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2023 Salute to Nurses: Letters C-D

Cambridge Health Alliance

Claudine Alabre, Cambridge Health Alliance

Claudine is our nurse manager in a busy primary care clinic that serves a safety-net population. She stays in very close communication with the clinic nurses and medical assistants, making sure they have up-to-date clinical information and are clear on workflows, doing whatever she can to make their working lives easier. And when the work gets busy, she steps up to call patients and reply to their messages herself. She’s also hired a bunch of new staff, which helps us meet our patients’ needs in a timely way. She is patient and kind, a trusted support for everyone who works here, and I can’t imagine the clinic functioning without her tireless efforts. – Nominated by Rebecca Rogers

Cassie Aponas, Cambridge Health Alliance

Cassie demonstrates compassion every day. Cassie is hard-working and dedicated to providing the safest care for her patients while advocating for their needs to the entire medical team. Cassie is also a team player who offers a helping hand to her colleagues when necessary. Watching Cassie interact with her patients inspires me every day and reminds me why I entered the nursing profession. I’d like to thank Cassie for serving as a mentor and for providing amazing care to all of the patients on our unit.
Nominated by Lyndsey Demarco

Alexandra Bryar, CHA Cambridge Pediatrics, Cambridge Health Alliance

Alexandra never complains and has a great heart. She truly cares for her patients and her job.
Nominated by Camila Werner

Cece Buckley, Cambridge Health Alliance

Cece has had a variety of leadership roles in many different organizations, which helps her see many different points of view — the staff, the patient, the system. Cece is currently the senior director of labor relations, where she raises issues of concern for staff and patient safety. Cece has also led social justice efforts at CHA, sorting through complicated issues when an untoward event occurs. Cece is a systems thinker who brings people together to reach positive solutions. Cece is quick to say yes and offer a helping hand to anyone. – Nominated by Fiona Mccaughan

Lisa Canzanelli, Cambridge Health Alliance

When working with Lisa, one gets to experience what nursing should be. From her kind and inclusive care of patients to her interactions with staff, Lisa always tries to do what’s best for others. Lisa follows up with pharmacies to make sure medications are available and then lets patients know the outcome. Not only is Lisa a great patient advocate, she’s also a great colleague. She is open and welcoming, encouraging and empowering. Thank you, Lisa, for all that you do for patients and co-workers. I’m proud to know you. – Nominated by Amberly Ticotsky

Gabrielle Coimbra, Cambridge Health Alliance

When Gabrielle began her career as a new grad in early 2022, the unit she came into was being hit with its third COVID surge, and staffing was a huge challenge. As the clinical nurse educator, I watched this brand-new nurse go from a nervous, unconfident novice to a clinically sharp asset to the team. In under a year, her ability to think critically through complex medical situations, close attention to detail, and competency awareness made her one of the best nurses I have ever had the privilege to work with. Keep on being awesome, Gabby. The sky is the limit for you. – Nominated by Casey Alexandre

Lisa DiFava, Cambridge Health Alliance

Middle-aged nurse with golden brown hair pulled back into ponytail sitting in office.
Lisa DiFava

Lisa DiFava, an awesome psychiatry nurse who works with our inpatient adults, is an extremely flexible and innovative problem-solver. Lisa thinks critically through patient and staff safety. She sees many sides of situations and sorts through the issues. As team leader, she manages the milieu. Lisa is compassionate, kind, and respectful. Lisa’s peers all appreciate her leadership. Thank you, Lisa.
Nominated by Fiona Mccaughan

Kimberly Johnson, Cambridge Health Alliance

Kim is positive, kind, and caring. She worked alongside many others at our COVID clinic and is now back to primary care/family medicine. Despite working long hours, and usually understaffed, she finds time for her family and furthering her education to become an RN. Her clinical competency is impressive. Kim’s ability to communicate and provide exceptional care to our patients directly reflects the type of person she truly is. Kim continues to grow as an LPN and will surely thrive as an RN. Thank you, Kim, for all you do for CHA and our community. – Nominated by Erik Westhaver-Ford

