Christiana Care Senior Systems Engineer John G. DiGiovanni is a key member of one of the nation’s cutting-edge health system information technology departments. But it is his dedication to keeping amateur radio technology alive as an emergency option when disaster strikes that helped make DiGiovanni a Christiana Care Jefferson Award winner.
Amateur radio has garnered devoted hobbyists since 1909 and remains a popular hobby today. DiGiovanni started pursuing his ham radio operator hobby in the early 1990s. His interest included doing compassionate acts such as helping the Red Cross keep families informed about loved ones during natural disasters.
He approached Christiana Care’s Volunteer Office in 2001 with the idea to develop amateur radio hobbyists into a group that would provide backup communications to Christiana Care and other non-profits. That was the beginning of today’s Christiana Amateur Radio Emergency Services (CARES) team.
Today DiGiovanni still recruits volunteers, makes presentations and conducts training to help maintain a strong volunteer group at Christiana Care comprising more than 25 members. The CARES team has built two fully operational radio stations and repeaters, participates in emergency drills throughout our community, and meets regularly. Throughout the year they provide support to numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes. He often speaks on amateur radio topics at other hospitals in the region.
The Jefferson Awards program is a prestigious national recognition system established in 1972 to honor individuals for excellence in community and public service in our nation.
In 2010, Christiana Care started a related, system-wide recognition program to honor individuals who volunteer and provide community service beyond the work they do each day as employees or volunteers for the health system. These award winners help to define the concepts of service, leadership and caring, and bring our core values to life.
Of the award winners recognized throughout the year, one represents Christiana Care annually in Washington, D.C., for the announcement of the national winner.