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Meet the 2022 Liota and Marren Award Winners!

June 21, 2022–Congratulations to the 2022 Liota and Marren Award winners: John Tawiah and Natasha Merjuste, who were nominated by their VNS Health colleagues and selected by a committee of nursing leaders! John Tawiah, Psychiatric Nurse, Bronx ACT Team, Winner of the Marilyn Liota Award The Liota Award to Promote Cultural Diversity in Nursing Leadership, named after long-time VNS Health nurse and Queens Regional Vice President Marilyn Liota, is awarded each year to help an exemplary VNS Health nurse realize her or his leadership potential. The award provides a $1,500 scholarship for expenses related to nursing studies, continuing professional development, or communication/English language skills development. “Fighting the stigma around mental illness, and helping my patients lead better lives, are my driving forces.” In the Ghanaian village in which John grew up, mental illness was viewed as demonic possession. He is haunted by memories of a childhood classmate who would occasionally vanish into the bush. “I’ve heard

Team Highlights

A Day in the Life of Queens Speech-Language Pathologist Whitney Thomas

May 26, 2022–Welcome to another edition of “A Day in the Life”—a Frontline series that follows staff members from different parts of VNS Health as they go about a typical day at work. In honor of May being National Better Hearing and Speech Month, we’re featuring speech-language pathologist Whitney Thomas.

National Nurses Month Special: Saluting Years of Dedicated Service

May 11, 2022–This year, in celebration of National Nurses Month, VNSNY honors—and thanks— all of the nurses whose hard work and dedication make such a vital and colossal contribution, and difference, to the lives of our patients, clients and members across the organization. As a special highlight, Frontline spoke to the longest-serving nurses in each part of the organization. Click on their names to go directly to their stories or just scroll here to read them all! Myrna Agosto Susan Banner Myra Cohen Eloise Goldberg Lisa Miller Elisabeth Regis Karen Terry Betty Velez Nancy Washburn Deborah Wilson   Myrna Agosto, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Behavioral Health — 33 years at VNSNY “I see the possibilities.” As a psychiatric nurse practitioner in the Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Myrna Agosto spends her days working with vulnerable patients at very difficult times in their lives. “Typically, we’ll get a referral

A Day in the Life of Bronx Geriatric Outreach Mental Health Specialist, Carmen Tirado

May 13, 2022–Welcome to “A Day in the Life”—a Frontline series that follows team members from different parts of VNSNY as they go through a typical day at work. Frontline recently followed Mental Health Specialist Carmen Tirado through her typical Wednesday. A 26-year VNSNY veteran, Carmen, who is out in the field three days a week, joined VNSNY Behavioral Health’s Geriatric Outreach program in 2000. For the past seven years, she has been based out of the FRIENDS office on East 153rd Street in the South Bronx. 4:30 a.m. I was born and raised in the South Bronx, but now I call Bridgeport, Connecticut home. I get up at 4:30 a.m., take a shower, start my coffee maker, get dressed, get my coffee, put my makeup on, do my hair, and then I’m ready to go! My daughter drops me off at the Bridgeport Metro-North train station around 5:45 a.m., and I

Exciting Behavioral Health Reorganization Announcement

June 23, 2022–Dear Colleagues, The Behavioral Health (BH) team has been hard at work transforming our structure to allow for more agile and dynamic growth as we expand our programs in 2022 and beyond and become integral to one VNS Health. The first step was to ensure that we can be easily identified within VNS Health and the broader community. To more accurately represent all of the work we do – both Mental Health and Substance Use services – and to better align with industry standard terminology, Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) has officially been renamed Behavioral Health! Last year, BH and VNS Health leadership developed a strategic plan that includes expanding programs in the following areas: Substance Use Disorders; Children and Adolescents; Older Adults; and Integrated Care. All new service offerings will build on our history of providing excellent care within our grant programs and will ensure a focus on meeting

Meet the 2022 Liota and Marren Award Winners!

