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NYC Health + Hospitals Honors 42 Social Workers for Their Compassion, Dedication, and Work on the Frontlines Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

The winners were nominated by their colleagues and were chosenby their facility's individual social work recognition committee

Apr 14, 2022

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that 42 social workers from across the public health care system were honored for helping patients and their families through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Nominations were submitted from across the system and the 42 honorees were selected from this pool by their facility’s individual Social Work recognition committee. Those selected for the recognition are individuals who display a deep devotion to providing compassionate and exemplary patient care and continually strive for excellence in medicine and behavioral health.
“Social work is an important part of all health systems, but I think it’s especially important to NYC Health + Hospitals because many of our patients are low-income, and that usually brings on additional challenges when you’re also sick or caring for a loved one who is sick,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “I want to thank all of the social workers who give their all every day to help our patients navigate these challenges. I am honored to work with you.”
“Our social workers take a holistic approach to patient care, identifying and evaluating the social, economic and environmental factors that shape an individual’s opportunities and barriers to engage in healthcare. Social workers serve as advocates and leaders, helping to effect positive change for individuals, families, societal groups and communities,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive Natalia Cineas, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Social workers are essential throughout society, and they are certainly indispensable to NYC Health + Hospitals’ efforts to provide safe, high-quality patient care in a culturally sensitive way.”
“At NYC Health + Hospitals, our patients and their loved ones rely on our professional social workers to help identify their biopsychosocial-spiritual needs, to collaboratively set wellness goals, and to overcome barriers to engaging in health care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Director of Social Work Services Eva Sanders, LCSW, CCM. “In ways big and small, our social workers dependably show up for our patients, families and communities to help solve problems and maximize self-determination.”
“The pandemic has exposed many underlying issues around access to equitable care, mental health services, unemployment, food insecurity, homelessness, etc. Social workers are trained as case managers, therapists, researchers, and policymakers. They have stepped up and taken a leadership role based on the special skills that we possess to help people adjust to this new normal and connect them with much-needed resources,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan CEO Cristina Contreras, LMSW, MPA, FABC. “Being a social worker has made me a better CEO. I want to thank all of my fellow social workers for their hard work and dedication to our patients.”
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are almost 720,000 professional social workers in the country, and that number is expected to surpass 800,000 by 2030. More than 970 social workers are employed throughout NYC Health + Hospitals. They go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of our patients and their families:

  • During the first wave of the pandemic, behavioral health social workers at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst created Caring Connections, a program where they went to the bedside of COVID-19 positive patients with iPads to facilitate much-needed visits with families and loved ones
  • Throughout multiple waves of the pandemic, forensic clinical social workers at NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services continuously provided specialized behavioral healthcare to patients at Rikers Island and connected them with community services
  • Medical social workers at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur serve as key coordinators for survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking

The 2022 Social Work Champions include:

  • Daniel Franco (Behavioral Health) and Lena Um (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
  • Yiu-Lung David Ho (Behavioral Health) and Tasawar Janjuah (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island
  • Karen Ramirez (Medical) and Anne Thode (Behavioral Health)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
  • Zoe Kosofsky (Behavioral Health) and Lyn Tulloch (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
  • Renata Plonska-Brown (Behavioral Health) and Ladysbelle Garcia (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi
  • Mona Spencer (Medical) and Kristel Viechweg (Behavioral Health)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings
  • Barry Alicea (Medical) and Denia Descartes (Behavioral Health)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
  • Cody Frank (Behavioral Health) and Renea Scott (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
  • Michele Green (Medical) and Rose Taveras (Behavioral Health)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
  • Sherae Anderson (Behavioral Health) and Santhosh Varghese (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
  • Jaiminique Etienne (Medical) and Cleopatra Riley-Philip (Behavioral Health)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull

Post-Acute Care

  • Emily Jolly
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter
  • James Adichilamakel
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler
  • Yesenia Rodriguez
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur
  • Bibi Saffee-Razak
    NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney
  • Deidre Figueroa
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Seaview

Gotham Health

  • Nancy Hernandez
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis
  • Marcos Rampeletto
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Cumberland
  • Iris Rodriguez
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, East New York
  • Andrea Cannalunga (Behavioral Health) and Miao Yu-Burns (Medical)
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur
  • Linda Azon
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania
  • Lynnsue Jolley
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham
  • Katherine Vasquez
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Tremont
  • Zipporah Yoel
    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt

Community Care

  • Donna Alleyne-Sinclar
    Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA)
  • Lauren Keshinover
    Health Home

Correctional Health Services

  • Melissa Revello

Central Office Programs

  • Monique Irick
    Maternal Home
  • Salley May
    B-HEARD (Office of Behavioral Health)
  • Cheryl Dury
    Innovation & Partnership