2016 Finalists


Outstanding Caregiver(back to top)

Irene Felicitas

Position: Caregiver

Organization: Attentive Home Care


She explains that her passion for caregiving continues to grow every day as the field provides her opportunities to learn and improve her as a person; with every client she meets, she learns something new. “Caregiving allows you to constantly grow and achieve,” says Irene. “It’s amazing what you learn from clients; these are people who have lived fulfilling lives and want to share it with you. Coming from a different generation, I’ve been able to learn many different things from th ...

Susan Heinz

Position: Home Care Aid

Organization: 24Hr HomeCare


Let me tell you how Susan makes a difference in Joe's life every single day. She does it through laughter. It has been said that there is nothing more irresistibly contagious in this world than laughter, and that laughter has the ability to connect two hearts. For Susan and Joe those two statements couldn't be more true. The joy that Susan brings to Joe's world each and every day is obvious and their relationship is infectious. Joe often mentions that Susan's compassiona ...

Elena Herrera

Position: Care Professional

Organization: Senior Helpers


Elena wanted to make a "difference" in the Caregiving world after seeing how her mother was treated by so many Caregivers. Some Caregivers would not talk to her mother, or even put a simple smile on their face to brighten her day. One day she popped in on her lunch, to find her mom (after a chemo session) in the kitchen vomiting and trying to get a 7-Up, while the Caregiver was in the backyard on her phone. That was the day Elena quit her job and decided to care for her mom. She di ...

Erin Albright

Position: Caregiver

Organization: Attentive Home Care


When she isn’t busy caregiving, she’s at Santa Ana College studying to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Erin aspires to continue taking care of those in need in the ER once she finishes school next year. Outside of work, she enjoys going to sporting events and the beach with her 12 year old son and family. Recently, she just started going to shooting ranges with friends for fun.
Erin is one of our most dedicated and reliable caregivers. Fun fact: She’s never called in sick and she’s ...

Tywoin Walker

Position: CNA

Organization: Attentive Home Care


Tywoin is always ready to help his clients and his big heart and kindness is like no other. He is happy to have the opportunity to help people and explains that even a small act of kindness can be monumental to a patient. During his first shift in a convalescent hospital, Tywoin worked with a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s who told him that she likely wouldn’t remember him tomorrow. The following day, the same patient told Tywoin, “I remember you…I don’t remember your name but I re ...

Vivian Catequista

Position: Personal Attendant

Organization: Silverado


Vivian is a caregiver (Personal Attendant) for Silverado At Home; she is responsible for the care of our senior clients. Vivian takes care of all the household needs, likes cooking, Activities of Daily Living, cleaning, engagement, doctor appointments.

Vivian is the perfect example of a caregiver. She always puts her client/resident/patients’ needs before her own. She truly treats her clients like they are her own parents or grandparents. She goes above and beyond to make sure her clients ar ...

Mario Hernandez

Position: CNA

Organization: Chapman Global Medical Center


Mario has always been there to help co-workers whenever they need. More importantly, he provides excellent care for our residents. Mario does not complain when additional work is given to him due to unforeseen circumstances. He's always willing to help. Families and residents are happy to have him as their CNA/RNA.


Shelia Hubbard

Position: Caregiver

Organization: Oasis In-Home Care


The word “Hero” defines someone who “in the face of adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage and the will for self-sacrifice—that is, heroism”. While all Oasis caregivers consistently and compassionately engage with their senior clients, Shelia Hubbard embodies this ethic at an entirely different level.
Shelia's selflessness has been clearly demonstrated in her willingness to self-sacrifice for the sake of her clients. Of the many examples that speak to her dedic ...


Outstanding Social Worker(back to top)

Lynne Conger

Position: Social Services Supervisor

Organization: City of Irvine - Senior Services


Lynne provides training and mentoring for social work students in the field of aging. Furthermore, she has spearheaded many creative assistance programs and support groups for active seniors, incorporating education and socialization. The most recent example of this is “Healthy Fridays”, a collaboration with UCI School of Nursing, Chapman University School of Pharmacy and the OC Health Care Agency. This program provides participants the opportunity to meet one-on-one with nursing students ...

