About the Award

In 2021, the Office of Advanced Practice Providers (OAPP) established the annual APP Excellence Awards. The three awards recognize select APPs for exemplary demonstration of Connecticut Children’s values in their clinical practice and interaction with patients and team members.

The awards committee used the following criteria to determine the winners from the 15 nominations received:

  • Exceptional clinical knowledge
  • Exemplary relationships with both patients and team members
  • Unwavering commitment to care for all patients at all times
  • Patient care innovation
  • Quality or process improvement
  • Mentorship
  • Team-building
  • Community service
  • Academic activities (trainee teaching, research)

Congratulations to our winners and our nominees. You’ve helped lead Connecticut Children’s through one of the most challenging times in our history, and you continue to make an incredible difference for our organization and our patient families every day. We are so thankful for all you do!

Awardees receive a plaque and a cash award at the annual Medical Staff Meeting award ceremony.

2022 Winners

Here are three team members who were selected as our winners. Excerpts from their nominations are included to highlight their significant contributions to Connecticut Children’s and our patients and families.

Elisabeth Campbell, PA-C

Elisabeth is at the heart of our surgical service — she is the APP lead for our service and interacts with every attending, RN, MA, resident and

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student on the service. She developed smartphrases, shortcuts, and Epic guides for residents coming on service. She makes the resident call schedules and the APP schedules, and despite that responsibility, I have never heard anyone say a single critical thing about Elisabeth. My own blood pressure decreases when I know Elisabeth is “on the case” for something, and I’m not alone in this.

Beyond our own team, she has exemplary relationships with other services, making sure our interactions with other teams are smooth and that plans are clear. She teaches the residents and junior APPs the importance of clear and direct communication with consulting physicians and the teams asking for surgical opinions.

—James Healy, MD
Pediatric Surgeon

Whitney Fairchild, APRN

Whitney is a role model in many aspects. Her patient-centric approach is exemplary. Whitney displays an unwavering commitment to care for

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 all patients. She goes above and beyond for all of our adult congenital patients, which can be a difficult population to care for. Many of these patients are developmentally delayed, and require a significant amount of assistance understanding their complex cardiac condition and the required work up and procedures that they need. Whitney works tirelessly and patiently with all if them. She does not leave the patient’s side until the patient feels comfortable with the plan of care and has an understanding of what is going on. She always puts herself in the family’s shoes and makes sure that all of their questions and concerns are addressed. She never brushes off any patient concern without working it up to the maximum which has lead to her detecting life saving critical conditions that may have otherwise been overlooked.

—Anudeep Dodeja, MD
Associate Director, Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Christina Giudice, APRN

Christina is well regarded as the nurse practitioner for pediatric hospital medicine (PHM) with the most logical and in-depth approach to

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 patient care. She has a very broad knowledge base, never hesitates to take on a challenging patient, and her clinical skills are absolutely outstanding. She is effective in her patient care interactions and her clinical reasoning skills are exceptional.

Of note, her knowledge and skill level at caring for the most complex and challenging behavioral health patients has made her a leader at Connecticut Children’s.

She has a grasp of all resources available, including what she has labeled a “medical toolbox” and “alternative therapies” with many other treatment modalities including functional recovery tools such as movement, adherence to schedules, encouragement of ADLs, nutrition, TENS units for pain control, etc. This skill set is unique to Christina’s experience with her work on the SSRD pathway, and has been especially valuable during the behavioral health crisis during the pandemic.

—Hayley Wolfgruber, MD, and Catherine Sullivan, MD
Pediatric Hospitalists

Awardees will be recognized at an upcoming evening awards dinner, will receive a plaque and a cash award.

We also recognize the strong work and contributions of the other nine nominees:


Maureen Fearon, APRNEndocrinology
Kevin Fitzsimmons, PA-COrthopedics & Sports Medicine
Brian Landry, PA-CNeonatology
Jennifer Long, APRNNeonatology
Molly Mable, PA-CRadiology
Rebecca Strong, APRNEar, Nose & Throat
Heidi Sweeney, APRNGastroenterology
Patricia Trehey, APRNNeonatology
Amanda Zuse, APRNCenter for Cancer & Blood Disorders

2021 Winners

Below are three team members who were selected as our winners. Excerpts from their nominations are also included to highlight their significant contributions to Connecticut Children’s and our patients and families.

Jill Sullivan, PA-C

I have never met a person who holds together a department more than Jill Sullivan…Saying that she is someone’s right-hand person also isn’t

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Jill Sullivan, PA-C, Connecticut Children's

 enough. She is the left hand, both legs, heart and skin. She sees every single patient that comes through CV Surgery, from the time they are seen pre-operatively, through the surgery, the recovery in the post-op period, all the way until discharge. Often she is the only face they recognize all the way through as doctors and surgeons will change depending on the day or week.

Parents have come to rely upon and trust Jill as if she is part of their family. She is relied upon to know everything that goes on before and with CV surgical patients. I can truly say that without Jill Sullivan, the ability of my department to provide world-class care would be near impossible.

—Frederic Bernstein, DO
Connecticut Children’s Heart Center

Grace Hong, APRN

Grace daily shows her exceptional clinical knowledge through the design and implementation of various care pathways as well as the numerous COVID-19-related questions that arise daily. Grace is a role model for quality improvement efforts since her clinical pathways have reduced variability in care and enhanced patient safety and outcomes.

Grace is considered a mentor by both nursing and physician faculty and leads by her example of exceptional clinical skills and knowledge mixed with very hard work. Grace has been a leader in the clinical academic community at Connecticut Children’s with her membership on numerous committees, clinical trials, and the design of new COVID-19-based clinical care pathways as well as the long-haul clinic.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Grace’s exemplary presence in the Division has been a very large piece of Connecticut Children’s successful management of the pandemic both in patient care and in the care of our team member’s safety and health.

—John R. Schreiber, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Control

Kate Steven, CPNP

Kate has been a loyal employee of this hospital for over 15 years. She has worked in multiple departments but has made Hematology/Oncology her home.

She is a respected member of the team and is regarded as a mentor by the majority of the staff. The physicians know that Kate’s decision-making is always sound and they trust in her ability to handle any patient independently.

The APPs call Kate their ‘mother hen’ as she is not only a clinical support but a true friend to all. Kate is the first person the nursing staff will go to with a question or concern. Kate’s clinical knowledge is known throughout the department and is appreciated at the hospital.

—Ching C. Lau, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders


We also recognize the strong work and contributions of the other 12 nominees.


Dana Brunell Eisenberg, APRNDevelopmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
Elizabeth Campbell, PA-CPediatric Surgery
Nicole Chaves, PA-CEmergency Medicine
Carol Erickson, APRN    Urgent Care
Whitney Fairchild, APRNCardiology
Christina Giudice, APRNHospital Medicine
Kathleen Kellerman, PA-CCardiology
Elizabeth Oblon, PA-CENT
Nella Stoltz, APRNNeurosurgery
Rebecca Strong, APRNENT
Kim VanPelt, PA-COrthopedics
Amanda Zuse, APRNHematology/Oncology