Georgia Katsios-Gray, Cambridge Health Alliance

I recently saw Georgia treat a patient with true compassion and respect. She showed immense empathy and understanding, while also following the highest ethical and moral standards. She was patient and kind, and treated the patient with the same level of care and consideration as she would any other patient. It was evident that she truly cared about her patient, and was dedicated to making sure they were comfortable and safe. She was a shining example of what it means to be a nurse, and I am in awe of her dedication to her profession. I salute her and all nurses who strive to put the needs of their patients first, and treat each and every patient with the utmost respect. – Nominated by Veronica Colon

Albert Kim, Cambridge Health Alliance

It is my pleasure to nominate Nurse Albert Kim for his outstanding demonstration of compassion, clinical competency, excellent communication, trust in care, and advocacy for his patients. Albert always puts the needs of his patients first. He listens to their concerns and provides emotional support when needed. His gentle approach helps to alleviate their anxiety and calm them. His patients feel heard and understood, and they trust him and the care he provides.

Albert’s clinical competency is exemplary. He thoroughly understands his patients’ medical conditions and is highly skilled in performing assessments, administering medications, and providing wound care. His attention to detail ensures that his patients receive accurate and appropriate care. Albert is also an excellent communicator. He’s articulate and clear with patients, families, and colleagues. Explaining complex medical information in a way that patients can understand helps to relieve their anxiety and promotes trust. Trust is an essential component of care, and patients trust Albert’s judgment and his ability to make decisions that are in their best interest. His dedication to their well-being is evident in the care he provides.

Finally, Albert is a strong patient advocate. He listens to his patients and advocates to ensure that they receive the care they need. He’s passionate about patient rights and isn’t afraid to speak up when he believes that his patients are not receiving the care they deserve. Altogether, Albert’s an exceptional nurse who demonstrates compassion, clinical competency, excellent communication, trust in care, and advocacy for his patients. His commitment to excellence is evident in the care he provides. – Nominated by Ronald Lee

Daniel Luu, Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville Campus

Nurse with black hair, a mustache, and goatee wearing grey zip-up sweatshirt.
Daniel Luu

He stepped down from his managerial duties to assist an understaffed emergency department with the COVID/flu surge this winter. – Nominated by Michelle Lantosca

Melissa Mahiouz, Cambridge Health Alliance

Melissa Mehiouz is a nurse on our adult psychiatry service. She genuinely cares and is a kind-hearted, gentle soul. She is also a team player who steps up to help her co-workers. Hard-working and dependable, Melissa will always follow through and be by your side in any situation. She honors her word. Melissa is a great friend and mentor. – Nominated by Fiona Mccaughan

Lisa Mashburn, Cambridge Health Alliance Cambridge Hospital OB-GYN

Nurse Practitioner Lisa Mashburn was thorough, clear, and very proactive in discovering a diagnosis that had been missed by other providers for several weeks, despite multiple encounters and image studies. As a result of her diligence, the diagnosis was correctly identified right away and treatment was initiated immediately. Had the condition gone untreated for much longer, there was a significant risk for developing severe complications. – Nominated by Anita Diabate

Evie McNally, Cambridge Health Alliance Cambridge Hospital

She’s amazing. She improves her co-workers’ and patients’ morale and elicits smiles from everyone she meets. She goes far and beyond to make her patients safe and well cared-for. Incredibly intuitive and smart. The other nurses and doctors completely agree and helped me write this. – Nominated by E.

