Recognizing Outstanding Service in Nursing at MSK: Second Annual Robbins Family Awards


During a virtual awards ceremony today, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and the Robbins Family Foundation recognized eight distinguished MSK staff members and one team for their exemplary service. Each member was honored with the 2021 Robbins Family Award for Nursing Excellence. The virtual awards ceremony took place today, Monday, May 12, at ET, to commemorate National Nurses Week (May 6–12).

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2021 Robbins Family Foundation Awards

MSK held the 2nd Annual Robbins Family Foundation Awards May 12, 2021.
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For the second consecutive year, the Robbins Family Foundation has sponsored these awards to honor extraordinary achievements by MSK nurses and their contributions to MSK’s mission. The award winners are nominated by fellow nurses, administrators, and physicians.

“Once again, we are so honored to have Clifton S. Robbins, a member of MSK’s Board of Trustees, and his family graciously give their support to our annual Excellence in Nursing Award program. This has been a very special week for our nursing staff who truly have gone above and beyond for our patients over the past year,” said Elizabeth McCormick, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of MSK. “We are appreciative to the Robbins Family Foundation for their generous support and leadership. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the over 5,000 nurses who have continuously given extraordinary care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. MSK nurses continue to showcase the vital and powerful role nurses play in our patients’ lives every day. They stay committed to our mission of providing safe and exceptional care.”

“Memorial Sloan Kettering nurses play an indispensable role in giving the finest care to their patients. This dedication never wavers, even during the most challenging times,” said Clifton S. Robbins. “The Robbins Family Foundation is proud to support this recognition program and honor these exceptional nurses.”

MSK’s nursing leadership has been committed to empowering nurses for decades, emphasizing the importance of engagement with their work and giving them an abundance of autonomy. In November 2020, for the second time, MSK received Magnet Recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Bestowed every four years, it’s the highest national honor for nursing, given to only about 8 percent of hospitals nationwide. The ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes healthcare organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. In the 2020 designation, the ANCC cited 12 exemplars — specific examples that highlight excellence in nursing — well beyond the impressive seven that MSK received in 2016. “MSK is the epitome of a learning organization,” said the ANCC in its report, highlighting the many programs that help nurses develop professionally.

2021 Robbins Family Award for Nursing Excellence honorees:

Excellence in Patient Experience
Tamara Strah, DNP, RN, CNOR

Perioperative Nurse Liaison
Josie Robertson Surgical Center

Excellence in Advancing the Nursing Profession
Debra O’Shea, MSN, RN, AOCNS®, EBP-C

Clinical Nurse Specialist
Outpatient Leukemia Service

Excellence in Innovation
Jericho Garcia, MSN, RN-BC

Nursing Informatics Specialist
Nursing Informatics

Excellence in Mentorship
Nancy M. Borzain, MA, RN, OCN, NE-BC

Clinical Supervisor

Excellence in Nursing Partnership
Julio Eugenio

Environmental Service Porter

Excellence in Clinical Nursing Leadership
Melody Rosamilia, MSN, RN, OCN

Clinical Nurse IV

Excellence in Nursing Support
Venessa Rubano

Patient Care Technician

Excellence in Humanitarian Efforts
Tracey O’Keeffe Ramponi, BSN, RN, CCRN

Clinical Nurse III
Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

Excellence in Collaboration
Rapid Technology Innovation in Response to COVID-19

You ‘Jay’ Chung, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN-K, Sr. Program Manager
Hector DeJesus, Technical Project Manager
Melissa Zimmermann, MS, BSN, RN-BC, Nursing Informatics Specialist
Tham Nguyen, MSN, RN-BC, Nursing Informatics Specialist
Dave Vang, MSN, RN, Nursing Clinical Analyst
Eric Froehlich, MS, BSN, RN-BC, Nursing Clinical Analyst
Tania Bubb, PhD, RN, Director, Infection Control
Ashley Jackson, Biomed Manager
Jennifer Larbi, Engineering Specialist II
Vyacheslav Belovsky, Engineering Specialist III
Sergey Kovalev, Engineering Specialist III
Jeff Francisquini, Senior Manager, Information Systems
Joyce Burkett, IT Team Lead, Information Systems
Thomas Cheng, Senior Application Analyst, Information Systems
Michelle Rausen, Resp. Technical Director
Michelle Cavuoto, MA, RN, OCN, CNIV, Memorial 18
Andrew Graham, DNP, RN, PCCN-K, Nurse Leader, Memorial 18
Yekaterina “Kate” Tayban, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, GNP-BC, Critical Care
Jay Isbell, MD, Assistant Attending, Thoracic Surgery