Lee Suszycki and Judy Midelfort Memorial Awards

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

2023 Award Winners

Beth Piotrowicz - Suszycki Award 

Beth has served for many years as a member of our conference planning committee. She was our first national program chair, and she developed this position. She worked for a number of years by herself in this complicated process — call for abstracts, review of abstracts, CEU submission to NASW, complying required information — planning the program and problem solving many issues that arise when one is working with multiple presenters. Beth effected many improvements, resulting in a more efficient process. She is ending years of working in this position, a position which has required non-stop work twelve months of the year. Beth is a credentialed transplant social worker at Cleveland Clinic. After working with adults, she made a career change in 2020 –moving to children’s programs, and also changing the organ group she works with. She has been a conference presenter and has been an active participant of the Cleveland Clinic Enterprise Initiative of pediatric to adult age transition, “On My Way”. She displays energy, a positive attitude, a great sense of humor, an openness to work with colleagues, and a commitment that serves her patients and the Society with skill and heart.

Kathy Daley  - Suszycki Award 

Kathy is a credentialed social worker at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has been a member of our conference planning committee as well as a co-chair of the program committee since 2015. In this role she, along with the conference planning groups, meets 12 months of the year. There are many steps to planning the program and Kathy’s work is integral in shaping these pieces into a well-rounded conference program. During the time Kathy has served on this board position many changes have occurred. She has helped streamline the process, which has led to a more thorough review of the abstracts and improved the quality of presentations at our conference. While Kathy was involved in this work, she also made a major career change – continuing in transplant but changing from adult to a pediatric program and changing organ groups – a challenge that she wanted to take for her professional and personal growth. Kathy has presented at a number of our conferences and her presentations have been thought-provoking and well received. Kathy is always willing to step in and help and brings a sense of humor and fun to everything she does. 

Emily Walz - Midelfort Award

Emily serves as a transplant social worker at UPMC in Pittsburgh, as well as the Outreach Coordinator for the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC).  Emily’s passion for living donation and advocacy led her to spearhead an “NLDAC Process” that resulted in every potential living donor candidate being screened for NLDAC assistance, and for those who are eligible, helping those donors apply as part of their living donor work-up. Since implementing this process applications have doubled, and in 2022, $285,937 in assistance was provided to living donors. The system has also proved to be sustainable and replicable. So far in 2023, over 101 applications have been submitted! Emily now trains other transplant centers on the UPMC NLDAC Process, which will result in other centers offering this assistance in a more organized way to all their eligible donors. Emily exemplifies excellence in transplant care, both to her patients and her transplant center. In 2020, Emily saw the need for a dedicated position to care for the living donors at UPMC, and began advocating for a dedicated living donor social work position. She researched, advocated, and developed a plan that was implemented. The position was approved and continues today. Emily continues this important work by actively serving on the STSW Living Donor committee. She treats every person with the utmost kindness, compassion and respect. 

2022 Award Winners

Kristin Malaer - Suszycki Award

Kristin has been a transplant social worker for 7+ years.  She has worked in Heart and Lung Transplant and MCS.  Her forte is MCS social work for which she has become a national leader.  Kristin is described as a strong clinician who is skilled in all aspects of social work and a strong advocate for her patients and their families. Kristin is the lead social worker for the transplant education program at the Memorial Hermann TMC Heart and Lung Transplant Center. Kristin has been instrumental in organizing and facilitating both live as well as on-line transplant classes.  She has worked diligently with the Memorial Hermann Marketing and Education Teams to update and re-film the current classes.

Kristin joined the STSW Board Member as the MCS Chair in 2019. She has brought energy to the MCS Committee that has resulted in an increase in participation and a vitality. Kristin has presented at our conference multiple times and spearheaded the efforts for members to obtain transplant-specific contact hours when participating in MCS Committee meetings

Additionally, Kristin is a strong supporter of professional growth and education for our MCS social work colleagues through her leadership as the MCS Committee Chair.  Kristin is a passionate social worker who has been a leader in our Heart Transplant and MCS Program, and in the national/International arena through her work with STSW, Abbott, and ICCAC.  Kristin is a respected member of the Heart Transplant and MCS Team.  Her expertise and advice is sought by not only our Team but also by MCS social workers across the country. Kristin is representative of all that is excellent in the field of transplant and MCS social work.  Her work locally and nationally has advanced the role of the MCS social worker and STSW.