MONTCLAIR, NJ – A Montclair resident, Joana Emmolo, M.D., a radiation oncologist was presented with an award for clinical excellence as a physician at a ceremony hosted by Overlook Medical Center. It was held at the Primavera in Stirling on May 10.
She was given the recognition by Overlook Advisory Board member Roger Flax, Ph.D., who noted Emmolo “not only has a full glass, she has about 15 of them. She is so modest and so humble, but she is also passionate and so cutting-edge with technology.”
In accepting, Emmolo noted, “I love what I do, and I love the patients I take care of.”
The UMDNJ Medical School graduate has been in practice for 6 years.
She was among twenty-one members of the Overlook Medical Center staff who were singled out to receive Clinical Excellence Awards.
Awards categories are as follows: Physicians, Nursing, Allied, Patient Care Partners and Team.
The Patient Care Partners division of the awards is new this year, the brainchild of William Crane of the Summit-based Nicholas J. and Anna K. Bouras Foundation, which has underwritten education scholarships to honorees. Crane noted his own “affiliation” with Overlook Medical Center began with his birth there in 1957, and said he spent time there more recently with his best friend of 28 years, Nicholas Bouras of Summit, at the end of the latter man’s life in 2013. The foundation came into existence in 1998, created by Bouras, who was described by Crane as a World War II hero and founder of a steel construction company.
Crane said, “Honoring Patient Care Partners brings deserved recognition to members of Overlook’s frontline staff, techs and those who work in departments like dietary and environmental. This frontline staff plays a vital role.”
Robert Mulcahy III, who chairs the Overlook Medical Center Advisory Board, opened the evening by telling those gathered that not only was his mother a nurse at Overlook, he was born at the hospital. He said the clinical awards were first presented in 2003, and past events have taught him “some amazing stories will come out tonight.” He noted that what makes the awards uncommon is nominations are done by peers, and not by the Overlook administration.
The CEO of Atlantic Health System, Brian Gragnolati, said, “Clinical excellence is what we’re all about.” He noted that at a recent health care conference, he was part of a discussion in which participants were asked what keeps them up at night. What keeps him up, Gragnolati said, “is that we are there when people need us, and that we do no harm. People trust us with their lives.” The recognition “comes up from your peers,” he noted. “What better compliment could there be?”
Alan Lieber, the president of Overlook Medical Center, said he wanted the medical center’s staff to know “we really appreciate everything that you do. You affect our patients in so many positive ways. You’re why our patients put their trust in our hands.”
Award winners in the Physician category were:
- Rozana Alam, M.D., of New York City, formerly of Summit, a psychiatrist. Presenter Peter Bolo, M.D., chairman of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health for Overlook, noted that Alam’s nickname is “Sunshine,” which he said is apt, as she is “a force of nature” and a “whirling dervish of clinical excellence.” In accepting the award, Alam spoke of how she values her 35-year association with Overlook Medical Center, and told of her gratitude to her colleagues.
- Garry Frisoli, M.D., of Short Hills, an OB/GYN. Presenter John Vigorita, M.D., a retired pediatrician, said Frisoli has delivered about 5,000 babies, but is also known for his skill in counseling high-risk pregnancies. Frisoli said he feels “blessed with so many wonderful patients and their families,” and said he feels with “each of them I have become a better doctor and a better person.”
- Maithili Rao, M.D., of Madison, a medical oncologist. Her presenter, Eric Whitman, M.D., medical director of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, said the year Rao took her written boards for hematology and oncology, she was the only person to earn perfect scores. In accepting her award, Rao said every member of her staff does whatever he or she can for patients. “These are the people who really represent clinical excellence to me,” Rao said of her colleagues.
- Seth Stoller, M.D., of Parsippany, a neurologist. In presenting his award, Jane Rubin, director of the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, noted Stoller enjoys surfing, and said the skills he employs in the water are some that come in handy in his profession, for example “his talent at staying upright in a constantly-changing atmosphere.” In accepting his award, Stoller thanked his patients “for teaching me about life, the brain and the human soul.”
- Joseph Clemente, M.D., internal medicine, of Warren. In presenting this award John Rosellini, Overlook’s director of business development and physician relations, described Clemente as “the most humble man I have ever met in my life.” Clemente said throughout his career he has learned “the important thing is the questions you ask.” He said “working with the needy is what really lights my fire,” and thanked his Overlook colleagues for providing the support and encouragement that allow him to do that.
- Paul Saphier, M.D., of Morris Township, a neurosurgeon. In presenting the honor, his colleague, Jack Knightly, M.D., praised Saphier’s skills and level of caring, and noted that he is a pleasure to work with. Saphier said, “I am honored to be here tonight and to be part of this wonderful team and family.”
Award winners in the Nursing category were:
- Grace Macalalag, R.N., of Summit, critical care. Presenter Sue Fessler, M.D., noted that in polling some of Macalalag’s colleagues, “A theme that arose was dedication. She is a dedicated learner and is pursuing an advanced degree. Everyone knows Grace is a go-to person, and everyone truly values her contributions as a bedside nurse.” Macalalag said she feels “so proud to be a part of the Atlantic Health System family.”
