Christiana Care’s 2014 Champions of Service celebration recognized almost 50 extraordinary individuals whose commitment to service earned the admiration of their colleagues, and nominations for the Jefferson Awards and Spirit of Women Awards. Nearly 200 people turned out for the event at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center to cheer for the winners and nominees.
“As a not-for-profit health system, our mission is one of service to others,” said Michele A. Schiavoni, MS, APR, chief external affairs officer and senior vice president of Christiana Care Health System. “We believe that the key to providing exceptional care is to partner with our neighbors and our community. Caring for others is The Christiana Care Way.” She said that the Jefferson and Spirit of Women awards recognize “extraordinary individuals who devote themselves to making a difference in the lives of our neighbors and the communities we serve.”
The number of nominees, each with a compelling story, “must have posed a daunting task for the volunteer judges charged with picking the winners,” said Richard J. Derman, M.D., MPH, FACOG, The Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “I’m glad I didn’t have to be the one to choose,” he said.
All nominees in both award programs were invited to receive a certificate at the podium while brief descriptions of their volunteer activities and the impact of their actions on women’s health were read by the presenters.
The 2014 Jefferson Awards
The Jefferson Awards, founded in 1972, have become a prestigious national recognition system honoring public service in America. Awards are presented locally and nationally.
Moncia Prestowitz, RN
Described “as a shining example of a servant leader,” Monica Prestowitz, RN, who is nurse manager of HVIS Prep & Hold, volunteers scores of hours every month at Urban Promise Wilmington, a Christian faith-based organization that helps equip children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, personal growth and servant leadership. Prestowitz is a teacher and mentor who instructs Urban Promise staff and interns in health and fitness and first aid. In addition to her Christiana Care Jefferson Award, she will represent Christiana Care at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer to be considered for a national Jefferson Award.She also was nominated for the Spirit of Women Health Care Hero Award.
Christine Virion Cook, M.A., CCC/SLP
Christine Virion Cook, M.A., CCC/SLP, volunteers many hours of her personal time to support people living with Parkinson’s disease and to educate her colleagues and peers about the disease. She founded and continues to lead a Parkinson’s disease education group, which features regular speakers on current issues in Parkinson’s. She also has helped host a rehabilitation services table at a health care event and has been instrumental in scheduling and leading two forums for speech pathologists across the state.
Michelle Wheeler, RN
Michelle Wheeler, RN, has a longstanding commitment to serving the homeless in the community through the faith-based Meeting Ground organization, where she also serves as a board director. Meeting Ground helps individuals and families experiencing homelessness by providing a temporary safe haven where they can regroup and put their lives in order with the help and support of a caring community. Wheeler has been involved in running the organization’s emergency rotating shelter as a site supervisor for her church and volunteering at the Mary Randall Center. She helps to prepare and hand out hot dinners for the guests, serves as an overnight monitor, assists with intake, and helps collect and distribute food, clothing and other goods. On top of her usual volunteer hours she spends a full week of vacation annually to volunteer full-time at the shelter.
The 2014 Spirit of Women Awards
Dr. Derman gave an overview of the Spirit of Women Awards program, which celebrates individuals making an impact on women’s health. Winners are selected based on contributions they make to their communities through their work and their service activities. The winners will be submitted for national consideration by the Spirit of Women organization.
Emily Zhang, Young Person Role Model
Emily Zhang has had a significant impact on her local community and globally through service and development initiatives. Locally, she serves lunch to hundreds of underserved people in Wilmington. Globally, she travels to Haiti to help in the medical clinic, women’s group and children’s summer camp. As head intern for the nonprofit Students For Haiti Inc., she helps the organization form partnerships to better serve the people of Haiti.
Elizabeth Sushereba, CNM, Health Care Hero
Elizabeth Sushereba, CNM, became Christiana Care’s first certified nurse midwife seven years ago. She empowers women every day by teaching them that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes, and she encourages them to take an active role in their health. She spends a great deal of her time off improving health care in developing world, volunteering with youth and being active in her church community. She has traveled to sub-Saharan Zambia to help bring modernized medicine to a rural underserved area, setting up health care clinics, delivering babies and educating the medical staff, positively affecting the lives of countless women and children.
Amy Pollock, Community Hero
Amy Pollock serves the community in many ways. She is a founding member of Premiere Charities Inc., a well-known charitable organization with many volunteers, including many from Christiana Care Health System. Pollock coordinates hundreds of volunteers who consistently provide Sunday dinner to needy individuals and families in the city of Wilmington. She also volunteered with the Delaware Medical Relief Team and traveled to Jacmal, Haiti, to help victims of the 2010 earthquake.