May 08, 2023
A nurse practitioner who helps children struggling with mental health issues, and a pair of nurses with hearts for vulnerable populations, are being recognized by Independence Blue Cross for going beyond their duties.
Christina Milligan, a nurse practitioner for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Juju Riggins, a nurse for Pathways to Housing PA; and Leah Santos, a nurse for the Penn Transplant Institute, are the winners of IBX's "Celebrate Caring" campaign, which honors outstanding nurses.
Hundreds of Philly-area nurses from various specialties were nominated for the annual honor, which is revealed during National Nurses Week each year. Here's a short bio for each of the winners, as provided by IBX:
Christina Milligan, CHOP Primary Care, Paoli
"Milligan provides behavioral health support to children and teens. In her role at CHOP, she manages care for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Through this work, she develops meaningful relationships with patients and their families and serves as a mentor for her fellow nursing staff."
Juju Riggins, Pathways to Housing PA
"With exceptional persistence and patience, Riggins improves lives daily at Pathways to Housing PA. She is passionate about improving the health and well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders throughout Philadelphia."
Leah Santos, Penn Transplant Institute
"Beyond her unique role as a Liver Tumor Coordinator at Penn Transplant Institute, Santos is committed to serving her community. She is on the board and volunteers with The Sunday Love Project helping people experiencing food insecurity. Santos stocks local fridges, keeps care packages on hand in the trunk of her car, and picks up excess food to be delivered to nonprofit organizations who serve the community."
IBX is making $2,500 donations to the winners' charities of choice. The three winners also each will receive a $500 gift card, dinner for two and a night's stay in Atlantic City.
The following seven nurses were named as finalists:
• Carla P. Clements, nurse practitioner, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center
• Sophia Collins, nurse, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
• Sarah DeChurch, nurse, Paoli Hospital, Main Line Health
• Desiree DeVeau, nurse, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
• Tracey Kirschner, nurse, Holy Redeemer Hospital
• Danielle Scarpitti, rehabilitation nurse, MossRehab Institute for Brain Health, Jefferson Health
• Joe Staffieri, nurse, Bancroft
"So many people have stories about all types of nurses who have made an incredible difference in their lives, often at some of their most difficult times," said Koleen Cavanaugh, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Independence "Celebrate Caring is about recognizing and honoring those people. Nurses are also the backbone of our health care system and telling their stories helps us show how much they are loved and appreciated."