Niki Plessas, Cambridge Health Alliance

Niki is an exemplary nurse who demonstrates a high degree of compassion and empathy. She collaborates effectively with the clinical staff and administration with kindness and calmness when she is needed as a charge nurse. The atmosphere of the room changes when Niki is present, becoming peaceful and neutral, which is a positive influence on patients. Her cheerful attitude and ability to make us laugh is another admirable quality. Niki is an outstanding nurse who knows how to read the room and give us exactly what we need. I hope that her example will inspire others to follow her in becoming a nurse. – Nominated by Veronica Colon

Grace Poirier, Malden Family Medicine Center, Cambridge Health Alliance

Grace wears many hats. She is the liaison for the lost, damaged, and discarded. She is the beacon of hope and kindness when so many of our patients have been betrayed by health-care and government systems. She connects the pieces of these broken systems to advocate for her patients’ rights and their voices to be heard. She spends countless hours on the phone coaching them or simply treating them as a person and listening. She keeps close relations with sober houses and rehabs so she can check on established patients or connect new patients to needed services. Grace embodies what it means to be selfless and nonjudgmental. Our patients would tell you that she is the glue that keeps them together and involved. She makes sure you know that you matter, and is a breath of new air in the health-care system. Quality is her middle name — or it should be. There are too many examples of advocacy, trust, or communication to single out just one, when she matters to so many. Grace Poirier is a true testament to what our patients should experience when interacting with health-care professionals. She makes them feel safe, heard, and included. – Nominated by Shante Cruz

Patricia Poirier, Cambridge Health Alliance

Patty Poirier is retiring from CHA after a 46-year nursing career that encompassed critical care, the operating room, and nursing education. Throughout her career, she’s been committed to patient safety. Hers was the voice that kept vulnerable patients safe during surgery — the last comforting voice they heard when drifting off under anesthesia and the first upon awakening. As a nurse educator, she advocated for excellence in training and preventing injury. She consistently treated all patients as if they were family and instilled that in her colleagues. Patty has always been respected by her peers, as well as physicians. Patty’s retirement, although well-deserved, will create a void in the perioperative surgical departments at CHA. – Nominated by Nancy McCune

Debralee Quinn, Cambridge Health Alliance

Debralee began her nursing career at CHA in 1971 as a student of the three-year program at Somerville Hospital School of Nursing. She shaped her career as a fierce advocate of lifelong learning, especially for our teams at CHA. She championed nursing certification, instituted nursing grand rounds, and encouraged all of us to not only attend conferences but to present our amazing work, allowing CHA nursing to be nationally recognized. Leading by example, Debralee graduated from the Gold Fellowship program and shared her work at last year’s American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. Debralee received two Circle Awards, was a wellness ambassador and a brand champion, and represented nursing on multiple committees. She partnered with the nursing education team on policies and procedures and nursing standing orders, and facilitated the Ambulatory Nurse Practice Council.

Countless nurses have experienced Debralee’s kindness and compassion, confided in her, and benefitted from her insights and support. She consistently impresses those around her with her astute ability to bring people together, improving workforce and patient outcomes. Debralee’s 49-year nursing career touched countless lives. We are grateful for all Debralee gave to CHA and nursing. She will be greatly missed as she begins her retirement. It is a pleasure and honor to work with Debralee.
Nominated by Heather Bogrett

Joana Shiri, PACE, Cambridge Health Alliance

Joana is caring and compassionate, and a really nice person. I appreciate how she follows and takes care of me, even when I need to go out to a treatment facility. The continuity of care that I receive through PACE [the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly], and the exceptional caring and commitment that Joana provides, are very meaningful to me. – Nominated by Madhugiri Ramaseshu

Care Dimensions Healthcare

Robert Painchaud, Care Dimensions Healthcare

Robert displays his abilities at the highest level to every patient. It’s always a pleasure and privilege to work with Robert. I’m a certified nursing hospice assistant, and have had Bob come to the “rescue” when things are over-the-top or outside the “norm with a patient. Robert helps his nursing assistants, like myself, do whatever is necessary at any particular moment. He isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, nor does he fear assisting anyone in a crisis. His empathy is limitless and on constant display. I can’t pick out one patient as an example, as he is consistent with all of them. He changes beds and is always ready to assist an aide in a critical moment. Many patients’ families have witnessed Robert’s extraordinary nursing abilities. He’s loved by too many patients, families, and colleagues to list. Robert is very humble and has no idea that I’m writing this. If we could clone Bob, we would have one heck of a nursing profession everywhere. Until that time, he’s the one and only Robert Painchaud, LPN. – Nominated by Dale Lemure