- Joanna Sullivan, R.N., of Clark, medical/surgical. In presenting Sullivan with her honor, Clifford Sales, M.D., president of the medical/dental staff at Overlook, noted that he works with the Rutgers graduate on a daily basis on the hospital’s ninth floor. “She is one of those nurses I like to ask: ‘So, what do you think?,’” Sales said. “She provides good clinical insight into patients.” In accepting her award, Sullivan described herself as “born to be a nurse.”
- Nathalie de Leon, R.N., of Dunellen, Intensive Care Unit. De Leon was introduced at the event by Charlene Ruggiero, R.N., Nurse Manager of the ICU/Neuro ICU at Overlook, who noted that de Leon delivers the highest quality of care to patients, always with a smile on her face. In accepting, de Leon noted she felt deeply honored to be nominated, and said, “I thank my colleagues for their encouragement and support. We face challenges together and work to overcome them. I will continue to strive for excellence.”
- Heather Patrikios, R.N., of West Caldwell, Neuroscience. Ann Oliva, Executive Director of the Overlook Foundation, noted Patrikios has not only a wealth of clinical excellence skills but is also down-to-earth and is well-liked and “respected by her staff and loved by patients.” Patrikios said she has taken on many roles over her 10 years at Overlook, and that she feels the medical center represents “a family, and I think our patients feel like we treat them as family, as well.”
- Carmen McCloud, R.N., of Plainfield, Emergency Department, Union Campus. In introducing her, Chris Amalfitano, M.D., Medical Director of the Emergency Department, noted McCloud “is a nurse… who exemplifies true leadership in nursing, truly cares for her patients and puts her patients first.” McCloud described nursing as “my passion,” and proudly told the audience her daughter is pursuing a nursing career because she wants to be like her mother.
- Toni Ann Porcelli, R.N., of Flemington, Neuro ICU. In presenting, John Halperin, M.D., Medical Director of the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, described her as “a terrific resource to newer nurses and a mentor to nursing students and colleagues.” Porcelli said, “I feel blessed to be a nurse, and very blessed to be at Overlook.”
Award winners in the Allied category were:
- Michele Wadsworth of Middlesex, a social worker in internal medicine/oncology. Lydia Nadeau, Director, Oncology Service Line, noted Wadsworth’s dedication to patient advocacy has been lifelong. Nadeau said Wadsworth’s nomination for the award credited her with taking a good program and transforming it into a great one at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center. Wadsworth noted, “It’s our patients -- and their courage -- who really inspire me.”
- Robert Riley of Springfield, Imaging Coordinator/Radiology. Advisory Board member Vincent Ursino Jr. noted, “Robert offers a hand, a kind word, a warm blanket and a smile – he is always there to help a patient, and his overall knowledge and clinical skills are the gold standard.” Riley said he truly loves what he does. He noted, “I love the technical minutia, but I always remember the people.”
- Esther King of Mountainside, clinical pharmacist. John Audett, M.D., said King is “all about bugs and drugs,” and is passionate about finding “the right drug for the right bug.” King does “everything exceptionally well,” Audett noted. In accepting her award, King admitted, “I do love bugs and drugs,” and said she felt honored “to get an award for doing something I love.”
- Jason Metoxen of Summit, physical therapist. Gerald Durney, director of operations for Overlook, described him as an author of articles, a researcher, a leader and a team player who brings knowledge back to his colleagues and his patients. In accepting, Metoxen described Overlook as a place “completely devoted to patient care.” He said, “A department is only as good as its leadership. I am overwhelmed and inspired by my colleagues every day.”
Award winners in the Patient Care Partners category were:
- Janet Klos of Fanwood, administrative assistant, Cardiac Rehab. Her award was presented by Overlook Advisory Board member Frank Macioce, who noted there are people “who provide the glue that holds the hospital together,” and he would include Klos on that list. “She is always described as cheerful, outgoing, smiling and warm,” Macioce said. She once grew her hair for two years so she could donate it to Locks for Love, and she has walked the Boston Marathon more than a dozen times for the Jimmy Fund. Klos thanked “the patients for allowing me to do things for them…I believe acts of kindness go a long way.”
- Jasmine Vasquez of Short Hills, patient care technician, Outpatient Chemotherapy. Her award was presented by Overlook Advisory Board Member Dora Arias, who said, “Jasmine has been at Overlook for 10 years. Her patients describe her as ‘irreplaceable.’” Vazquez noted she is proud to work with “a great team, and I am grateful to the patients for sharing their lives and their stories.”
- Bill “Oswald” Cammock of New Providence, environmental technician, Same Day Surgery. In presenting him with his award, Terry Turko, a member of the Overlook Advisory Board, described Cammock as “an inspiration to all he comes in contact with,” and raved about his interpersonal skills. She noted he celebrated 41 years of employment at Overlook on May 5 of this year.
- Dave Magno of Bloomfield, patient care technician, Medical/Surgical. Presenting his award was Carol Smith, R.N., Nurse Manager, who said Magno’s kindnesses do not end when he leaves his place of employment, as he also does volunteer work, helps with his church and does disaster relief. “Patient satisfaction is always a must,” Magno said. “Patient care, for me, is always a priority.” Simply put, he said, “It is our job to take care of patients who need help.”
“A lot of this improvement has come from the ground troops,” he noted, “and we have all learned quite a bit.” He then signed over the team’s $1,500 award check to the Overlook Foundation and presented it to Ann Oliva, the foundation’s director.