The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) honored six outstanding volunteers who work in public hospitals in the Bronx at their Annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony and luncheon.
These volunteers were chosen from the more than 8000 men and women who have dedicated nearly one million hours of service to the city’s public hospitals over the last year.
“HHC volunteers are a vital element of our safe and efficient healthcare system. It’s the quality of caring and assistance that they donate to the patients we serve that makes all the difference. They are an important part of what makes HHC great,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles.
Volunteers serve as language interpreters and sexual assault counselors, feed elderly patients, rock babies, play with children, read to adults and comfort family members. They do clerical tasks and serve as Patient Navigators. Patients’ spiritual lives are enhanced when volunteers bring them to chapel and visit those who otherwise would not have any company. They participate in a myriad of activities that enhance patients’ experience at the hospital and assist staff in assuring that their assigned department is running smoothly and efficiently.
Bronx Volunteers Honored
Zarife Haxhiaj – has been a volunteer for two years in the Finance Department of Jacobi Medical Center. Her responsibilities include sorting and distributing mail and filing checks and other correspondence. She also searches accounts by patient name in order to scan documents into correct accounts and provides assistance with special projects sponsored by the hospital. She has given over 800 hours of service, takes a tremendous amount of pride in her work and has not missed a day in over a year.
Iris Resto – is a volunteer in the Inpatient Pediatric Child Life Program at Jacobi Medical Center. She helps the young patients and their families cope with the experience of hospitalization. Her warmth, compassion and patience create a safe and positive environment for them. She provides the children with recreational activities in the playroom and at the children’s bedside and plenty of “TLC” for all the children she befriends in the Child Life Program. She talks and listens to all the patients, gently rocks the young ones, comforts the scared ones and holds the nervous ones. In two years she has provided over 1,000 hours of service.
Thomas Smith – known as “Looney Louie,” is a professional children’s entertainer whose specialties include magic, juggling, music and balloon sculpture. He volunteers at Bellevue, Elmhurst, Metropolitan and Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center. He comes to Lincoln once a week, and has for ten years, performing for hospitalized children for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. The weekly clown show helps distract children from their pain and in turn, the children and their parents experience less depression, anxiety, pain and isolation. “Looney Louie” achieves this goal through his magic and, as he is fluent in English, Spanish and French, he reaches a wide, culturally diverse audience.
Angela Toro – is a clerical volunteer in Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center’s Asthma / Dermatology clinic. She is organized, efficient and willing to go the distance to get an assigned task finished. A team player, her cooperative attitude and good cheer are important to the smooth running of the department and appreciated not only by staff, but also by patients. Her strong moral fiber and character are exemplified by Angela’s unwavering devotion to the community and Lincoln Hospital.
Eliza Jaquez – has been a volunteer in the Sexual Assault Treatment Program (SATP) at North Central Bronx Hospital since 2008. She provides emotional support, advocacy, information and referrals to ensure that each survivor of sexual assault receives optimal care in the Emergency Department and she skillfully engages survivors in beginning the process of recovery. She has knowledge of the medical, legal, prosecutorial and emotional aspects of trauma and uses that knowledge to help survivors make informed decisions about the care they wish to receive. Eliza makes a significant difference in the lives and recovery of the survivors she meets.
Earthin Thompson – has spent the past two years working in the Ambulatory Care Nutrition Services Department at North Central Bronx Hospital, where she utilizes her skills as a Master of Science in Nutrition. Earthin provides nutrition education, counseling and promotes good eating habits to the patients and families. She also assists at Registered Dietitian Day, National Nutrition Month, community outreach programs, senior citizen centers, school health fairs and the neighborhood farmers market. She educates mothers of children who are underweight or picky eaters and assisted with the North Central Bronx Hospital Healthy Living classes, which addresses obesity in the Bronx.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated health care delivery system with its own 385,000 member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal health care organization in the country. HHC serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and more than 450,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the Local Level, which recognized the organization’s work to make performance data accessible and transparent to all patients and consumers through it’s HHC in Focus Web site, and its efforts to foster a culture of continuous improvement. For more information, visit here. For volunteer opportunities go here.