CCRM Fertility

Julia Simoneau, CCRM Fertility

Julia is the clinical nurse manager at CCRM Fertility. Caring for the infertility community is emotionally heavy. This population is extremely vulnerable, and has often experienced repetitive microtrauma, including by the health-care profession. Julia is sensitive to the special needs of this community and treats every patient as an individual, intuitively giving exactly the right care at exactly the right time. She advocates for her patients with doctors, insurance companies, and pharmacies. As part of the leadership committee, she’s always finding ways to improve the process, and ultimately the patients’ experience. She is a teacher and adviser to her colleagues who helps everyone get their work done. She is the very definition of the best kind of nurse and deserves every bit of recognition. – Nominated by Jessica Ryniec

Chief Judge Robert F. Arrigan Rehabilitation Center

Robbin E. Boelter, Chief Judge Robert F. Arrigan Rehabilitation Center

On every day of the nearly two decades that I’ve known my friend, colleague, and co-worker at the Arrigan Rehabilitation Center outpatient medical facility of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Robbin has shown exceptional dedication to her patients and co-workers. As an RN/case manager/patient-care coordinator, Robbin works with patients who often have complex chronic pain and conditions from workplace injuries. She tirelessly advocates for them in navigating the workers’ compensation system, guiding them toward successful recovery, and, ultimately, working and living positive lives. Going above and beyond is entirely natural and unquestionable for Robbin, in all areas of her life and self. – Nominated by Raffaela Kane

Circle Health Diabetes and Endocrine Center 

Michelle Iadarolla, Circle Health Diabetes and Endocrine Center

Michelle is a model nurse with outstanding clinical judgement and the patience of a saint. She also has a temperament and determination to battle on behalf of the patient when a pharmacy or health insurance bureaucrat throws up a roadblock or makes a decision to the detriment of her patient. I retired recently. When I told my patients I was retiring, many of them asked if Michelle, who is an LPN, could be their “doctor.” Others told Michelle that they want her to continue being their nurse, and asked if they could transfer their care if she decided to work in another clinic. I met many very dedicated nurses over my 30-year career, and I honor them all. But none were better than Michelle. – Nominated by Hayward Zwerling

Commonwealth Care Alliance

Minette Weaver, Commonwealth Care Alliance

Minette is the supervisor of Commonwealth Care Alliance’s Long Term Support Service Utilization Management team, which approves community services such as Homemaker, Personal Care, Adult Foster Care, and Companion services. Minette views each CCA patient holistically, considering medical, behavioral, and social/community dynamics, prioritizing advocacy and patient autonomy, allowing members to remain living in the community independently. She brings vast clinical experience and perspective, including case management, ER, and rural settings, once serving as a flight nurse in Alaska. CCA serves a chronic, vulnerable population, often with behavioral health and complex medical diagnoses, further challenged by social determinants of health. 

As THE subject matter expert, she often facilitates a multidisciplinary care management team to navigate the regulatory landscape so patients succeed in the community with an interlocking, tailored, and timely array of community-based services particular to each patient’s circumstances and aligned with CCA’s philosophy of “Uncommon Care.” Examples include a patient threatened with losing housing due to hoarding, the sudden loss of a personal care attendant, needing help getting to appointments, sorting through mail, organizing appointments, and caregiver burnout for a patient on hospice. She is our trusted “go-to” expert, our hero behind the scenes, regarding urgent, complex, and challenging cases. She collaborates and mentors staff, ensuring patients are getting what they need to stay at home. Her excellence in nursing judgement, critical thinking, and ethics is exemplary. – Nominated by Therese Eckert