June 21, 2022–Congratulations to the 2022 Liota and Marren Award winners: John Tawiah and Natasha Merjuste, who were nominated by their VNS Health colleagues and selected by a committee of nursing leaders! John Tawiah, Psychiatric Nurse, Bronx ACT Team, Winner of the Marilyn Liota Award The Liota Award to Promote Cultural Diversity in Nursing Leadership, named after long-time VNS Health nurse and Queens Regional Vice President Marilyn Liota, is awarded each year to help an exemplary VNS Health nurse realize her or his leadership potential. The award provides a $1,500 scholarship for expenses related to nursing studies, continuing professional development, or communication/English language skills development. “Fighting the stigma around mental illness, and helping my patients lead better lives, are my driving forces.” In the Ghanaian village in which John grew up, mental illness was viewed as demonic possession. He is haunted by memories of a childhood classmate who would occasionally vanish into the bush. “I’ve heard

A Day in the Life of Bronx Geriatric Outreach Mental Health Specialist, Carmen Tirado

May 13, 2022–Welcome to “A Day in the Life”—a Frontline series that follows team members from different parts of VNSNY as they go through a typical day at work. Frontline recently followed Mental Health Specialist Carmen Tirado through her typical Wednesday. A 26-year VNSNY veteran, Carmen, who is out in the field three days a week, joined VNSNY Behavioral Health’s Geriatric Outreach program in 2000. For the past seven years, she has been based out of the FRIENDS office on East 153rd Street in the South Bronx. 4:30 a.m. I was born and raised in the South Bronx, but now I call Bridgeport, Connecticut home. I get up at 4:30 a.m., take a shower, start my coffee maker, get dressed, get my coffee, put my makeup on, do my hair, and then I’m ready to go! My daughter drops me off at the Bridgeport Metro-North train station around 5:45 a.m., and I

Community Collaborations Hosts “Empower Your Health” Webinar

April 21, 2022–On April 28th, Community Collaborations will host an “Empower Your Health” webinar from 2:00 – 3:00PM. Improve your wellbeing with information on preventing chronic diseases, finding the right health care provider and understanding your rights as a health care consumer. Discover the power of advanced care planning, hospice and palliative care services, and empower your health and wellbeing. where you will learn about a variety of ways to improve and enhance your health and your family’s wellbeing. Click here to register or use the following link https://bit.ly/3u1SkBd to register for the presentation. For more information contact [email protected]

Two New VNSNY Community Centers Opening Summer 2022!

April 14, 2022–Building on its long history of supporting the health and social welfare of diverse and often vulnerable populations, VNSNY will be opening two new storefront community centers in the Asian American communities of Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Like the VNSNY Chinatown Community Center located at 7 Mott Street, the two new centers will be open seven days a week, offering ready access to a full range of VNSNY programs and services and serving as a one-stop source for health information and community resources. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming!

VNSNY in 2021 — Year in Review

December 20, 2021–January VNSNY welcomes EVP & Chief Financial Officer Keith Patterson. On January 25th, Keith Patterson joins VNSNY as our new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He arrives with an extensive background in managed care as well as provider and other healthcare services. VNSNY CEOs named to 2021 City & State Health Power 100. Current VNSNY CEO Dan Savitt and former CEO Marki Flannery are both named to the 2021 City & State Health Power 100 list, a roster of New York’s 100 most influential public officials, health care executives, advocates and activists, academics, and labor leaders. Vaccinate VNSNY! From early January, when VNSNY opens its vaccine clinic at 220 East 42nd Street, through March 20th, when the clinic administers its last first-dose vaccinations, VNSNY nurses give out 9,000 first doses and 4,400 second doses of the Moderna vaccine—the large majority of them to VNSNY staff members. Click here for

“Inside Keith Patterson’s Head” Episode 3: Financial Forecasting — Difficult to See, Always in Motion Is the Future!

