Event honors health care workers, provides Wynn Hospital update

WHITESBORO  — The Genesis Group celebrated local healthcare workers at its 16th Annual Healthcare Recognition event. Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) officials also provided updates on the Wynn Hospital at the event. 

Healthcare worker recognition 

At the event, which took place on Wednesday, May 24, seven healthcare workers were honored as part of the Class of 2023’s Outstanding Healthcare Professionals.  

The honorees are: Anthony Burnett, MVHS; Natasha LeFever, MVHS; Sister Catherine Michael Napier, RN, MVHS; Christa Serafin, Charles T. Sitrin Healthcare Center; Mohsin Syed, MD, Slocum Dickson Medical Group ; Christina Torchia, MVHS; and Monica Wiggins, Masonic Care Community.

Robert C. Scholefield, MS, RN and executive vice president of facilities and real estate for MVHS, received the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Healthcare Hall of Distinction. 

Scholefield thanked his family and coworkers, and acknowledged the other professionals who were honored. 

“We all do this to serve our communities, we don’t do it for the recognition, although it’s appreciated, thank you,” Scholefield said.

Wynn Hospital update 

Scholefield said the Wynn Hospital is 90% complete. In June, staff will begin on-site training and on Aug. 30, the building will be substantially complete and MVHS will take control of the building.

Scholefield said it is on schedule to open on Oct. 29.   

Scholefield affirmed that despite rumors, MVHS is not dropping its maternity services when the Wynn Hospital opens. 

“All services that MVHS currently provides in our two campuses will relocate to this building,” he said.  

He said that each patient will have a private room and there will be windows in every room, because natural light is healing for patients and is beneficial for visitors and staff members. There will also be 13 elevators in the hospital, with four solely for visitors and the others for staff and services.    

Darlene Stromstad, CEO and President of MVHS, said that MVHS is continuing to grow its clinical campus, and received accreditation for five residency programs in addition to its two current programs, hired program directors and faculty for the programs and is looking to add another program. 

She said that last year, MVHS accepted its first group of 35 third-year medical students, and MVHS will welcome another 35 this summer. Prior to this, MVHS had about 12 medical students from Maine. 

“I think about kids in white coats running around with scissors, and it freaked me out a little bit, but it’s such a great feeder to our residency program,” Stromstad said. “They come here as med students, they have a good experience, and they’ll be more apt to stay and serve a residency.” 

She said that MVHS focuses its work on the needs of the community. MVHS has the second or third largest stroke program in New York. Its cardiac care center received the prestigious HeartCARE Center: National Distinction of Excellence from the American College of Cardiology accreditation in 2021.  

Stromstad said the majority of outpatient women’s and children’s services is moving to the Faxton St. Luke’s campus, and the inpatient campus will be the Sammon Family Birthing Center at the Wynn Hospital. 

MVHS has also been working to expand its surgical capabilities, its digestive diseases programs and oncology services.  

“We want to be the trusted health care provider in this region. We want you to be able to trust us with your care,” Stromstad said. “We want to be the place where people want to work. … and finally, it is our goal to be the pride of Central New York.” 

“And who said there shouldn’t be a hospital in downtown Utica?” she added.


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