Minette Weaver, Commonwealth Care Alliance

Minette, my supervisor, is a brilliant nurse who’s always there for her staff. Minette puts her staff first and is so dedicated to our patients. She’s always there to answer questions, and you can always trust that she’s guiding you in the right direction. I have learned so much from Minette. She makes the world a better place, and I can’t say enough of what an amazing nurse and leader she is. – Nominated by Liz McCusker

Minette Weaver, Commonwealth Care Alliance

As our utilization review supervisor, Minette is extremely dedicated to her job, and it shows in all of her interactions. She exhibits tremendous care, compassion, and support for her co-workers. Minette is a great person, and a nurse who’s always willing to help. – Nominated by Natalie Zharova

Kimberly Whelan, Commonwealth Care Alliance

Kim is a triage nurse for CCA Primary Care with more than 10 years of experience treating patients with complex behavioral and physical health needs. Most recently, she became certified in diabetes wound care, and she’s exceptionally qualified to jump into action when necessary. Once, Kim received a call from a patient who had post-operative complications after neck surgery — specifically, difficulty breathing. Kim called 911 for immediate help while she assessed the patient over the phone. The patient made it to the hospital. Kim has been similarly instrumental in treating many patients in immediate distress.

Kim is committed to listening to patients and meeting their needs, while also supporting the nurse practitioners on the team. Kim will share her thought leadership in care delivery at a conference in Florida later this year. Every day, Kim brings positive energy to the team, and we are very thankful to have her as a colleague. – Nominated by Nicole Carville-Autry

Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Azure Layton, Cooley Dickinson Hospital

As the new nurse manager here at Cooley, Azure has taken on a huge task of keeping the Emergency Department whole. She has been a safety advocate for the department; a confidante engaged in countless discussions on workflow; a powerhouse with appropriate discipline and performance improvement; a pleasant leader; and one of the best managers we’ve had. She really understands the craziness of health care and the need for more resources, people, and safety for all staff. She should win awards every day for her courage and generosity in a very difficult time in health care. She’s worth keeping forever. We couldn’t have asked for better. – Nominated by Christine Kellogg

Ann Lebrun, Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Ann is our nursing director, but she’s worn many hats during this pandemic, jumping in wherever she’s needed. She does whatever it takes to keep our inpatient floors running smoothly — coming in at all hours of the night to take over for sick nurses/supervisors, taking on full assignments in a critical nursing shortage, and just being available for her staff and their needs. She’s always kind and caring with both patients and staff. She cares about our well-being and listens to our fears, complaints, and needs without judgment. Her professionalism is unmatched. – Nominated by Erin Bernard

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Alexandria Cabral Carter, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

On the morning of the Feb. 25 nor’easter, Alexandria drove over three hours to care for her patients (including me) at Dana-Farber’s Chestnut Hill location. I was anxious because it was my first chemotherapy treatment, and my husband and I worried we wouldn’t be able to get to the facility, much less expect nurses to be there. Alexandria demonstrated extraordinary commitment, compassion, and expertise to oversee my treatment — not just that day, but also over the months ahead, protecting me from a potentially fatal allergic response and encouraging me to keep the faith. She gave me the strength to stay positive. Her reliability was critical, assuring me that she would be there regardless of the obstacles in our path, and her loving compassion healed the emotional pain of an individual who is fighting cancer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Alexandria. – Nominated by Patricia Gray

Meghan Cifrino, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

I met Meghan the day I began chemotherapy and radiation for brain cancer, four years ago. She was a constant support for me and my wife over the next 14 months, helping me adjust to the chemo and performing many more acts of kindness. She’s an amazing professional. Two-plus years after completing chemo, Meghan continues to be a rock for us. Her support is a big part of why I’m still here, and I am forever grateful. – Nominated by Christopher Barnett

