Author Profiles

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Stav Birnbaum

Stav Birnbaum is the voice behind VNSNY’s social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter and her hidden talent is taking photos of all our food recipes. As our roving reporter, Stav is going to get out of the office and follow nurses, physical therapists, and other staff on their rounds to give you an inside look at the care our dedicated staff provides.

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Vince Corso, M.Div, LCSW, CT

Manager of Hospice Psychosocial Services

Vince Corso, M.Div., LCSW, CT is Manager of Psychosocial Services for VNSNY’s Hospice Care Program. In this role, he provides clinical supervision to social workers, spiritual care and bereavement staff and offers bereavement support. He began hospice work in 1995 and has been with VNSNY Hospice for almost 12 years. Vince is a frequent guest lecturer on end-of-life care and has been featured on national television as an expert on public grief, appearing on MSNBC during the mourning period for Pope John Paul II. Prior to beginning his work in hospice, Vince spent more than 20 years as a Franciscan Friar in the Roman Catholic Church and a celibate priest for 10 years. He transitioned to married life in 1991. He lives with his wife and two children in North Jersey.

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Amy Dixon, BSN, RN

After Hours Supervisor, Customer Care Center

Amy Dixon, BSN, RN, HNB-BC is a graduate of Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. She has over fifteen years of experience in various nursing specialities: Cardiac Critical Care, Hospice, Home Care, and Telehealth Nursing. She works as an Afterhours Supervisor in the Customer Care Center at VNSNY, where she is proud to be helping patients and family members after normal business hours with her cohesive team of customer service representatives and fellow nurses. Amy is a member of The American Holistic Nurses Association and The American Nurses Association. She is currently obtaining her Master's Degree. She also has her certification as a Holistic Nurse and enjoys storytelling and writing. (author profile photography by Emily Bryan)

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Lisa Heller-Salmon

Lisa Heller-Salmon, R.N. BSN is the Regional Clinical Manager for VNSNY'S Long Term Home Health Care Program in Brooklyn where our goal is to help keep people at home safely where they are comfortable and happy. She is a proud graduate of The City University of New York, Queensborough Community College and Hunter College. Lisa started a Masters program in Public Health at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, but has taken a hiatus from school to have her daughter. She is plans to pick up her studies soon. Working in home care since 1998 in a variety of roles including field nurse she brings that perspective to her team that services over 1,000 people in their homes in Brooklyn. "It is a true honor to be invited into peoples' homes and experience their lives with them through our work with VNSNY." Lisa lives in Queens with her husband, daughter Madeline, and cat.

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Jeffrey Jue, PT

Rehabilitation Consultant

Jeffrey Jue, PT, MS, is a graduate of Boston University who has spent his entire career devoted to empowering the elderly to reach their physical potential. He invested the first 5 years of his career at Elmhurst Hospital Center and enjoyed providing care to a culturally diverse senior population. In early 2009, Jeffrey joined VNSNY CHOICE and has utilized his early career experiences to provide home health care to the residents of Queens, New York.

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Margery Kirsch, MS, RN, CDE, BC-ADM

Clinical Nurse Specialist and Diabetes Educator

Margery Kirsch, MS, RN, CDE, BC-ADM, has been a VNSNY Diabetes Clinical Specialist for 10 years. Before that, she worked as an inpatient and outpatient diabetes educator for a community hospital. She is a past president of a local chapter of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and has a Masters Degree in Adult Health Nursing and in education. Margery was a teacher before she became a nurse and she continues to teach as an adjunct instructor in the School of Nursing at the College of New Rochelle.

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Sandra McTernan, MSN

Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

Sandra Eger McTernan is the Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Sandra’s role within the Maternal Newborn Pediatrics Program at VNSNY is of clinical expertise, education, development, and consultation to staff and the community on Pediatrics and chronic disease. She developed the Pediatric Asthma Program at VNSNY and High Risk Infant Program. She has worked with the Open Airways Program, Mothers of Asthmatics and Defeat Autism Now (DAN). She coordinated and presented for the DOH School Nurse training for five years on topics related to Common Illness in Children, Attention Deficit Disorder and Asthma, among other topics. Sandra received her AAS in Nursing from Columbia Memorial SON and her BA from SUNY at Buffalo. She received her MSN from Yale University SON and is an adjunct professor for the SON. She received a Post-Graduate Certificate from Hunter College as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is a certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a member of NAPNAP. She is also an adjunct professor for Hunter College SON. She is BCLS certified and holds Nursing licenses in NY and NJ.

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Judy Santamaria, MSPH

Judy Santamaria, MSPH, is an expert in family caregiving and a consultant to the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Martha Schueneman

For more than twenty years, Martha Schueneman has been editing cookbooks and healthy, nutrition-conscious recipes. She has written two books (The Calorie, Carbohydrate, and Cholesterol Directory and Eat Out, Eat Smart), and has contributed to the Culinary Institute of America’s Techniques of Healthy Cooking, 3rd Edition. Martha has also written and contributed to best-selling books, including several produced by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., and Weight Watchers Publishing Group.

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Abby R. Spilka

Hospice Volunteer

Abby Spilka has been a VNSNY hospice volunteer since 2006, and was named 2009's Volunteer of the Year. She frequently speaks to new volunteers, emphasizing the spiritual connection that comes from hospice work and offering insight into the intimate discussions her patients have had with her. Abby marvels at the extraordinary people she has met through hospice and considers it an honor to do this sacred work with them. For the past 12 years, she has been the Director of Communications at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, directing the public relations, marketing, graphic design, and social media strategy for the Museum.

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Debbie Stricoff

Dir., Adult Day Care Services

Deborah J. Stricoff is currently the Director of Adult Day Care Services for the VNS CHOICE Adult Day Center. She has over 23 years of experience working with the geriatric population in the health care industry. Prior to joining VNS CHOICE in 1997, Ms. Stricoff was Manager of the Ambassador Manor Assisted Living Center. Previously, she held two positions with the Community Mental Health Services Division of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. In addition, she was the Director of Training and Development for Aging Information Services. Ms. Stricoff received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Clark University, a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, a Geriatric Scholar Certificate from the Consortium of New York Geriatric Education Centers and has completed graduate coursework at the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology.

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Paula Wilson, RN

Registered Nurse, Clinical Coordinator

Paula Wilson joined VNSNY in September 2004 as a Public Health Nurse in the Adult Acute Division, and came to the Center for Home Care Policy and Research in December 2005. She is the Hypertension Clinical Coordinator for the Home-Based Intervention for African Americans Project, which is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Ms. Wilson has extensive hospital experience, including surgical, orthopedics, general medicine and trauma. She also does corporate wellness and health screenings, with an emphasis on extensive patient education. Ms. Wilson graduated with a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hunter College.