March 28, 2022–In Episode 1, Chief Financial Officer Keith Patterson demystified VNSNY’s financial numbers. In Episode 2, Keith explained the key forces at play in VNSNY’s financial growth. And now, in Episode 3, Keith focuses on financial forecasting — difficult to see, always in motion is the future. To watch Episode 3, click here below. To watch previous episodes, click here.  

9 Things You May Be Surprised to Know About VNSNY’s IT Service Desk Team

March 25, 2022–Is your PC loading slowly or not at all? Is an application rejecting your credentials? Did the dog eat your tablet’s charging cord? (We’re not kidding—see #6 below.) For these problems and countless more, you know where to go for help: VNSNY’s IT Service Desk, reachable through their phone hotline at 212-290-3555—where you can talk to a live human being 24/7, 365 days a year—or through the Self Service Request Portal. While there’s a good chance you’ve contacted them at least once, here are nine things you may not know about the Service Desk: 1) The IT Service Desk gets about 4,000 calls a month, with Monday and Tuesday the busiest days and 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. the busiest times. Last year, 85% of calls made to the IT Service Desk were answered within 60 seconds. 2) The IT Service Desk is able to resolve 88% of callers’ issues

Meet Our Newest Lean Six Sigma Green Belts!

March 22, 2022–The Participants in VNSNY’s Second Lean Six Sigma Course Tackle Continuous Care Optimization, Hospitalization Rates, Capacity Constraints, and Turnaround Time VNSNY is now in its second year working with Lean Six Sigma—a set of management tools used by organizations worldwide to help them operate more efficiently and improve the quality of their services and products. Building on last year’s inaugural program, Tony Dawson, Senior Vice President of Quality and Performance Improvement, recently took another 20 team members through a six-month course that prepared them to become certified as Lean Six Sigma Green Belts. “Implementing a problem-solving tool like Lean Six Sigma improves processes throughout the organization,” says Tony. “At the same time, VNSNY team members learn critical thinking and managerial skills as they develop solutions to complex issues that will ultimately improve the customer experience for our patients, members and clients.” With participants from across VNSNY, the Lean Six Sigma

National Nurses Month Special: Saluting Years of Dedicated Service

May 11, 2022–This year, in celebration of National Nurses Month, VNSNY honors—and thanks— all of the nurses whose hard work and dedication make such a vital and colossal contribution, and difference, to the lives of our patients, clients and members across the organization. As a special highlight, Frontline spoke to the longest-serving nurses in each part of the organization. Click on their names to go directly to their stories or just scroll here to read them all! Myrna Agosto Susan Banner Myra Cohen Eloise Goldberg Lisa Miller Elisabeth Regis Karen Terry Betty Velez Nancy Washburn Deborah Wilson   Myrna Agosto, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Behavioral Health — 33 years at VNSNY “I see the possibilities.” As a psychiatric nurse practitioner in the Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Myrna Agosto spends her days working with vulnerable patients at very difficult times in their lives. “Typically, we’ll get a referral

Hondo Martinez and Daniel Hope of SelectHealth from VNSNY CHOICE Join BronxNet to Share More About Upcoming Virtual AIDS Walk

May 5, 2022

May 2022 CHOICE Commendations

April 28, 2022–Our VNSNY colleagues have demonstrated time and time again the ability to rise to the occasion and deliver an exceptional consumer experience. Here are excerpts from some of the numerous compliments we recently received thanking VNSNY CHOICE team members for a job well done.   I Never Had Such a Positive Experience “I just want to say that I spoke with two different Contact Center Agents—Gail Herrera-Coles and Tyisha Austin—and they were both wonderful!” said a CHOICE member. “I never had such a positive customer experience. I am very, very happy I joined VNSNY CHOICE!” The daughter of another CHOICE member called to thank Gail for being “kind, clear, and professional” over the phone, taking the time to explain the difference in available services and how they each worked. Attentive and Caring The care coordinator for a CHOICE MLTC member phoned to commend Contact Center Agent Jasmin Harry for “her

Meet the 2022 Liota and Marren Award Winners!

