From left, Theresa Santoro, RVNAhealth President & CEO; Scholarship recipient, Elizabeth DeMassa; MJ Heller, RVNAhealth Director of Philanthropy
There’s a saying, “When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.” That’s exactly what Elizabeth DeMassa is looking for as she heads to Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA this fall. DeMassa is entering the school’s nursing program having been awarded the Marguerite Regan Nursing Award by RVNAhealth last spring.
The award is a longtime, four-year partial scholarship, granted each year to a Ridgefield High School senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. From RVNAhealth’s Board of Directors, a “scholarship task force” reviews anonymous submissions to select a recipient.
DeMassa, a graduate of Ridgefield High School’s class of 2019, selected nursing because she wants to work in a field where she can help others. Indeed, helping others seems to run in the DeMassa family. Her father, Douglas, is a chiropractor (and creator of Neuron-Do, which helps individuals develop motor and cognitive skills through martial arts), and her mother, Heather, is a nurse at Stamford Health.
On the extracurricular front, DeMassa was captain of the Ridgefield High School girls’ cross-country team last school year and a track and field standout. Meaning Moravian will benefit not only by her generous nature, but also her considerable athleticism.
Throughout history, music has been used to bring people together and create a feeling of tranquility. Known to often have a calming effect on those who are agitated, reduce pain, assist in communication and recollection of memories, music is an important part of hospice care. RVNA seeks a per diem Music Therapist to plan, organize, and direct medically prescribed music therapy activities as part of the psychosocial and physical treatment of patients and their families.
As a member of the RVNA Hospice interdisciplinary team, the Music Therapist instructs patients and families in prescribed instrumental or vocal music and music projective techniques such as guided imagery, progressive relaxation and awareness of conscious feelings. The role also involves studying and analyzing patients’ reactions to various experiences, providing pleasant interactive experiences for patients and family members, documenting visits and other activities, and collaborating with the interdisciplinary team on patients’ care plans as needed. Patient participation in music therapy is optional.
Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy or Music with a concentration in Music Therapy, and be board certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapy. Experience in Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy is preferred and experience with terminally ill patients/families is highly desirable.
Interested in this opportunity to do meaningful work with a growing agency? To apply, visit the job posting.
Welcome aboard to the RVNA Class of 7/29/19. Yesterday, seven new team members were treated to a full-day orientation, getting the full rundown on all RVNA services and departments. The group included employees from Hospice, Rehabilitation, HomeCare, Administration, and yours truly, Marketing.
Here they are!
From left to right: Adriana Clesidor, Hospice RN Case Manager; Breanna Cloonan, Physical Therapy Assistant; Kristen Koukos, RVNA’s HR Coordinator who keeps the day on track; Sandy Booth, Hospice HHA/CNA; Debi Morgan, Physical Therapy Assistant; Kaye Hale, MD, Hospice Associate Medical Director; Alissa Ruggiero, Executive Assistant; and Jo Bennett, Marketing Associate.
Meg Whitbeck with the men in her life: (l to r) her husband Drew and sons Luke and Parker
One of the great things about Meg Whitbeck, MS RDN, is that even though she’s a registered dietitian and nutrition educator — and an excellent one at that — she doesn’t make you feel bad if she catches you eating a piece of decadent cheese. Or a malted milk ball. If she catches you doing a juice-only fast, however, Meg may look at you askance.
Meg knows that good nutrition is a critical component to feeling your best, and that means eating a breadth of the right things for you, not depriving yourself altogether.
Another great thing about Meg is that she is deeply and genuinely kind, and one of the more comedic people in the world. Which makes it pretty spectacular that she’s right here at RVNAhealth.
Meet Meg Whitbeck …
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Brewster, NY and now live in Ridgefield, CT.
How long have you been at RVNAhealth?
I began working here in January 2016.
What brought you to RVNAhealth?
The opportunity to be a part of RVNAhealth’s center for excellence and to spearhead our nutrition program.
Describe your role at RVNAhealth.
I am the Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator. I support our clinical staff by offering outpatient nutrition counseling and education. In addition, I hold classes and seminars throughout the year and offer community-based nutrition events.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Definitely spending time with my patients and improving the quality of their lives.
Did you ever consider becoming a nurse?
When did you realize that you wanted to become a dietitian?
At age 23, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease and met my dietitian — this amazing woman who helped me to eat again. I realized that — behold! — I could merge science, healthcare, and people. I never looked back. At the time, I was a molecular genetics technician, so my career changed dramatically. I still have a soft spot for genetics, though!
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
Run, bake, dance, volunteer!
What is your hidden talent?
I sing and play the piano.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I have nine siblings and would pay off all of their mortgages. In addition, I would buy a big house in Ridgefield and host many wonderful parties! I would definitely keep working because I LOVE my job!
Do you have a favorite RVNAhealth moment or story?
There have been so many! Lately, I have been inspired by my colleagues who work so tirelessly to provide exceptional care. I am in awe of the skill sets and expertise that I am surrounded by here at RVNAhealth. From marketing to development, nursing to occupational therapy, rehab to hospice – we have the best of the best here.
What are you doing for Thanksgiving*?
I am helping with a new effort in town: The Ridgefield Community Thanksgiving Dinner for local people looking for a nice meal to share. I will be overseeing food handling and food prep as part of a collaboration between a collection of local organizations, including St. Mary’s Parish, Meals on Wheels, Jesse Lee, Dimitri’s Diner, Melillo Farms, Bernard’s, Adam Broderick, Caraluzzi’s, Genoa Deli, JK’s Original Texas Hot Weiners, and RVNAhealth, of course! Plus, some lovely anonymous supporters.
I will be there with my husband and sons and we are going to have a ball!
*This post was prepared in November 2018.
What is your favorite book? Movie?
My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo and my favorite movie is The Princess Bride.
If you had a racehorse, what would you name it?
If you could eat one food for a year, what would it be?