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Huntington Health Presents Heart of Huntington Award

Huntington Health Presents Heart of Huntington Award
May 11 2022

Last month, Huntington Health held a ceremony to honor clinical and non-clinical team members with the hospital’s Heart of Huntington Award. Finalists were also recognized during the ceremony. Developed as a peer-to-peer recognition program for employees, this quarterly award honors individuals for providing compassionate care to patients and families and supporting their colleagues.

During the ceremony, Lori J. Morgan, MD, MBA, president and CEO, Huntington Health, presented Heart of Huntington Awards to pediatrician John Rodarte, MD, pediatrician, Huntington Health and Information Desk Greeter, Mamie Cox.

John Rodarte, MD receives the Heart of Huntington award
John Rodarte, MD receives the Heart of Huntington award

Dr. Rodarte received the clinical Heart of Huntington Award for his work inside and outside Huntington Health. In March 2022, he went on a mission to Ukraine. Working with nonprofits Exitus and Third Wave Volunteers, Dr. Rodarte joined volunteers from around the world to relocate a group of orphans with special needs. While his mission shifted to a humanitarian effort, he made a deep impact on the border, caring for families fleeing their country for safety.  

In addition to providing compassionate care as a pediatrician in our community, Dr. Rodarte participates in search and rescue missions with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department to save those who’ve been injured and/or stranded in remote areas of the San Gabriel Mountains.

“Dr. Rodarte embodies the spirit of excellence and the ‘whatever it takes’ approach that our caregivers are known for. We thank him for his bravery and dedicated stewardship, ensuring those in need of care receive it – no matter where they are,” said Dr. Morgan.

Mamie Cox receives the Heart of Huntington award
Mamie Cox receives the Heart of Huntington award

Mamie Cox received the non-clinical Heart of Huntington Award. One of the hospital’s most public-facing team members, Cox greets patients, families and visitors at Huntington’s information desk. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, her role took on a different level of difficulty due to visitor restrictions and the extreme emotions people were experiencing. Cox was tasked with delivering the devastating news that friends and family would not be allowed to visit their loved ones. Despite these challenges, day-in and day-out, Cox carried out her job with compassion and a friendly demeanor.

“She showed extreme empathy when she listened to and acknowledged the frustration of those unable to visit their parents, significant others, children and friends, while respectfully enforcing public safety restrictions,” Dr. Morgan explained. “Mamie’s ability to provide a comforting first impression is an asset to our hospital.” 

The ceremony also recognized finalists, Lizz Zakis, RN, MSN, and volunteer Sandy Harris.

Lizz Zakis, manager, critical care unit, was nominated by multiple team members who agreed that “there is virtually no task she won’t take on when the situation calls for it.” Zakis was honored for “leading by doing” with a positive attitude, collaborative approach and tireless dedication to serving patients.

Sandy Harris is known for the unique and thoughtful ways she supports caregivers and comforts patients. She was honored for putting “her whole heart” into her volunteer work at the hospital, from assisting with triage in the emergency department to welcoming visitors at the information desk.  She also crocheted hundreds of ear-savers for staff and blankets for patients in addition to supplying the Emergency Department with wheelchairs when she saw the need.

For more information about the Heart of Huntington Award, go to: