Hospital Educator and Academic Liaison Association

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2016 Nan Songer Distinguished Member Award

    Sarah Smith
2017 Nan Songer Distinguished Member Award Recipient Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a Teacher and Educational Liaison at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan.  Sarah’s nomination spoke to all qualities considered by this award:  Practice, Teamwork, Resourcefulness, Innovation, and Advocacy.

 When we notified Sarah’s hospital that she would be receiving this award, her co-workers shared the following comments:

“Sarah IS our school program.  Since her arrival, the stature and scope of our hospital-based school programming has grown exponentially. I cannot overstate how impressive that is, as our FTE allotment for our program has remained static during that time.”

“She is a wonderful representative of our team, she collaborates so well with everyone from physicians to community members and most importantly, she is held in the highest regard by our patients and their families… and she makes learning fun!  One of my favorite things to do is to catch her in the act of teaching and just watch.  She is so good at engaging patients and doesn’t miss a beat whether they are in kindergarten or studying for AP chemistry.”

“In addition to her duties as our hospital-based educator/education liaison for the community, she is one of those people who is always willing to help on a special project or committee.  She brings competence and vision to her work and has a great sense of knowing how other team members are doing and what they need to be successful.  She’s also a wonderful colleague and friend and we count ourselves blessed by having her on our team.”

 “Sarah is much more than just a teacher for our patients.  She is a teacher for our staff.  Many members of our staff eagerly seek her out for her wise, calm, precise thinking on various topics.  She is a tremendously, well-respected, always eager part of our staff.” 

“Thank you for honoring our Sarah Smith.  You couldn’t have chosen a better one!”

Sarah has been a quiet leader in forging the strong working relationship between APHOES and AECMN.  She is an active and involved member of both organizations, always respecting the differences between, as well as the overlapping goals, of each.  For example, Sarah sits on the APHOES Education and Professional Development Committee and the Joint Conference Planning Committee, is part of the team involved in the ongoing evolution of the Conference Planning Manual, and has been integral in building the APHOES Educator’s Toolbox and Screencast Series. She currently serves as Member-at-Large for the APHOES Executive Board.

When interviewed for the Fall 2016 APHOES Newsletter Spotlight,  Sarah stated, “APHOES is a support system of professionals who are passionate about championing the unique needs of our students and who truly want to ensure proven standards of care for all students with cancer and blood disorders. My patients, families, and school systems have directly benefited from the generosity of APHOES members sharing their best practices. Educators know the power of collaboration, and as the only person to serve in this capacity within my hospital system, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from some of the national leaders in this field. “

Sarah’s newsletter interview ended with advice to us all:   “Get connected – participate in working day and committees to keep a pulse on how our profession is growing nationally. It feels like there is a lot of “trail-blazing” going on right now, and I find that an exciting thing to be a part of!”

Congratulations, Sarah!


APHOES is pleased to present Sarah Smith with this year’s

Nan Songer Distinguished Member Award.

Multiple Disciplines, One Mission

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