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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / May 2014 / Profile of Excellence: Ambassador and Guest Services Team

Profile of Excellence: Ambassador and Guest Services Team

For its dedicated support of students in the UR Teen Health and Success Partnership program, we are pleased to honor the Ambassador and Guest Services program with a 2013 URMC Board Excellence Award in the Team category.

140509ambassadorssmall.jpgThe Ambassador and Guest Services team, most recently under the leadership of Erik Olsen and Mary Pat Callahan, has had a significant impact on the lives and futures of students from the Rochester City School District. The students work as part of the Ambassador group, some as time-as-reported (TAR) employees, others as part-time staffers.

The Teen Health and Success Partnership is an initiative developed in 2009 in partnership with the Hillside Foundation’s Work-Scholarship Program. It supports City high school students at risk of not graduating by providing opportunities to gain experience across the University system, including working at hospital units such as the Burn/Trauma ICU, and with patients and visitors through the Ambassador program. It develops hands-on job skills and lays the foundation for future employment and career development. The program includes long-term advocacy, academic resources, life skills development, and job training.

The success of the students employed by the University can be measured, in part, by the group’s graduation rate: 100 percent of the more than 100 participants have graduated from high school, and 88 percent have gone on to enroll in college.

The Ambassador Program has provided continuous and consistent support and mentorship to these city school students. Through demonstration by their own actions and through training, Olsen, Callahan, and their caring team have taught these students the importance of excellent customer service to create and maintain a welcoming and compassionate environment consistent with our commitment to patient- and family-centered care.

Joint nominators Sandy Arbasak from Friends of Strong, and Suzanne Marie Piotrowski, M.D., and Kim Muratore from the Teen Health and Success Partnership, say the young adults feel valued and respected as members of the Ambassador and Guest Services team and have grown as young professionals due to the hard work and support of their supervisors.

It’s evident how passionate Callahan and Olsen are about these students, working closely with them to assure they are appropriately trained on hospital safety, ICARE values, roles and responsibilities, and professionalism in the workplace. Students describe both Olsen and Callahan as caring and understanding. They say they and their Ambassador team colleagues are not treated as employees, but like a family, with strong encouragement to grow personally and professionally.

In addition to two existing positions with the Ambassador program, Callahan and Olsen advocated for two new TAR positions, doubling the number of employment opportunities made available to Teen Health and Success Partnership students.

Through the Ambassador program, the students also have been a welcome resource for the Friends of Strong volunteer program, most recently in the Emergency Department (under supervision). This hospitality-based position has filled a much needed void in that extremely vital part of the hospital.

The Ambassador program is considered an enthusiastic and compassionate team of leaders and role models who go above and beyond in teaching and living the ICARE values. They bring with them strengths and talents from diversified employment backgrounds and areas of expertise, and have been instrumental in passing along a wealth of valuable knowledge and life lessons to the students.

For its passion, energy, leadership, and dedication, we are pleased to recognize the SMH Ambassador and Guest Services team as a winner of a 2013 Board Excellence Award in the Team category.


Matt Ulakovic | 5/9/2014

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