Three Individuals from Saint Peter’s University Hospital Awarded ‘Healthcare Heroes’ Recognition for 2024 by NJBIZ

June 20, 2024

Three Individuals from Saint Peter’s University Hospital Awarded  ‘Healthcare Heroes’ Recognition for 2024 by NJBIZ
Somerset, N.J. – June 20, 2024 – Long hours, high-stress environments, and the blend of both joyful and heartbreaking situations define the daily lives of healthcare professionals. On Tuesday, June 25 at The Palace at Somerset, one of New Jersey’s leading business publications, NJBIZ, will present its 2024 Health Care Heroes Awards with three of Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s professionals as recipients. The NJBIZ Health Care Heroes awards were created to recognize excellence, promote innovation, and honor the efforts of individuals and organizations making a significant impact on the quality of health care in New Jersey. 
The awards spotlight exceptional achievements across 11 categories with Saint Peter’s recognized as follows:

2024 Education Hero - Individual
Nayan Kothari, MD, MACP, FRCP (Edin)
Chief Academic Officer, Emeritus Chairman, and Program Director, Department of Medicine
Saint Peter’s University Hospital 

2024 Innovation Hero - Individual
Pamela Harmon, DNP, MSN, RNC-NIC
Director, Women and Children’s Division, Respiratory Care Department and The Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders; Administrative Director, Mary V. O’Shea Birth Center
Saint Peter’s University Hospital 

2024 Health Care Professional
Avril Keldo, DNP, MSN, ANP-BC, RN-BC, OCN
Director of Professional Practice and Clinical Education and Research, The Nayan K. Kothari MD Simulation Center for Interprofessional Learning and Medical Library, Saint Peter’s University Hospital 

Dr. Nayan K. Kothari, chief academic officer at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, is responsible for establishing the Simulation Center for Interprofessional Learning at Saint Peter’s. The Simulation Center provides hands-on training of complex procedures and newly introduced protocols to physicians and other healthcare providers in a supervised environment. The exercises involve working on mannequins, something that allows for elevated confidence and expertise in the event of a real-life emergency. Exercises in the Simulation Center and the Institute for Bedside Medicine help healthcare providers hone bedside medicine skills and allows for maintenance of medical certifications. The Simulation Center was recently dedicated as the Nayan K. Kothari MD Simulation Center for Interprofessional Learning in his honor.

Dr. Kothari is the first person outside of the United Kingdom to receive the Presidential Medal for Excellence in Medical Education from The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) and is a member of the board of The Society of Bedside Medicine, a global community dedicated to bedside teaching and improving physical examinations and diagnostic skills. He is also past Governor of the New Jersey Southern Region of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the national organization of internists and the largest medical specialty organization working to support the physician-patient relationship and the profession of internal medicine. Dr. Kothari has been a valued mentor to numerous medical students and to physicians in all stages of their careers.

“Establishing the Simulation Center for Interprofessional Learning at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, along with the Institute for Bedside Manner, has been a cornerstone of my commitment to advancing medical education. This hands-on training improves both the outcomes of patients and the training of healthcare providers and reaffirms the importance of innovative learning methods to achieve success in this field,” said Dr. Kothari.

Harmon is a self-directed visionary responsible for advancing maternal care at Saint Peter’s. Helping to launch the state’s first nationally accredited hospital-owned, midwifery-led Birth Center, she continues her work by mentoring other hospitals planning to open birth centers as a member of the National Board of Birth Centers. She is also a board member of The Council of Women’s and Infants’ Specialty Hospitals (CWISH), a collaborative of 14 maternity hospitals that promotes best practices, supporting programs and national policies for women’s and infants’ healthcare services. Harmon created “Face Time in the NICU,” connecting parents to their premature newborns in critical care via a secure livestream, and launched TeamBirth, an initiative giving pregnant women more control over their birth experience by improving communication with the birth team, resulting in better outcomes while decreasing the equity gap.

“By launching efforts like the midwifery-led Birth Center, 'Face Time in the NICU,' and TeamBirth, I strive to empower women, support families, and improve outcomes for women and their newborns. This recognition inspires me to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in maternal care,” said Harmon.

Keldo is committed to mentoring fellow nurses and an advocate for higher education in nursing. Keldo plays a pivotal role in doing so by delivering an optimum clinical experience in nurse recruitment and retention, promoting workshops focused on acute care skills, and advocating for hands-on training in the Simulation Center for Interprofessional Learning. Keldo is cognizant of the need for nurse mentors and is an advocate for the recruiting nurse mentors for new nurses transitioning to practice.

Well aware of daily stressors impacting nurses, she fostered the creation of departmental serenity spaces for nurses to recharge and reflect. To relieve staffing challenges, Keldo initiated the hospital’s Patient Care Technician Training Program, which provides hands-on patient-care training with a registered nurse to individuals without prior experience. She also spearheads the Nurse Residency Program.

“By promoting hands-on training and launching innovative programs, we can empower the next generation of nursing professionals, but just as important is offering a time and place to recharge from the challenging environment we are committed to traversing on a daily basis,” said Keldo.

About Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, is a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. Saint Peter’s, which received its sixth consecutive designation as a Magnet® hospital for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2020, is also state-designated children’s hospital and a regional perinatal center, and is a regional specialist in diabetes, gastroenterology, head and neck surgery, oncology, orthopedics, and women’s services. Saint Peter’s is the recipient of the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for the adult intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, cardiac progressive care unit and the pediatric intensive care unit. The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital provides families with access to a full range of pediatric specialties, including a nationally recognized Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, pediatric surgery and orthopedic surgery featuring innovative anterior scoliosis correction. The hospital has the state’s only hospital-based, midwifery-led birth center – the Mary V. O’Shea Birth Center, accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. Saint Peter’s is a sponsor of residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and internal medicine, and is a major clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Visit or call 732.745.8600.


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