Shore Medical Center Honors Employees During Hospital Week

May 21, 2021

Every year Shore Medical Center celebrates National Hospital Week with a series of events and recognition for staff. Although COVID restrictions prevented Shore from hosting its cherished Employee Awards Dinner, staff were honored throughout the week of May 10 at both scheduled and surprise award presentations. 

In addition to employee milestone awards, which celebrated employees who have worked for Shore from five to 50 years, the following annual awards were presented: 

Physician of the Year - Dr. Dara Lankaranian, Director of Shore’s Hospitalist Program– Dr. Dara Lankaranian, of Haddonfield, NJ, has been a member of Shore’s Hospitalist team since it was founded in 2013, and in 2017 he became Director of the program. According to his colleagues, he leads by example. “We work 12-hour shifts for seven days straight. During the pandemic, Dr. Lankaranian often picked up additional shifts sometimes working 16 and even 24 hours straight.  As a father of two school age children, it was a personal sacrifice and challenge to take on, but he never wavered because he wanted to be here for his patients and staff,” said Dr. Amit Ray, Assistant Director of Shore’s Hospitalist program. “He would never expect any member of the staff to do something that he would not step up to do first.” 

Shore Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeanne Rowe said Dr. Lankaranian has had a life-long passion for patient care. His leadership is welcomed by his colleagues and he provides a “gentle giant” approach in all he does. He leads with a calm demeanor, is approachable and provides the right measure of encouragement and constructive feedback when dealing with any elevated concerns. Dr. Rowe said, “The growth and cohesiveness of the hospitalist team is a reflection of Dara’s presence and leadership. His leadership has been a steady rudder during this near 20 months of COVID-19 impact.”

2021 Chairman’s Award – Clinical:  Michele McDaniel, Senior Laboratory Assistant – A member of the Shore team since 2004, Senior Laboratory Assistant Michele McDaniel, of Egg Harbor Township, has proven again and again her passion for providing exceptional patient care. “She is very patient and kind with her patients, speaking softly and reassuringly that they will be fine,” said Director of Laboratory Services Kathy Thompson, McDaniel’s supervisor. “Michele is especially good with children that need blood work. She shares that same patience and kindness with her coworkers, stepping in to help if someone is unfamiliar with a procedure. She trains new employees and has created a manual of very specialized send-out tests that need to be researched.” Thompson added, “It is truly and honor to work beside Michele. Her dedication and passion to serve our patient’s testing needs is always inspiring and the award is well-deserved.”

Caregiver of the Year: Tricia Brereton-Moore, MSHE, MSN, Clinical Educator, Maternal Child Health - A clinical educator with a focus on Maternal Child Health (MCH), Tricia Brereton-Moore, of Galloway Township, NJ, is responsible for educating the MCH and Nursery staff as well as training new RNs and scrub technicians for the OB department. Tricia is the ultimate role model, according to Deb Cisneros, and rises to any challenge that is presented to her in her multi-faceted job responsibilities.  Tricia truly cares about the quality of patient care.

Nicole DeCicco, MCH nurse manager said, “When thinking of the ‘best’ nurse many of us think of Tricia; her knowledge, dedication, strength, and care are just some of qualities that make her such a great caregiver.  The way she treats patients and families as well as all the staff is something astonishing to watch. She is the true definition of a nurse.” 

Chairman’s Non-Clinical Award - Jeff Kleuskens, Lead HVAC Mechanic – Jeff Kleuskens, of Egg Harbor Township, received the Chairman’s Non-Clinical Award from Shore Medical Center. A member of the SMC staff since 1990 when he came on board as an HVAC mechanic, Kleuskens has spent more than three decades working with the hospital HVAC system. According to Bob Robertson, Administrative Director of Logistics and Finance, “Jeff bleeds Shore purple. He is a perfectionist. He cares about his job and about how it relates to the staff and to patients. He is so knowledgeable and appears to have just endless energy.” Brad Foltz, Director of Plant Operations said, “Jeff works very closely with so many departments including the IT department and the OR. He takes the lead on projects without having to be asked. He really is an asset to the SMC team.” 

DiOrio Award - Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Kenwood, MSN, RN - The DiOrio Award is named after Joe DiOrio, who served on Shore’s Board of Trustees for more than 50 years and took great pride in the hospital. He had tremendous respect for the employees who dedicated their lives to caring for Shore’s patients. Each year, the DiOrio Award is presented to a member of the Shore team who exemplifies the same passion for the hospital and its staff, and this year that award was presented to Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer Linda Kenwood, MSN, RN, of Somers Point. 

Kenwood has earned the respect of the entire staff at Shore and is always accessible to hear concerns and answer the difficult questions. People know that she can be tough, but fair, and they respect her clinical expertise and experience as both a nurse herself and a hospital administrator. Kenwood is an extremely visible leader, connecting constantly.  Whether it is 4 am or 4pm, or at all hours in between, Kenwood is on the floors, engaging with staff.

Kenwood has worked closely with other members of the senior leadership team and is a true partner to all who are fortunate to serve with her. Throughout the pandemic, she was the calm in the center of the storm. She was adamant about supporting the initiative to separate the Emergency Department into respiratory and non-respiratory treatment areas and worked closely with Plant Operations to make sure the hospital had the additional negative pressure rooms in an incredibly short period of time. She also worked with Dr. Jeanne Rowe and Fred Banner, Chief Information Officer, on maximizing ICU capabilities into the Telemetry unit. Shore CEO, Ron Johnson said, “Like Joe DiOrio, Linda Kenwood served our hospital well and she, like Joe, will leave a legacy of leadership, compassion, good humor, and an unwavering commitment to our patients and community.” Kenwood is set to retire from Shore Medical Center at the end of the year.