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    Dawn Reinhardt-Wood, MA, DRCC, CPRP, Faculty Lecturer, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation & Counseling Professions, School of Health Professions

    As a volunteer team leader for the Burlington County Disaster Response Crisis Counselors, Dawn is stationed at a drive-through testing site, where she puts her skills to work counseling and soothing anxious people who are turned away from testing because they didn’t make an appointment.

    David Cohen, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Dr. Cohen was essential to the Rutgers RWJMS Department of Medicine’s ability to lead the care of COVID-19 patients at RWJUH-NB. In order the provide this care, he needed to orchestrate the reorganization of all sub-specialty fellowships and do so in a way that left all of our medical trainees feeling safe and supported. He also worked tirelessly to make sure that the medical trainees had appropriate PPE.

    Maria Cardinale, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, Clinical Associate Professor, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy

    Maria Cardinale is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and Critical Care Clinical Pharmacist at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. During the height of the COVID crisis, Maria worked long hours often six days a week to ensure the critically ill coronavirus patients received appropriate medications. Ongoing drug shortages made managing the treatment of these patients particularly challenging. Maria’s dedication to these patients was vital to their care.

    Bill Welsh, Associate Vice President, Rutgers Access and Disability Resources

    Moving classes online quickly can have a particularly difficult impact on students with disabilities. It was no small feat to make certain accessibility could happen. Bill Welsh and Rutgers Access and Disability Resources (RADR) worked above and beyond to ensure Rutgers could meet their responsibilities in terms of meeting the needs (and civil rights) of students with disabilities. They were and are HERE4U!

    Tamar Thurm, RN, BSN, Department of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    As soon as the crisis began hitting our community, Nurse Tammy immediately and selflessly volunteered to help RWJUH Employee Health with the direct testing of our community healthcare providers for the virus. Like a firefighter rushing into a burning building, she consistently perceives the lives of others as paramount to her own risk.

    Laura Palm, Student, Mason Gross School of the Arts/Co-Chair of Rutgers Global Health Institute’s Student Council’s Global Health Education Committee

    Laura Palm is co-chair of Rutgers Global Health Institute Student Council’s Global Health Education Committee. Laura is spearheading a COVID-19 educational video initiative. She feels “it is important for students to know what role they play in the pandemic and how they can contribute to stop the spread and protect others who are vulnerable.”

    Episode 1:

    Episode 2:

    Karen McGrelis, LPC, CTTS, MPA, DRCC, ACS, Senior Training Consultation Specialist, University Behavioral Health Care

    Karen keeps us all informed as to what is happening and how to do things from making homemade masks to tips for grocery shopping – she is giving time as a DRCC credentialed professional, and serves countless hours outside her job to help others.

    Jenna Marcus, MD, FACOG, Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, New Jersey Medical School

    Dr. Marcus was redeployed from GYN ONC to the ICU during the COVID surge at University Hospital. There she noted a need for palliative care services and coordinated the creation of the Palliative Care Mobile Unit, which consisted of herself and the other members of the Division of GYN ONC. The unit’s mission was to discuss goals of care with the families of patients and allow those families to have face-to-face- contact (via video) with their loved ones, to pray, sing, and say goodbye.

    (Jack) John Hemphill, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs

    Jack Hemphill is co-chair of Rutgers Global Health Institute Student Council’s Career Pathway Awareness Committee. Jack has initiated a donation campaign, he created a motivational pocket card to boost morale of health care workers, and he and fellow students have assembled and distributed over 500 face shields to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick.

    Jennifer Amico, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Dr. Jennifer Amico provides outstanding, compassionate essential reproductive health care to some of our most vulnerable women in our community, while advocating for reproductive justice and training medical students, residents, and fellows to become future reproductive health leaders and advocates.  During the height of the COVID Pandemic, she traveled to Dallas to provide essential reproductive care at a clinical site where their other physicians were unable to travel to, and remained there for over two months to insure care continued uninterrupted, until travel restrictions were lifted and other physicians were able to relieve her.

    James Hill, PhD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School

    Dr. Hill has done tremendous work each say since the beginning of this in advocating for and attempting to bring hope, calm and inspiration to the entire NJMS community. This is through his words of wisdom and sharing of insight with a steady stream of emails– one of the few consistencies during a time of great flux– as well as videos to help us better care for ourselves and our mental health through these stressful times. His emails have been instrumental in teaching students how to cope in times of crisis, and I am grateful each day for his genuine commitment to us and unwavering dedication.

