Excellence Awarded at UConn John Dempsey Hospital

UConn John Dempsey Hospital (JDH) has awarded its 2024 Annual Awards of Excellence including a new first Annual Community Outreach Award.

These hospital excellence awards, sponsored by the JDH Medical Staff, and are a way to recognize individuals whose performance goes above and beyond what is expected and who provide a significant contribution to the success of the UConn Health clinical operations.

This year’s recipients are recognized for demonstrating outstanding dedication and commitment to patient care, enthusiasm for their job, and collaboration in their work with the JDH Medical Staff.  Nominations are solicited from the Medical Staff at-large and the recipients are selected by the JDH Medical Board.

Medical Staff Award of Excellence recipient is Beatriz Esayag-Tendler, M.D. (Endocrine Neoplasia Program). Tendler, an expert in endocrine neoplasia, is recognized by her peers for her life’s work of caring for others and someone who has long been considered by patients as a knowledgeable, compassionate, and humble physician who

Dr. Susan Levine receiving her excellence award.
Dr. Susan Levine receiving her 2024 excellence award.

has also been a multi-year recipient of the Patient Choice Award. She was nominated by Tarunya Vedere, M.B.B.S.

First Annual Community Outreach Award recipient is Susan Levine, M.D. (Immigrant Health). Levine is recognized for her work as founder and director of Immigrant Health at UConn Health. She has created from scratch a pathway for conducting green card exams and refugee health exams at UConn Health, including a patient referral system from local organizations that now serve as UConn Health’s community partners in caring for refugees and immigrants in Connecticut.  She has helped over 1,500 patients from 50 countries since 2017. In addition to refugee and green card exams, Levine has also created a process for providers at UConn to perform forensic exams for asylum seekers.  These reports are used by patients’ lawyers in court to support their case for legal asylum in the United States.  In addition to laying the foundation for providing these services at UConn and mentoring other faculty to build the skill set to provide these services alongside her, she has also created formal curricula and learning programs for UConn medical trainees at all levels including a student-run asylum health clinic for medical students, an immigrant health track for internal medicine residents, and a one-year long continuity curriculum that residents from both the traditional and primary care internal medicine residencies can opt into.  Levine was nominated by Clara Weinstock, D.O.

Operating Room Nurse, Malorie Johnston, R.N., is the 2024 recipient of the JDH Support Staff Award.

JDH Support Staff Award recipient is Malorie Johnston, R.N. (Operating Room). Weeks and sometimes months prior to a patient entering the operating room, hours and hours of work has gone into the counseling, prepping, and optimizing for surgery.  When those OR doors open and the patient rolls in, all that hard work

is about to hit its pinnacle and there is no person more aware and prepared to ensure that everything goes smooth than Johnston. Surgeries can be complex endeavors with rapidly changing needs, equipment failures, changing clinical concerns and at times heightened tensions.  Johnston, however, is the one constant.  She remains steadfast in her passion to provide top level care, has a profound depth of knowledge, and can complete her task to a degree above and beyond what is expected.  She does all of this while also bringing a level of calmness and sense of comfort to the patient and OR team.  Johnston was nominated by Wesley Nilsson, M.D.

UMG Support Staff Award recipients are Karen Leavitt, R.N. and Sheldon Rasgo, R.N. (Urology Clinic). Leavitt and Rasgo are recognized for their teamwork in the outpatient Urology Clinic.  They are on the front lines answering complex patient phone calls , troubleshooting foley catheters, finding medical supply solutions for patients with bothersome incontinence or ostomy appliances, and providing life-saving

Karen Leavitt, R.N. and Sheldon Rasgo, R.N. (Urology Clinic) accepting their awards from Dr. Coll.
Karen Leavitt, R.N. and Sheldon Rasgo, R.N. (Urology Clinic) accepting their awards from Dr. Coll.

therapies (e.g. hormone injections, and bladder instillations) for patients with prostate and bladder cancers. They are regularly recognized by patients for their compassionate care in sensitive moments.  Moreover, the clinicians in the Division of Urology are significantly supported by their work ethic.  They both were nominated by Benjamin Ristau, M.D.