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Providence Healthcare
Providence Healthcare

Virtual awards ceremony celebrates a commitment to our values during an unprecedented time

February 1, 2021

By Anna Wassermann

In the year since Toronto’s first COVID-19 case was identified, staff and physicians at Providence have drawn upon our shared values to support our patients, residents, families and each other. On Jan. 28, our annual Providence Mission Day served as an opportunity to celebrate this commitment to our values of Community, Compassion, Excellence, Human Dignity and Inclusivity.

Providence Mission Day recognizes the hospital’s mission and values, which have evolved from the legacy of compassionate, quality care instilled in us by our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. The day culminates in the presentation of the Our Shared Values Awards, which honour a select group of staff, physicians and learners who exemplify a commitment to these values.

On Thursday, more than 100 people tuned into virtual awards ceremony co-hosted by Tim Rutledge, President and CEO of Unity Health, and Providence site leads Melissa Morey-Hollis, Vice President of Clinical Programs, and Dr. Ashley Verduyn, Chief and Director of Medical Affairs.

The ceremony brought our teams together in celebration and recognition, said Vanessa Nicholas-Schmidt, Manager of Mission and Values.

“Our staff and physicians continue to show up with courage, creativity and passion to care for our patients, residents, clients, families and each other,” said Nicholas-Schmidt, who organized the day’s festivities with Donna Romano, Manager of Mission and Values. “Though we can’t be together in person, the spirt of our Providence team remains as strong as ever.”

The ceremony included excerpts from each of the recipients’ nominations. Here are some of their stories.

210201-kestenberg-330-220.jpgJeff Kestenberg

Jeff Kestenberg


Winner of the Community Award for an individual or team that embraces diversity, trust, joy and teamwork to fulfill human potential

According to his nominee: “Jeff is everyone’s greatest cheerleader. He’s empathetic, reassuring and treats his patients as people first. He sees the good in everyone and helps his patients and colleagues achieve their full potential.

“When a patient was admitted to Providence requiring a hip replacement, Jeff’s approach with her was kind and compassionate. He listened, empathized with her fears and sadness and helped her build back her self-confidence. On the day of her discharge, she thanked Jeff for his belief in her and promised to come back one day with no gait aid.

“A few months later, the patient walked confidently into the hospital and let Jeff know that with his support, expertise and the time he took to connect with her, he transformed a difficult journey into one that was positive and life changing.”

210201-budhu-330-220.jpgSharmie Budhu

Sharmie Budhu

Manager of Environmental, Patient Food and Transport Services

Winner of the Compassion Award for an individual or team that enables health and healing by understanding each person’s needs and by providing care with kindness and sensitivity

According to her nominee: “When we think about the patient experience, we don't always think of Food Services. In 2017, when we received feedback that patients were hungry between meals, Sharmie increased access to healthy snacks. Since then, there hasn’t been any more feedback on hunger.

“Sharmie has a compassionate heart and feels deeply for others. When a resident from the Houses of Providence was distressed and tried to leave, Sharmie dropped everything to comfort him. She persuaded him to return to his room and accompanied him back when he needed assistance.

“It’s evident how much Sharmie values and appreciates her staff. She manages a large team and knows most of their stories. She works around their needs and finds time to connect even when she’s busy.”

210201-rodriguez-330-220.jpgAdolfo Vences Rodriguez

Adolfo Vences Rodriguez

Resident Care Operations Leader in the Houses of Providence

Winner of the Excellence Award, for an individual or team who strives to achieve the best care and quality through innovation and continuous improvement

According to his nominee: “Adolfo is one of the first people to respond when someone needs help. He’s proactive and embraces opportunity for professional development. Recently, he supported nurses in the Houses of Providence to earn their intravenous (IV) certification, decreasing the number of resident transfers to hospital for IV hydration and treatment.

“When a resident was admitted to the Houses of Providence with a Duodopa pump, a relatively new treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, Adolfo contacted the hospital’s Specialty Clinic and the manufacturer to put a process in place to avoid gaps in the resident’s treatment. He also created a guidance document and provided one-on-one training for the nurses.

“Adolfo is an excellent mentor and leads by example. He’s humble and honest, sticks to his word and lives by his values. He’s made a great impact on his colleagues and in the lives of our residents in the Houses of Providence.”