    Dr. Christina Gory, PGY III, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine

    Dr. Roman Mogilevsky, PGY I, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine

    As oral surgery residents at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, Roman Mogilevsky and Christina Gory never expected to be treating critically ill patients during a global pandemic. But when University Hospital faced a staff shortage during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, they were among a group of fellow residents who volunteered for shifts in the Emergency Department. Trained as surgeons, Gory and other residents from the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department are well qualified to care for hospital patients. They have worked in emergency situations when patients were admitted for facial trauma. But during 12-hour shifts at the hospital last month, they found themselves screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms, taking patient histories, drawing blood and comforting those who were critically ill and alone.

    Karma Warren, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School

    Dr. Warren, raised in Newark, has worked in University Hospital as an emergency department doctor for 15 years. She has always been committed to serving the needs of the communities we serve. As First Lady of the City of Orange she works with her husband on educating the community and recognize alarming signs of disease and when to seek help. She is a guest panelist on several community health webinars and is serving on the sub-committee for Health Equity in NJ chaired by our health commissioner Judith commissioner. 

    Ariana Lyons, MBS, Student, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School


    She helped to organize a moment of silence to show our support #WhiteCoatsforBlackLives for RBHS faculty and students. She is an amazing leader who collaborated with her fellow colleagues at SNMA to make this event happen during this emotionally charged time and allow for members and allies of the black community at RBHS to show our support. I’m really proud to call her a classmate and a friend. – Amanda Lee

    Damali Campbell Operaji, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New Jersey Medical School


    I feel so blessed to work at Rutgers, NJMS where every day we are doing the work to have people know their lives matter. It is a marathon not a sprint – so the struggle continues. 

    Jacqueline Sewell, Environmental Services, University Hospital

    Ms. Jackie is a well-known face at University Hospital. She has been a “silent and hidden hero” during the COVID 19 pandemic. She has tirelessly kept the emergency department functioning by keeping up with all the housekeeping tasks. She has come in to work day after day at the pandemic peak, always with a kind word for everyone, and a smile behind her mask. No task is too big for Ms Jackie and she is an important member of our health care team. We salute you.

    Gregg Khodorov, MD, MBA, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Gregg created the RWJMS COVID-19 Innovation Task Force to recruit medical students who were eager to help during this crisis. At the conclusion of a two-week design sprint, the task force proposed and presented solutions to challenges faced by RWJUH healthcare professionals.

    Rebecca Lee, MD, PGY VI, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Rebecca is one of our current Cardiac Anesthesiology fellows who completed her critical care fellowship last year. During this COVID pandemic, she jumped in headfirst and spent the last week rounding as the SICU West attending. Truly Amazing!

    Adam Fox, DPM, DO, Associate Professor, Surgery, New Jersey Medical School

    Dr. Fox is not only a trauma and critical care surgeon, but he also specializes in disaster relief. He has dedicated the last few weeks, day and night, to helping UH leadership organize our effort against COVID-19. Prior to the virus hitting the east coast, he also volunteered his time to ensure the safety of people abroad. As the virus was overtaking China and then later cruise ships, he was deployed to evacuate people and bring them back to the US safely. We are lucky to have his expertise put to use here at UH to help us during this trying time.

    Carolyn Suzuki, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, New Jersey Medical School

    Dr. Carolyn Suzuki has been stepping up in this time of need to support to our dedicated and heroic healthcare workers in Newark during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been coordinating the production and transfer of protective face shields and other PPEs for local hospitals and long-term health care hospitals and nursing homes in Newark, including UH, Columbus, New Community Extended Care, New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation, Sinai Post-Acute Nursing & Rehab, and other NJ locations. Along with her personal contributions, Carolyn has proactively identified facilities in need of PPE and helped to facilitate generous donations of injection-molded face shields produced by NJIT Makerspace, while rallying other basic research scientists and students to donate their time and efforts to provide for others who are vulnerable and at increased risk.

    Patricia Tordik, DMD, Professor, Endodontics, School of Dental Medicine

    Dr. Patricia Tordik, a faculty member at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, has done weekly volunteer stints in University Hospital’s “PPE canteen,” distributing PPE to doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 crisis. She has logged weekly six-hour shifts after a day of treating dental patients in RSDM clinics, which are now open on an emergency-only basis. Sometimes, just asking hospital staff how they’re holding up can be a morale booster, she says. “I try and chat with them to say thank you, and keep up the good work, and we’re all very appreciative. Sometimes they just want people to ask how they’re doing,” she says.