June 21, 2022–Congratulations to the 2022 Liota and Marren Award winners: John Tawiah and Natasha Merjuste, who were nominated by their VNS Health colleagues and selected by a committee of nursing leaders! John Tawiah, Psychiatric Nurse, Bronx ACT Team, Winner of the Marilyn Liota Award The Liota Award to Promote Cultural Diversity in Nursing Leadership, named after long-time VNS Health nurse and Queens Regional Vice President Marilyn Liota, is awarded each year to help an exemplary VNS Health nurse realize her or his leadership potential. The award provides a $1,500 scholarship for expenses related to nursing studies, continuing professional development, or communication/English language skills development. “Fighting the stigma around mental illness, and helping my patients lead better lives, are my driving forces.” In the Ghanaian village in which John grew up, mental illness was viewed as demonic possession. He is haunted by memories of a childhood classmate who would occasionally vanish into the bush. “I’ve heard

Allison Simms, Home Care Promotion

May 26, 2022–Allison Simms has been promoted to Associate Director of Rehabilitation Services for Home Care, effective May 21, 2022. In this role, Allison will be responsible for standardizing rehab services and recruitment initiatives for Rehab. Allison has been with VNS Health for over 10 years and has worked in various parts of the organization. She initially worked in Health Plans where she spent three years as the Rehab Clinical Manager; and most recently, she was Rehab Clinical Manager for Clinical Support Services in Home Care. She has attained degrees in Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Health Administration. Allison strives to improve quality outcomes and support the clinical team with unique perspectives and solutions in the delivery of care.   Allison, congratulations on your promotion! Your exceptional leadership and commitment led to your success and promotion.

A Day in the Life of Queens Speech-Language Pathologist Whitney Thomas

May 26, 2022–Welcome to another edition of “A Day in the Life”—a Frontline series that follows staff members from different parts of VNS Health as they go about a typical day at work. In honor of May being National Better Hearing and Speech Month, we’re featuring speech-language pathologist Whitney Thomas.

For Military Appreciation Month, BronxNet Interviews VNSNY Veteran Program Liaison Sung Yoon

May 12, 2022

National Nurses Month Special: Saluting Years of Dedicated Service

May 11, 2022–This year, in celebration of National Nurses Month, VNSNY honors—and thanks— all of the nurses whose hard work and dedication make such a vital and colossal contribution, and difference, to the lives of our patients, clients and members across the organization. As a special highlight, Frontline spoke to the longest-serving nurses in each part of the organization. Click on their names to go directly to their stories or just scroll here to read them all! Myrna Agosto Susan Banner Myra Cohen Eloise Goldberg Lisa Miller Elisabeth Regis Karen Terry Betty Velez Nancy Washburn Deborah Wilson   Myrna Agosto, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Behavioral Health — 33 years at VNSNY “I see the possibilities.” As a psychiatric nurse practitioner in the Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Myrna Agosto spends her days working with vulnerable patients at very difficult times in their lives. “Typically, we’ll get a referral

May 2022 Patient Letters

April 28, 2022–Our VNSNY colleagues continue to prove how resilient, dedicated and just plain amazing the entire VNSNY organization is! The following are excerpts from a few of the many recent letters, phone calls, and emails we’ve received from grateful patients and clients as well as family members that reflect an outstanding consumer experience.   Bronx Thank You for the Wonderful Care! “I am writing to thank you for the wonderful care I received from your nurse, Sultana Alibasic,” wrote one Bronx home care patient. “My primary care physician connected me to VNSNY to care for a huge open wound that did not heal properly from abdominal surgery. Sultana treated me almost daily for over a month and would not discharge me until the wound was 100% healed.” The patient described Sultana as kind, caring and professional. “I am very grateful to Sultana and always looked forward to her visits. She wasn’t just

Become a Caregiver and Start Again — Meet JinXia Huang, Partners in Care Home Health Aide

