2018 Winners

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JANE BEDELL, MD

Assistant Commissioner and Medical Director Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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SANDY BRYANT-TOWNSEND

Executive Director, Office of Legal Affairs Fair Hearing Administration NYC Human Resources Administration

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JOCELYN PEREZ, RN, MA

Director of Nursing for Behavioral Health Metropolitan Hospital NYC Health + Hospitals

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DAVID PIERSANTE

Director of Eligibility, HIV/AIDS Services Administration DSS/HRA Special Services NYC Human Resources Administration

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EDWARD TOTH

Director, Greenbelt Native Plant Center and Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

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ANNETTE WHYTE

Associate Director, Vendor Management Mayor’s Office of Contract Services

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JANE BEDELL, MD

Assistant Commissioner and Medical Director Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Jane Bedell is the "go-to" doctor for the NYC Health Department in the Bronx. She is described as unique in her ability to collaborate with local health providers, hospitals, schools, state and federal agencies and community organizations to address pervasive and long-term community health issues. Dr. Bedell's medical and public health background, her respect for community residents, her ability to both listen and lead, and her focus on finding solutions have made her without peer in the challenge of creating effective multi-agency efforts and community collaborations. The Bronx has seen significant improvement in reducing infant mortality and reducing unintended teen pregnancy as well as providing increasing access to healthier food, among many other successes. Dr. Bedell reflects, "My work as a public servant is similar to being a primary care physician. For both, I want to help build the mutual trust that is critical to saving lives. Being a public servant is as close as I can get to being part of democracy, because public service is democracy in action." 

SANDY BRYANT-TOWNSEND

Executive Director, Office of Legal Affairs Fair Hearing Administration NYC Human Resources Administration

In 1989, Sandy Bryant was hired by HRA as a temporary employee earning the minimum wage of $3.25 assigned to the Family Independence Administration. From the start, Mrs. Bryant stood out for her ability to motivate others, her deep compassion for clients, and her understanding for how to make systems work better. From her initial position as a clerical employee, she was promoted nine times to positions with ever-increasing responsibility. From 2013 through 2017, Mrs. Bryant was the Regional Manager of the nine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offices in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, overseeing 400 employees who serve 290,000 New Yorkers annually in need of food assistance. In January 2018, Mrs. Bryant was named as the Executive Director for the Office of Legal Affairs, managing Fair Hearings for Cash and Food Assistance for the entire city. Her goal is to streamline the system to get fairer outcomes for clients and to save millions of dollars for the City. Based on her past accomplishments, no one doubts that she will accomplish this.   

JOCELYN PEREZ, RN, MA

Director of Nursing for Behavioral Health Metropolitan Hospital NYC Health + Hospitals

Jocelyn Perez spent her first 22 years in NYC government at Bellevue Hospital, starting as a Staff Nurse. In 2008 she left Bellevue as the Associate Executive Director of Nursing in Psychiatry and she moved to Metropolitan Hospital as its Director of Nursing in Psychiatry. There, Ms. Perez leads a group of more than 200 Nursing staff in Psychiatry inpatient, outpatient and emergency services. Throughout her career, Ms. Perez has been an innovator in improving patient experience, safety and quality of care. At Bellevue, she initiated the first inpatient Peer Counseling Program wherein consumers of psychiatric care who completed training for Peer Counseling are employed as staff, a model that has been replicated in other City hospitals. Peer Counselors with the same lived experience assist the patients in their own treatment and recovery. Ms. Perez says, "My work focuses on helping staff understand that patients with psychiatric disorders can get better and lead normal lives. Like any human being, they want to have a job, a sense of purpose, to have families, to belong and to be loved."   

DAVID PIERSANTE

Director of Eligibility, HIV/AIDS Services Administration DSS/HRA Special Services NYC Human Resources Administration

In 1985, the City created the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) to help people with HIV/AIDS get emergency financial and housing services. David Piersante joined HASA in 1989 as an entry-level case manager; in 2013 he was named to his current position as the Director of Eligibility. In this capacity he oversees the Agency's Intake Office and provides support and assistance to the 12 field offices throughout the City. HASA provides case management services for 33,700 cases, most of whom have limited resources. Mr. Piersante receives accolades for his expertise, experience and commitment from staff, clients and the larger HIV community. As he says, "I have been committed to this agency and the people it serves and I am in it for the long haul."   

EDWARD TOTH

Director, Greenbelt Native Plant Center and Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

On 13 acres on Staten Island, Ed Toth directs the Greenbelt Native Plant Center (GNPC) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank (MARSB). Over 25 years, GNPC has grown more than 12.5 million native plants for restoration and conservation projects in NYC ecosystems. After Hurricane Sandy, GNPC replaced hundreds of thousands of plants on destroyed wetland and dunes. While working in Prospect Park Brooklyn in the 1990s, Mr. Toth helped lead the native plant movement in park restorations, but a key obstacle was that native plants were not available. By helping to create and then run GNPC, Mr. Toth created the first and largest municipal native plant nursery and seed bank anywhere in the U.S. In 2011, Mr. Toth founded MARSB, recognizing that to effectively respond to climate change and plant conservation challenges, a regional response was essential. Says a colleague, "He has made a huge difference in our world. He looks out for New Yorkers and the planet."  

ANNETTE WHYTE

Associate Director, Vendor Management Mayor’s Office of Contract Services

Each year, New York City spends over $21 billion in 10,000 contracts with vendors, contractors, and consultants. Over the last 30 years, Associate Director, Annette Whyte, has been integral to the successful administration of VENDEX, the City's contract and vendor management system. Working with MOCS, Annette has been instrumental to VENDEX from its inception as an offline paper-based system to its current iteration as NYC PASSPort, a fully-based online system. Developed in 1988, as part of the City's anti-corruptions efforts to track and monitor contracts and performance, VENDEX has undergone substantial transformations to improve its efficiencies. Annette has contributed to the system's evolution, her input driven by a holistic understanding of the process. Her ability to foresee and correct potential system pitfalls, her talent for staff management, and her understanding of City regulations, have helped to strengthen her agency's reputation for efficiency and responsiveness. Revered by staff and colleagues, and described as "inspirational, motivational and visionary—soft on the outside, steel on the inside." Annette Whyte is leading the City into 21st Century data management.

 
 

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