    Catherine Chen, MD, FACP, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Established student lead RWJ TeleHealth initiative. Directs 180 medical students M1-M4 in providing auxiliary services to facilitate virtual appointments to outpatient physicians during COVID-19 pandemic. With her direction and guidance, the program currently services 60+ physicians and has helped room over 1100 patients in a 3.5 week span. Program is still rapidly growing. She is dedicated to the education and wellbeing of medical students at RWJMS.

    Helen Kurczynski, Director of Chaplaincy Services, University Hospital

    Helen is the Director of Chaplaincy Services for University Hospital in Newark. As so many patients have been sick and physically isolated from their families, she has worked tirelessly to support our community in connecting to their loved ones, so that patients do not die alone. She travels from room to room of patients ill with COVID-19, and uses tablets to connect patients to their families remotely. She supports patients, families, and staff as we collectively face loss, grief, and fears of illness and death. Thank you for all that you do Helen.

    Ilya Ostrovsky, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School

    Ariel Sena, MD, Chief Resident in Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School

    A big challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the large volume of rapidly changing medical information related to the day to day clinical care of affected patients. Ariel and Ilya worked to review, create, and constantly update mini-videos distilling the most current, evidence-based and relevant information into tangible morsels for the emergency clinical providers at University Hospital. More remarkable is that they did this while completing many emergency department clinical shifts taking care of sick COVID 19 patients.

    Kyrillos Attaalla, MD, PGY1 Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School

    Joseph Rodriguez, Student, School of Health Professions

    Kyrillos and Joseph are helping to fight COVID-19 using 3D printers to make plastic face shields. Joseph has donated 400 to area hospitals, and to RBHS, which is collecting PPE for health professionals. In addition to modifying existing designs of face shields, Kyrillos has been working multiple clinical shifts in the Emergency Department.

    Claire Brown and Sarah Kelly, School of Public Health

    Claire Brown and Sarah Kelly, along with the Office of Practice, has been coordinating student volunteer efforts with the New Jersey Dept. of Health, numerous local health departments, and other public health entities meeting their need for volunteer support.

    Lisa Chaszar, Data Control Clerk, University Correctional Health Care

    Lisa has worked tirelessly and selflessly to ensure an uninterrupted supply of PPE finds it’s way into state prisons and juvenile correctional facilities. Despite national shortages, you can be sure Lisa will find a way to get whatever is needed.

    Bing Xia, Cancer Institute of New Jersey

    Professor Bing Xia initiated and led a group of Rutgers Professors of Chinese heritage and visiting scholars to make donations to RWJUH and St Peter’s university hospital to help the efforts to contain COVID 19 pandemic in New Jersey and to protect our healthcare heroes. To this day of April 6th, 2020, more than $12000 and 8000 pieces of PPE have been collected and donated mainly to RWJUH and some to St Peter’s university hospital. The effort led by Prof. Xia was reported in a story published on April 5th of New York Times “A group of Chinese-American professors at Rutgers University raised $12,000 and collected more than 4,000 masks to support a hospital in New Brunswick.”

    Catherine Morris, Student, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    As a part of the Social Needs Committee at the HIPHOP Promise Clinic, she designed and helped to implement a weekly grocery delivery program in partnership with Elijah’s Promise for the underserved and uninsured clinic patients unable to obtain food.

    Shari Bodofsky, Medical Student

    Shari created the RWJ Gardeners Exchange, a Facebook page where medical students can share photos of plants they’re growing. In addition, she is sewing masks for her classmates to wear while out in the community. She is a shining example of what it means to be a Scarlet Knight!

    Joseph Hanna, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Dr. Hanna provided the entire surgical intensivists at RWJUH & RWJ-S w/ n100 resp. masks ordered prior to the COVID crisis. He also used a personal home 3d printer to make clear face shield masks for several ICU, Anesthesia, & Obstetric colleagues.

    Sewing for Support: Finding Purpose During Social Distancing

    Encouraging the public to leave medical-grade face masks for front-line health care workers, Cara Staviski and Kaitlyn Parker (our community supporters) worked tirelessly to sew and donate face masks as a gesture of support. 

    – Katy Morello, Emergency Department Nursing, University Hospital, Newark. 

    Jesse Wolpert, University Behavioral Health Care

    During the unprecedented crisis resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, Jesse exceeded his role as a psychologist in a prison setting and personified a selfless dedication to his patients and team. His willingness and ability to multitask, problem-solve and mitigate crises was second to none.

    New Jersey Medical School COVID Team

    Matching students to meet healthcare worker needs at

    From left: New Jersey Medical School Students – Peter Alsharif, Archana Babu, David Elson, Scott Fabricant, Nashali Ferrara, Ashley Ooms, Anushka Sindkar, Annie Yang & St. John’s University student – Vladislav Mosheyev.