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WSCHS Case Manager Honored with American Cancer Society Award (Feb. 16th, 2010)

Congratulations Julissa Rios, Breast and Cervical Cancer Program Case Manager/Outreach Worker at La Clinica, on being named a 2010 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award Recipient.

The American Cancer Society presents the Lane Adams Quality of Life Award to recognize individuals who have made a difference through innovation, leadership, and consistent excellence in providing compassionate, skilled care, and counsel to persons living with cancer and their families. In 1985, the ACS received a very generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Armin Willig in honor of Lane W. Adams, the former executive vice president of the Society. Mr. Adams, who had a lasting memory of the comfort and care given during times of serious illness, used these funds to provide special recognition to nurses who provided extraordinary and compassionate care to their patients. This special recognition became known as the Lane W. Adams Award, now appropriately named the Lane Adams Quality of Life Award. The award recognizes those “unsung heroes” of cancer care who provide what Lane W. Adams himself affectionately referred to as the “warm hand of service.”

Julissa has worked at West Side since 2000 as a Case Manager/Outreach Worker in La Clinica’s Breast Health Program. In her work at La Clinica, Julissa is a leader of La Nueva Esperanza – believed to be the only support group in Minnesota run by Latina women for other Latina women — and works closely with the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Sage Screening Program. The following is an excerpt from the letter nominating Julissa, submitted by a colleague at MDH:

“Julissa’s tireless dedication to educate, inform, advocate and navigate Spanish-speaking women to receive breast and cervical screening and diagnostic services are admirable. Compassionate champion, thoughtful colleague, community resource, she is this and more. Recognizing that Spanish-speaking women diagnosed with cancer had complex and multi-factorial issues facing them, she led the charge to establish a support group for women from the Hispanic community diagnosed with cancer. … A specific resource may be needed, or a hug, Ms. Rios is there, steadfast, never failing, a constant and abiding presence in a woman’s journey through cancer. I have frequently observed her gentle care of a woman devastated emotionally, physically, financially, and she reaches out to surround with that woman with a loving mantle of kindness, concern, information and hope. Hope is an intrinsic component of who Ms. Rios is and she helps women find and define what they hope for, even when the prognosis is guarded. It may be hope to attend that family wedding, or hope to be pain free. Ms. Rios knows the importance of hope in the face of an overwhelming diagnosis, and offers it freely in the support group. She is their guide, their interpreter of often incomprehensible medical jargon, their advocate and strength.”

“Ms. Rios’s reputation across the community is sterling, and she has also played an important role in educating surgeons and medical providers when consulting with a Spanish woman with a new diagnosis. Surgeons and oncologists are aware that a support group is available, and she receives requests to invite a woman to participate from far beyond her local community. Surely, this opportunity to enlighten providers in a more culturally appropriate way of delivering a diagnosis of cancer to a woman may benefit Hispanic women in the future facing a similar diagnosis.”

Congratulations, Julissa!

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