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Salinas Valley Health STAR Recipient Provides Whole Family Care

Salinas Valley Health STAR Recipient Provides Whole Family Care

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

SALINAS, CA, March 2, 2022 –The most recent STAR Award was presented last week to Alyssa Cruz for the compassionate care and service she provides day in and day out to patients and their families. Alyssa is an ICU Clinical Social Worker, who exemplifies the STAR values of support, teamwork, accountability and respect.

“The ICU can be a very complex place to practice social work,” says Kim DeSerpa, Salinas Valley Health Social Work Manager. “A lot of families have high emotions that sometimes need to be worked through. Alyssa does a beautiful job of respecting different opinions and helping families make different decisions. She is bicultural and bilingual. Salinas Valley Health is lucky to have her working in the ICU.”

Patient care in the ICU can be complicated because the patient can’t always speak for themselves and staff must take into consideration the often dynamic and conflicting family input in case management. The colleague who nominated Alyssa said she goes above and beyond on a daily basis to provide exceptional care and support to patients, families and her fellow team members. The nomination read in part:

“Lately there has been such a high incidence of exceptionally difficult family situations and members that needed intervention, conduct contracts and extensive support. Each day in rounds, Alyssa prepares to help us deal with all of this so that we may focus care on our patients. We thank her often, but with the recent events here in ICU, I feel that Alyssa deserves formal recognition for all of her hard work! She truly goes above and beyond to work as part of our team and I only wish I could nominate her for a vacation as well.”

Alyssa accepted the STAR Award during a ceremony surrounded by her coworkers. “It’s definitely an honor to receive this award,” says Alyssa Cruz, ICU Clinical Social Worker. “It is a privilege to be able to help patients. I’ve always loved medical social work because I feel it gives me an opportunity to help people during their most vulnerable times”.

Alyssa joined Salinas Valley Health in May 2017 as a clinical social worker. Two other people are recognized for their STAR nomination as well; Myline Laurel, a nurse aide on Tele/1-Main and Eric Wilson, a rad tech II in diagnostic imaging.  

Every month Salinas Valley Health recognizes two extraordinary employees, one with a DAISY Award (for nurses) and another with a STAR Award (for all staff). Nominations can be submitted by patients, visitors and staff. Nomination forms and drop boxes are located throughout the hospital and online. To learn more about the awards visit Nurse Recognition | Salinas Valley Health or STAR Award | Monterey County Health System (

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