Mary Delaney, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

My mother has been Mary’s patient many times over the years, but the visit that first comes to mind was on Sept. 18, 2009, when my oldest daughter was born. My mother couldn’t be there for her birth because she was at Dana-Farber. Mary was her nurse that day, consoling her and celebrating with her. They bonded over the years, and I remember my mom saying how careful Mary always was with her medicine and how she went out of her way to check on my mom and make her feel comfortable, even when my mother wasn’t part of her official case load for that day. I don’t have the words to express how much her caring meant and continues to mean to my mother, but I am so thankful. – Nominated by April Spelbrink

Megan English, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Megan has been with me through my four-year cancer journey. She knows all my anxiety triggers and quirks, and how to distract me from them. I feel so at ease knowing she will be taking care of me. Even though my doctor moved to the Chestnut Hill location, I still go to Yawkey Center for Cancer Care just to have treatments with Megan as my nurse. She’s kind, compassionate, funny, and the best nurse anyone could have. I’m so thankful for her care and friendship. – Nominated by Jessica Culley-Kozens

Smiling nurse with shoulder length brown bob wearing a lab coat over a swirly red patterned blouse and a rainbow lanyard around her neck.
Tina Flaherty

Tina Flaherty, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Tina Flaherty is incredible. I have cancer, and she’s been a nurse practitioner since 2016. Cancer is a difficult situation to stay on top of, yet she’s done so without difficulty. The new therapy she recently ordered for me will keep me out of trouble, hopefully, for years. It’s really a miracle. Tina has always been there for me, no matter what. I cannot say enough about her caring and compassion. I’ve never felt alone or troubled by her medical plan. Thank goodness for practitioners like Tina. – Nominated by Mark Schulthess

Taylor Grimshaw, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

At 39 years old, I was on my third chemo infusion for stage four lymphoma and scared out of my mind due to significant side effects from the previous two treatments. In walks my new nurse, Taylor — my guardian angel. She has a warm smile, the patience of a saint, a positive sense of humor, and such tricks to make me comfortable as ice during the red devil chemo, gum during the nasty flush, etc. Words can’t express what she means to me and my family. She gave me hope and the will to go on. Thank you, Taylor. – Nominated by Jennifer Fletcher

Older nurse with short graying blond hair wearing black-framed glasses and a fuchsia shirt underneath a lab coat.
Carolyn Goldhammer

Carolyn Goldhammer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Carolyn has been my wife’s nurse for the last several years and makes her twice-weekly treatments a pleasant experience. She is truly a great, dedicated professional. – Nominated by Joe Manfredi

Anne Gray, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Anne was my mother’s infusion nurse during her treatment for extensive stage small cell lung cancer. We began this journey with many questions and fears. Anne answered our questions and helped to calm us. She took an interest in Mom’s life outside of the cancer center and in our families as well. We both looked forward to treatment days so that we could catch up with Anne and share stories and pictures of what had gone on between treatments. Anne is always a step ahead of the game and so proficient in her field. She’s ready for anything and has a great working relationship with her co-workers. She always has a smile to make her patients feel at ease. 

When Mom’s oncology department changed floors, she was transitioned to a new, equally wonderful team of nurses. We no longer see Anne every month, but when we do run into her at the elevator or in the cafeteria, she always greets Mom with a big smile and a hug. We never thought we would look forward to going for treatment, but it’s honestly become the best part of our month. Anne and the staff have become like an extended family to us. We feel extremely blessed to have Dana-Farber and their incredible staff on our side as mom fights lung cancer. – Nominated by Hillary Fortin

Blond nurse with rosy face wearing a silver necklace and a black zip-up fleece emblazoned with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute logo.
Kathleen Kiley

Kathleen Kiley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Kathleen has been my infusion nurse on many visits. She knows me very well and always takes great care of me. She’s concerned about my cancer treatment and is always available to help me through the process. Her tremendous experience really reassures me. There’s never a glitch in the process, and if there is any problem, she addresses it. I always feel better when I see her and would miss her if I didn’t. – Nominated by Mark Schulthess

