at the time of the sale, and the foundation he formed has distributed well over $100 million in grants to help fight malnutrition, substance abuse, HIV, domestic violence, and other health challenges.
This year’s affair, which has been held annually since 2003, featured HFNJ’s theme of “Humanism” in medical treatment.
“One thing we have learned above all else is that health care goes much beyond fighting disease and infirmity,” said Marsha Atkind, who is in her 11th year as HFNJ executive director/CEO. “It is first and foremost about people. It is about helping people stay well in body and mind, and it is about helping those faced with chronic and life-threatening situations. It is about healing in the truest sense of that word.”
Though its roots are in a Jewish community institution, HFNJ reaches diverse communities in Newark and its surrounding areas.
Nominations for the annual awards “come from dozens of agencies we work with,” said Atkind. “They present HFNJ with their best people, and we decide on the Lieberman Awards for Humanism in Healthcare. There are many outstanding nurses, orderlies, social workers, and others who are honored by their own agencies as well. The [five] Jewish agencies involved are a part of our awards programs.”
Workers from these five agencies who were recognized:
Sabrina Stuart was honored for her accomplishments as a clinical social worker at the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ. She was cited, according to her biography, for her “calm demeanor” and for her effectiveness in helping victims of domestic violence.
“I’ve been with JFS for six years, and I really love my work,” Stuart told NJJN. “I want to get up in the morning and be excited about what I do. With JFS, I know I am doing meaningful work.”
Pam Ogelsby is an activities specialist working at the Hirsch Pavilion of the Daughters of Israel skilled nursing facility in West Orange, where most residents require physical assistance.
“I enjoy helping people,” said Ogelsby. “I always want to make sure the people I am working with are all right and feel good about themselves.”
Robert Slater is the work readiness and engagement supervisor at JESPY House in South Orange, whose clients and residents are adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Slater leads a team of job coaches who have helped clients gain employment and live independent lives.
Alice Greenberg-Sheedy has been with Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey for five years, working with clients in its Alzheimer’s/dementia program. She established the Memory Café program and a day center known as “The Coffee House,” for people living with memory loss, in JFSCNJ’s Elizabeth facility.
Emmanuel Offeh-Mensah is a direct support professional working for the Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled in West Orange. He is credited, according to his biography, for “taking the time to understand what JSDD clients are experiencing, regardless of ability or disability.”
Michele Adubato, the CEO of the North Ward Center in Newark, also received HFNJ’s 2019 Lester Z. Lieberman Award for Humanism in Healthcare, and the Burn Unit Team at Saint Barnabas Medical Center was given its 2019 Lester Z. Lieberman Team Award for Humanism in Healthcare.