May 3, 2022–Man proposes, God disposes. What do you do with changes in life? Partners in Care HHA JinXia Huang was planning to reunite with her parents in the U.S., but her father passed away a few days before she arrived. Her American dream was broken. However, she didn’t lose faith and hope, she chose to be a HHA and start her new life. She said, “Thanks for this job as a home health aide. The flexible schedule allows us to be self-reliant and help others.” JinXia Huang is from Taishan, Guangdong. The three sisters of Huang’s family have been separated from their parents for many years. Their parents worked in the United States and supported the family. Before the US visa interview in 2012, the father suddenly passed away and he failed to see his daughters. Her American dream of family reunion was broken, and the pain and depression took more

May 2022 Patient Letters

April 28, 2022–Our VNSNY colleagues continue to prove how resilient, dedicated and just plain amazing the entire VNSNY organization is! The following are excerpts from a few of the many recent letters, phone calls, and emails we’ve received from grateful patients and clients as well as family members that reflect an outstanding consumer experience.   Bronx Thank You for the Wonderful Care! “I am writing to thank you for the wonderful care I received from your nurse, Sultana Alibasic,” wrote one Bronx home care patient. “My primary care physician connected me to VNSNY to care for a huge open wound that did not heal properly from abdominal surgery. Sultana treated me almost daily for over a month and would not discharge me until the wound was 100% healed.” The patient described Sultana as kind, caring and professional. “I am very grateful to Sultana and always looked forward to her visits. She wasn’t just

“Working with the Heart”: Meet Gladys Escalante, Partners in Care Home Health Aide

April 21, 2022–Gladys Escalante has only been with Partners in Care for a short time, but has two decades of experience in the field of home health care. “I switched to Partners in Care because they have better benefits than other companies; like health insurance,” she explains. Gladys came to New York City from Ecuador more than twenty years ago to care for her mother who lived here. The first years in this city were the hardest for her: “When I arrived, I didn’t know the language,” she says. “That was the most difficult. But once you learn the language, everything improves. This is a country where you can get ahead if you work and make an effort.” Today, Gladys lives in Woodside, Queens, with her three daughters, and her mother lives in the apartment across the street. “I’m very lucky that we’re all together,” Gladys tells us. Then she adds proudly,

National Nurses Month Special: Saluting Years of Dedicated Service

May 11, 2022–This year, in celebration of National Nurses Month, VNSNY honors—and thanks— all of the nurses whose hard work and dedication make such a vital and colossal contribution, and difference, to the lives of our patients, clients and members across the organization. As a special highlight, Frontline spoke to the longest-serving nurses in each part of the organization. Click on their names to go directly to their stories or just scroll here to read them all! Myrna Agosto Susan Banner Myra Cohen Eloise Goldberg Lisa Miller Elisabeth Regis Karen Terry Betty Velez Nancy Washburn Deborah Wilson   Myrna Agosto, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Behavioral Health — 33 years at VNSNY “I see the possibilities.” As a psychiatric nurse practitioner in the Queens/Brooklyn Mobile Crisis Unit, Myrna Agosto spends her days working with vulnerable patients at very difficult times in their lives. “Typically, we’ll get a referral

Find Out What’s Happening… Here Are the Latest News Briefs from Around VNSNY!

November 30, 2021–Welcome to the latest edition of “News Briefs from Around VNSNY”— featuring quick updates on recent news and happenings across the organization.If you have any news or announcements that you’d like to submit for consideration in an upcoming edition, please click here. VNSNY’s (Virtual) Gala Raises More Than $1.4 Million! Despite fervent hopes that the 2021 Benefit Gala would be an in-person event, VNSNY made the difficult decision not to host a large, indoor celebration quite yet this year. “Even though we had to pivot to a virtual event, we released a pre-recorded program video on November 11th that people can watch at their convenience,” says John Billeci, VNSNY’s Vice President of Special Events. “It contains many of the same elements that our in-person event usually has, including a video about VNSNY and the presentation of our Lillian D. Wald Award to this year’s honorees.”  Emceed by Emmy-Award-winning PIX11 anchor

Meet Our 2021 ESPRIT Winners!

November 16, 2021