Published on March 06, 2017

LeadingAge Institute Recognizes Essentia Health Caregivers

As part of the Stars Among Us program, LeadingAge Minnesota honored district caregivers of the year at their LeadingAge Minnesota Institute held on February 8-10, 2017. These awards shine a spotlight on the dedicated people who make a difference in the lives of aging Minnesotans around the state.

Wendy Johnson in housing and resident services at Essentia Health-Lincoln Park was awarded the Caregiver of the Year Award for District C.

"Wendy is strongly recognized by all who come to our Senior Building as someone who can and will help, if she doesn't know she will find out," said Tonya Clem, Residency manager of Essentia Health St. Mary' Senior Housing and Assisted Living. "We are honored to have her as a part of our team."

The annual Stars Among Us awards celebrate the best of the best in the field, from caregivers and volunteers to exceptional leaders and organizations, all committed to transforming and enhancing the experience of aging.

"I was very honored to receive this award," said Johnson. "I'm thankful and grateful that residents and co-workers took the time to write letters and submit a nomination."

During the Institute, Essentia Health Oak Crossing' Haley-Jo Rue and Megan Schattschneider were also recognized.  They are two of the 13 apprentices graduating through the Health Support Specialist (HSS) Registered Apprenticeship Program. All 13 graduates completed rigorous coursework and on-the-job training to become a deeper and better prepared caregiver.

The Health Support Specialist (HSS) Registered Apprenticeship program is a new career in the aging services field. Combining on-the-job training with online instruction, the HSS program trains apprentices in all areas of caring for older adults, including memory care, culinary, environmental services, meaningful activities, physiological, and psychosocial care.

"Health Support Specialist provides a career path for those who are called to caregiving. It taps into their expertise and innovation, leading us all to do better work for our elders," said Jenna Seal, Director of Workforce Solutions, LeadingAge Minnesota. "To our apprentices and journey workers, we thank you, support you and empower you to continue breaking down outdated institutional practices and lead us forth in this new method of care."