Colleen Lortie, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

I was going through treatment at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020, when no caregivers were allowed to accompany patients for their appointments. I was lucky enough to have Colleen as my infusion nurse. She sat by my side and kept me company. She felt more like a friend than a nurse! We talked about our love for “The Office,” Lady Gaga, the 1975, and more. I’ll never forget how Colleen made some of the hardest times of my life a little more bearable. I can’t thank her enough. – Nominated by Emma Eafrati

Jennifer McKenna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in June 2021. I met Jenn during my first visit to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to begin my treatment with Dr. Eric Winer. It was incredibly reassuring to see how warmly, efficiently, and compassionately Dr. Winer and his trusted colleague Jenn interacted. It gave me confidence that I was in good hands. Dr. Winer has since left Dana-Farber, but Jenn remains the nurse practitioner on my oncology team, and her kindness, keen insights, and encouraging, positive, but honest take on my circumstances have never wavered. 

One of the special things about her that is terribly important to my treatment and well-being is her unfailing reliability. If I contact her by email or phone, she never fails to answer within 24 hours. This makes my life less frustrating, and surprises me in such a big, busy institution as Dana-Farber. I don’t know how she manages to stay on top of my concerns in addition to those of all her other patients, but she does. When I get sad and worried, she comforts me with her calm, unflappable message of why hope is reasonable, and patiently reminds me yet again that they have many, many ways to treat my disease — even if she told me the same thing the last time I saw her, she never gets impatient. Jenn encourages me to live my best life, such as indulging my love of travel (as my health allows, of course) rather than sitting at home “just in case” something should happen. She gives me courage and confidence. I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have Jenn in my corner as I journey through this mysterious and difficult part of my life. Things can always change, but I hope she will be with me a long time, and in the meantime, I have benefited immeasurably by her care during this most challenging disease. – Nominated by Nina Huber

Josie Montegaard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

As a long-term patient at Dana-Farber’s Lymphoma division, I’ve been seeing Josie for many years, and have always felt that I’m her most important patient, even though she carries a heavy patient load. She has always been patient and tolerant, caring, understanding, and reassuring when I have concerns, and she is a knowledgeable and confident clinician. Josie always advocates for me, as she did when I experienced a cardiac side effect from one of my trial drugs. Josie set me up immediately with the Dana- Farber onco-cardiologist. Her quick response and advocacy meant that a silent cardiac issue was found before it became a major issue. As the cardiologist said, they don’t often get to practice preventative medicine, and I was extremely fortunate that Josie was proactive. Josie knows the stress her patients feel while awaiting test results and responds quickly to my questions or concerns on the portal. 

A hero is admired by many people for doing something good and noble. Josie is a hero in my ongoing fight against this treatable but incurable form of leukemia, and I am most fortunate to have her on my team. – Nominated by Cathy Ferguson

Nicole Quigley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Right from the start of my chemo treatment, Nicole was caring, friendly, compassionate, and very professional. I felt I was in the best hands when she was taking care of me. – Nominated by Janeth Aguilera

Helene White, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Helene has been my infusion nurse at Dana-Farber in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton for over five years. Not only is she a true professional and skilled clinician; she is a warm and loving person. Helene doesn’t just treat me; she cares and listens to me. Her fellow nurses provided the same type of care and concern. They work together to provide quality patient care. Helene interacts on a personal level as well. She’s interested in the whole person and knows where to buy the best ham at the best price. Of course, I’m here for cancer treatment. Helene and the nursing team took the time to explore the issues of treatments, side effects, worries, and anxieties in a very kind and human way. The team’s support and encouragement were invaluable in providing a sense of self-esteem and recovery. – Nominated by Mary Jo Perry

Editors: Spence & Sanders Communications, LLC.

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