Congratulations to Angela Heller, winner of the 2017 Centers Patient Advocacy Award!

Ms. Heller is an oncology social worker from New York-Presbyterian Hospital

- March 24, 2017

Marie Carmel Garcon at NYU Columbia Presbyterian knows someone special when sees them. She nominated Angela, who helps cancer patients and their families through the most difficult time in their lives.  For the patients the trauma is obvious enough; but Angela goes beyond the need to be a listener, a coach, a healer and a guide through the end of life journey. She works with families to heal rifts, open communication, soothe wounds old and new, physical and spiritual, for the sole purpose of helping to ease another’s burden.  She does whatever it takes and overcomes whatever obstacles she meets.

In her nomination letter, Ms. Garcon told us that Angela’s “passion lies with terminally ill patients. Ms. Heller finds all the love in her heart to help them and their family members understand how to communicate with their children. Her contributions provide a foundation for them and their families to develop and maintain healthy relationships throughout the cancer ordeal. She is brave enough to accept intimacy and directly encounter others who are enduring great suffering. She demonstrates that in this exceedingly stressful world of medicine, what we will remember at the end of our careers is how we have touched lives in a compassionate and kind manner”

In her graceful acceptance note, Angela wrote of the opportunity this afforded her to help the Pancreas Center at Columbia University Medical Center. “The pancreas group I facilitate…has had a profound effect on me. This is a devastating disease and the patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have shown me the true meaning of love, bravery and resilience.

And Angela shows us all the true meaning of social work. Congratulations Angela, and thank you, social workers everywhere, for all you do.   

For more information about the 2017 Centers Health Care Patient Advocacy Award, please visit

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