Lee Suszycki was the founder and first president of our Society. She was passionate about many things, including education, writing, publication, social work and transplantation. The Society for Transplant Social Workers is a direct outgrowth of her vision for social workers practicing in transplantation.
Judy Midelfort was a founding member of the Society, one of the first to publish on psychosocial issues in transplantation and a strong supporter of professional growth and education. In honor of both Lee and Judy and their dedication to our Society, two memorial awards have been established.
These are presented at each annual conference to two members of the Society who have made significant contributions to the field of social work in transplantation. Contributions include, but are not limited to, publishing, public speaking, research projects or developing new tools or programs. Nominations should be forwarded to the President and should include a brief statement describing the nominee’s contributions to the field.
Recent Award Winners
2021 Award Winners
Katie Newton, MSW LICSW CCTSW - Suszycki Award
Katie Newton is a kidney and living donor social worker (adult population) at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield MA. She has been a member of STSW since 2018. She has been helping on the conference planning committee since 2019 and has served as our Membership Chair since 2020.
Katie has been instrumental in building and implementing STSW’s new website on Wild Apricot, which has greatly streamlined the work that the Board does behind the scenes, and made Forum communication, Conference registration, payments, and general user ability much more friendly and accessible. Her knowledge, positive "can do" attitude, enthusiasm, patience, helpfulness, and kindness made working with her throughout this process easy and a joy. When we faced a “conference crisis” during Covid in 2020, she took the lead in identifying an AV company and managing many of the tasks involved in developing a conference webpage. Her ability to collaborate and problem-solve was evident and appreciated by the entire committee.
At home in Massachusetts, she created a process with a local mental health/substance abuse provider to help patients meet the substance abuse goals established for them to meet transplant listing requirements. This process has increased the numbers of patients getting listed and transplanted. Katie presented a poster on this topic at the 2021 STSW Virtual Conference. An STSW colleague says of Katie, “Katie appears to approach her work with the same energy, professionalism and innovative spirit as she does her work with STSW.” STSW has proudly awarded her this award.
Rebecca Bathon, MSW LCSW CCTSW- Midelfort Award
Rebecca joined STSW two years ago and has been the lung transplant social worker at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis Missouri for more than 20 years. In this time she has modeled how to develop credibility within their interdisciplinary teams, has been dedicated to advocating for transplant-specific social work education/training within their department, and has continued to show her team and colleagues what it means to go above and beyond to take care of patients in compassionate and innovative ways.
Rebecca is passionate about education, and she demonstrates that by acting as a field instructor for MSW students, providing supervision for colleagues pursing their LCSW and mentoring for THE ALLIANCE for many years. Since joining STSW she has worked with the 2020 conference committee, been a member of the STSW Lung Committee, and presented at the September Lung Committee meeting. She is a wonderfully collaborative team member at her hospital. To this point, a colleague notes that she impacts her colleagues in deep and meaningful ways, assisting them with national presentations and projects, and always willing to consult on difficult cases, offering gentle guidance while also pushing them to think outside of the box. STSW is so pleased to be able to honor Rebecca with this award.
2020 Award Winners
2019 Award Winners
Colleen Satarino LMSW, CCTSW - Suszycki Award
Colleen Satarino was awarded the Lee Suszycki Award at the 2019 STSW Conference in Denver, CO. Colleen has been a transplant social worker for over a decade and a CCTSW since 2013. She is a strong clinician and leader with an interest in research and program development. She has presented on transplant-related issues to several organizations, including at STSW and the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Conference. A kidney/pancreas transplant social worker, she has done dialysis outreach, providing transplant education to clinic staff and strengthening relationships with dialysis social workers. She has done outstanding work over the past two years as co-chair of our research committee, reviewing research proposals and vetting surveys to be sure they are meaningful and worthy of our time. She has bee has been part of the Michigan Medicine Transplant Team for 14 years. Colleen, thanks for your service and your strong commitment to advancing our field in the world of research. We are excited to see what you will continue to bring in the future.
