Milton Nunez gives congratulations to all honorees and NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln (234939)
Credit: Contributed

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln recently celebrated Black History Month as part of its overall celebration of the diversity of its staff and patients as well as of the communities it serves.

Among the Black History Month celebrations was a monthlong art exhibit featuring Wendy Wiggans. Other events included lectures, films and a “Bake Off/Bake Sale.” (The winner of the Bake Off was Lisa Kavannaugh, Quality Management at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, shown in an attached photo with her winning creamy cheese/carrot cake.)

The grand finale of the month of celebrations was the “Honoring Our Own” luncheon Friday, Feb. 24, celebrated by employees, Local 1180’s vice president and the Alumnae Association of the Lincoln School for Nurses. Among those honored at the event were two employees who accepted honors on behalf of relatives well-known as civil rights icons.

The first honor went to the Lincoln School for Nurses, the first school dedicated to teach the nursing arts specifically to Black students—all girls. Attending the event were five surviving graduates, members of the Alumnae Association of the Lincoln School for Nurses (which closed in the 1960s). Founded in 1898, the Lincoln School for Nurses graduated its first class of six in 1900. In 1905 the school was registered by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York. In 1926 when Lincoln Hospital was sold to the city of New York, the Nursing School was retained in the building. With the proceeds of the sale of the hospital, the Nursing School built a fully equipped Nursing facility with private rooms and baths for the nurses, an infirmary for the students and a tennis court. The school was staffed with doctors from Lincoln Hospital and practice teachers from Teacher’s College. Lincoln Medical Center is proud to host the Alumnae Association of the Lincoln School for Nurses’ monthly meeting.

Cheryl Baker, director of Human Resources, accepted honors on behalf of her great aunt, Constance Baker Motley. Baker Motley was a civil rights activist and lawyer, born in New Haven, Conn. She was the first woman elected as a New York State Senator and Manhattan Borough president. She was the first Black woman to be accepted into Columbia Law School. She was assistant attorney to Thurgood Marshall, arguing (and winning) the case Brown v. Board of Education (1955). She was appointed to the United States District Court in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, making her the first African-American woman to hold a federal judgeship.

Teresa Bethune-Bellinger, director of the Women, Infants and Children Program, accepted the honor on behalf of her great aunt, Mary McLeod Bethune. Bethune was an educator, having started a school for Black girls in Florida in 1904, which is now Bethune-Cookman University. She became the first Black woman to serve in a presidential administration after President Franklin Roosevelt appointed her in 1935 as the head of the office of Minority Affairs. Bethune used her friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt and her authority as a “Black cabinet” member to lobby for integration in the pilot program during World War II, which created the Tuskegee airmen at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.

James Carr, Infrastructure Service director for both NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and Chief Information Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, was the third honoree. Carr is also a retired master gunnery sergeant of the United States Marine Corps. He has shown an unwavering commitment to veterans of all branches of service. He has energetically ensured veteran recognition of groups such as the Montford Point Marines, who received Congressional Gold Medals, and the Tuskegee Airmen and has played a key role in involving NYC Health + Hospitals facilities in Veterans Day celebrations. He is a particularly strong advocate for ensuring all necessary health services (both at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln and at VA facilities) are provided to our vets and thinks “out of the box” on the delivery of those services. Carr is also the vice president of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation of New York.

Gerald Brown was honored as the second vice president of the Executive Board of the Communications Workers of America Local 1180, which has 8,500 members. He brings educational and career development concerns of members to light, lobbying for opportunities for free undergraduate and graduate credits. He coordinates the legislative program for 1180 and promotes better working environments for CWA’s NYC and NYS employees. A friend to NYC Health + Hospitals in general and to NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in particular, he is a passionate advocate for CWA members.

Sallie Evans and Harold Ricks were honored as, respectively, the retired president and vice president of the Committee of Friends, which was formed with the goal to continuously teach the strong, proud heritage of African-Americans and to educate the communities in which we live and work. With a combined 95 years working at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, they spoke of the long-term commitment to Black history at the hospital through this committee. They both emphasized the joy of membership and of their careers.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, located at 234 E. 149th Street in the Bronx, is a 362-bed, Acute Care Level 1 Trauma Center with the busiest single site emergency department in the region. Winner of the 2012 American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Finalist Award and given 2013 recognition as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, the hospital emphasizes primary care and specialty medicine and uses the latest advances in medical science. The hospital is a member of the NYC Health + Hospitals health care system.

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation, serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.