WAMMC has a long history of supporting quality nursing at Morristown Medical Center. Early on, the Association helped staff the hospital with nurses and assisted with their housing and uniforms. In 1957, this interest evolved into a formal Scholarship Program, funded entirely by private donations. At that time, one scholarship of $500 would pay tuition costs for the entire three-year program.
Since its inception, the Scholarship Program has supported the staff at Morristown Medical Center by awarding scholarships to qualified hospital employees involved indirect patient care and pursuing careers in the health care field.
As tuition costs rose and recipient financial needs increased, generous donations made annually by WAMMC members, continued to underwrite the program. However, the early 1990s brought an economic downturn, which slowed the brisk pace of donations to the Scholarship Program and necessitated a new approach to ensure the program's future.
A Scholarship Trust Fund was established in 1995, with all scholarship contributions directly benefiting the fund. Presently, the Scholarship Committee spends only the interest generated annually by the fund. In this way, the invested principal remains intact, securing both the fund’s future and the Scholarship Program's mission. Additional annual funds are supported by the operating budget of WAMMC.
Since 1995, the steady growth of the fund has allowed WAMMC to increase both the number of scholarships offered and the amount of funding awarded. For example, since 2007 WAMMC increased the amount awarded from $10,000 to $50,000 in 2020. WAMMC largely attributes the steady growth of this program to the hard work of successful fundraising and the generous donations of WAMMC members.
2021 Scholarship Profiles
Abbey Cocuzza, RN, BSN, who works on Gagnon One, has been with MMC since 2011. She is currently enrolled in the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program at Fairleigh Dickinson and expects to graduate in 2021. Passionate about heart disease and stroke prevention, Abbey is a member of both non-profit American Heart and American Stroke Associations, using resources they provide in the treatment of her patients and education of their families. Currently she is working at the COVID 19 Mega Vaccine Site as a vaccinator.
2020 was an extraordinary year for healthcare professionals and Abbey shined in her skills during the pandemic, says Amanda Horak, Abbey’s supervisor. Even when her unit was not a COVID unit, she would float to other COVID units. Abbey understands the virus and knows how to care for this patient population to obtain the best outcomes.
A Fit-Mask champion for all Gagnon staff, Abbey works to ensure employees are properly fitted for a mask, protecting them from communicable diseases. She has participated in the RN Professional Advancement Career Track Program (PACT) over the past seven years, achieving the highest merit award, Level 4 last year, and level 3 all other years. A member of the hospital-wide Wound Care Committee for the past seven years, Abbey serves her unit as Wound Care Champion.
Abbey is frequently recognized for going “above and beyond” by her peers, patients, and families. She won the 2018 Ben Lobel Nurse of the Year Award and was also nominated by a patient’s family for the American Nurses Association Nurse of the Year Award. She received the Pride in Action award in March 2020. She is held in the highest regard by senior staff and strongly recommended to progress to Nurse Practitioner. The Women’s Association is proud to support Abbey in her final semester of her education.
WAMMC AWARDS 21 SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2021
Each year WAMMC Scholarships are awarded to outstanding Morristown Medical Center employees to help further their continued education, development and leadership skills in the hospital and healthcare field. In 2021 our Scholarship Awards Committee awarded $40,000 in scholarships to a total of 20 employees. In addition, our Cromwell Twig awarded a scholarship for a total of 21 employees receiving scholarship support.
We are grateful to all of our donors for their generous contributions to this program, enabling us to continue our Scholarship Program to assist hospital employees in attaining their advanced healthcare-related educations, which is critical to providing expert care for our patients.
Congratulations to all of the WAMMC 2021 Scholarship Awards Program recipients listed below.
Abbey Cocuzza, Registered Nurse, Gagnon 1
Melissa Csakvary, Assistant Nurse Manager, Kahn 5
Brittney Daley, Nurse Manager, Kahn 5/Gagnon 3
Samantha DeMaio, Registered Nurse, Gagnon 1
Danielle Demkovitz, Registered Nurse, Gagnon A/CCU
Lisa Edwards, Registered Nurse, Gagnon A
Eileen Hassa, Registered Nurse, Emergency Department
Antonietta Henry, Surgical Access Unit Educator, Simon D
Ashley Herring, Unit Associate, Simon 3
Melissa Kimble, Registered Nurse, Kahn 1
Lauren Larkin, Nurse Educator, Wound Healing Center
Ashley Mariconda, Nurse Educator, PICU
Samantha Marr, Registered Nurse, SICU/MICU
Morsal Mohammadi, Registered Nurse, Emergency Department
Maureen Morstatt, Registered Nurse, Gagnon A
Rosa Neves-Marques, Registered Nurse, Davino 1
Kayla Paul, Registered Nurse, Gagnon 5
Lauren Pizzone, Registered Nurse, Emergency Department
Marilynn Robayo, Nurse Educator, Women's Cancer Center
Jennifer Rowe, Registered Nurse, Gagnon D
Michelle Sabella, Registered Pharmacist, MMC Pharmacy and Rockaway Infusion Pharmacy
What are we looking for? The committee is in search of MMC employees with a proven employment record. Candidates typically possess high-ranking employee evaluations and are often described as, "Among the best in the department.” The candidates are often leaders in their field as members of honorary societies, as hospital committee chairs, or as participants in department studies. It is not unusual for our scholars to be as actively engaged in their local community, as they are in the workplace.
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