Nancy Edgington LCSW, CCTSW - Midelfort Award
Nancy Edgington was awarded the Judy Midelfort Award at the 2019 STSW Conference in Denver. Nancy has been a member of the STSW since 2004. She was in the first class of CCTSWs, and continues to hold that credential. She has helped organize a national conference, which anyone on the Denver committee can tell you is a ton of work! She joined the Board in her current capacity in 2016. She always has a smile on her face and an open attitude when tackling the task of keeping our largest group updated on what is important in the field of transplantation. She is our Kidney/Pancreas Board Member at Large and works at Yale New Haven Hospital. The winner of the 2019 Judy Midelfort award is Nancy Edgington. Nancy, we appreciate the work you have done over the past three years and look forward to your guidance and support in the coming years.
2018 Award Winners
Tony Lee - Suszycki Award
The 2018 Lee Suszycki Award went to Tony Lee. Tony is a transplant social worker for Tufts Medical Center and has worked with patients with VAD, heart, kidney, and pediatric kidney transplants. Tony has been a leader in the field since he was hired to be transplant social worker. He was on the conference committee for the 2014 STSW conference in Boston. Tony stepped in to lead the Membership Committee for STSW as soon as he was nominated. With his exceptional organizational skills, he has developed processes to connect to each member individually and coordinated the transition of new members to mentorship. Membership has grown by more than 25% in his two years of leadership. Tony has shared his creativity, developed communication and coordinated a liaison role between tech and membership to help quickly resolve activation issues. The Society of Transplant Social Workers’ foundation has been strengthened through Tony’s powerful work.
Jenifer Espinoza, LMSW MPA - Midelfort Award
Jenifer Espinoza, LMSW, MPA was awarded the Judy Midelfort Award at the 2018 conference in Oklahoma City. Jenifer received her master’s degree 6 years ago. She has worked at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for the last 4 ½ years and she is also a supervisor in her department. Jenifer was the site chair for the 2017 STSW conference that was held in Scottsdale. It was an excellent conference and Jenifer displayed strong leadership skills as she led the planning activities. Later that year, Jenifer became the Treasurer for STSW, a very time-consuming executive board position and one with great responsibilities. Jenifer has made some helpful changes since she began her role in this position. She collaborates with other team board members and she also offered guidance to the 2018 conference planning committee. Jenifer has helped with the development and workings of the STSW website and she has provided assistance to our technology team. She displays a commitment to STSW, and she has been willing to take on tasks for the betterment of our Society. Congratulations, Jenifer!
2017 Award Winners
Gracie Moore Greene, Suszycki Award
Gracie Moore Greene, DrPH, LCSW-C, CCTSW is a retired Clinical Team Leader for Transplant Social Work. She currently provides part time clinical intervention for Independent Dialysis Foundation and is a Transplant/Medical Facility Surveyor for Healthcare Management Solutions, LLC. Gracie has been a social work clinician and health care manager for more than 40 years. She has developed and implemented clinical social work programs to improve service quality in community and hospital settings with a focus on psychosocial and environmental factors that impact health. Gracie also developed, implemented and published an evidence-based practice initiative to standardize the psychosocial evaluation process for kidney, heart / VAD, lung, and liver transplant recipients. She is currently engaged in a multicenter pilot research study partially sponsored by the STSW that examines the use of Symptom Targeted Intervention to Improve Psychosocial Outcomes of Solid Organ Transplant Patients.
Pat Dennis, Midelfort Award
Pat Dennis is an LCSW, CCTSW and CCSW-MCS. She has been a social worker since 2001 and prior to that was a college and university Controller. She has worked in transplant since 2013 and has been a STSW member since 2014. She played a role in the creation of the social work portion of the new Cardiac Transplant & VAD program at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, FL.
Lee Syszycki Award Winners2021