Christina Masini

Position: Senior Social Worker

Organization: Adult Protective Services


I reached out to Christina's supervisor to learn more about Christina. This is what Destiny Mollison, SSSS with Adult Protective Services, had to say:“Christina has been working for the Adult Protective Services program for over 16 years. She is a hard-working, dedicated, extremely knowledgeable Senior Social Worker who is a fierce advocate for some of Orange County's most vulnerable residents. In addition to her full-time assignment, she has also worked as an On-Call SSW providing c ...

Cora Mahon

Position: Coordinator, Professional Training and Health Care services

Organization: Alzheimer's Greater LA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center


Cora is frequently told how noble it is to be a social worker and to be working with older adults and end-of-life issues. “That must be so challenging” or “you must be a saint” is what she often hears after disclosing to someone what she does for work. But Cora views it very differently. When asked what this career means to Cora, here is what she had to say:

“Working in this field has given me the most valuable gift; much more than I could ever give to the field. It has so clearly an ...

Rosaneli Loza

Position: Care Manager, Home to Provider Program

Organization: SCAN Health Plan


While Rosaneli has held many roles, the common theme in her work is that she works with our most deserving members. Most are frail and low income. Many speak only Spanish, have an average of elementary school education, and lack familiarity with how to navigate the health care system. Rosaneli serves as their guide, advocate and friend in her role as case manager. She brings tremendous energy and commitment to her job-- coordinating member's care, making sure they understand their chronic ...

Connie Knaus, BA

Position: Social Worker / Caregiver

Organization: Caregiver Resource Center


Connie has earned this recognition thanks to her own experience as a 3-time family caregiver herself ~ she truly "GETS IT!" ~ and to her undeterred dedication to her clients. Connie's work with senior caregivers includes more stories than there is space for, however, let me tell you about "Sherry and Harry". Like many families going through illness and caregiving, they hit hard financial times ~ which led to difficult emotional times ~ which led to stress, relationship ...

Liliana Zuniga


Organization: Bel Vista Healthcare Center


Liliana is the most caring and compassionate individual with our residents, always offering to help in the toughest situations with patience and the utmost tolerance. There can many tough decisions that have to be made while a resident is at a SNF...she offers direction and advice with candor and intelligence. Liliana knows all her resident's needs and is a wonderful asset to their families in times of need. You will regularly see her with her fellow employees offering guidance and support ...

Angelique Ellingboe

Position: Social Worker

Organization: Long Beach Memorial Medical Center


When you talk about will power, dedication and passion, you're talking about Angelique. She has overcome her own disabilities and has dedicated her life to help others. There is no one that can even come close to her loving, caring and her passion for life. She goes above and beyond to make sure that her seniors are cared for. She is a beautiful human being in every single way, she is golden!!! If you're looking for a hero, don't look any more her name in Angelique, she is my her ...

Christine Nguyen

Position: LCSW clinical social worker

Organization: Dignity Health, St. Mary Medical Center


She is a hero because of what she does and she never looks for a reward, when I nominated her she immediately refused the nomination saying that she didn't deserve to be nominated. Well, she is so humble that she doesn't see herself as a hero. When in fact she is more than that, she has called me many many times after hours to inquiry about a patient. she calls from home to make sure that patients are safe and or had a safe discharge. Christine is what a social worker should be, carin ...


Outstanding Nurse (back to top)

Shelly Horton

Position: Nurse

Organization: OC Hospice


Shelly Horton, LVN with OC Hospice was exposed to the healthcare industry just as she was beginning her career as a fashion designer, when she began caring for her ex-husband’s grandparents who were in failing health.

Over the years she suffered burn out in the fashion industry, finding it less than satisfying. At the same time, her step mother was battling liver cancer in Arizona.

Shelly decided to switch gears completely, so she moved to Arizona, took a CNA class and ventured into health ...

Louise Della Bella

Position: Director of Care Coordination, Social Services, and Palliative Care

Organization: Saddleback and Orange Coast Memorial Medical Centers


Louise has received many comments throughout her experience with seniors. When presented with the ALA-C Pottenger award, it was stated “your work has improved the lives of thousands of senior patients with Chronic Lung Disease throughout the state." Patients participating in the Better Breathers Club have said: “these meetings have given my life new meaning"; “it is so helpful to know other patients have the same issues"; “I am so grateful to know that someone cares abou ...

Susan Smith

Position: Nurse Anesthetist

Organization: Long Beach VA


Susan is a blessing to everyone around her and any one who meets her is a better person for knowing her. She is one of the kindest, most generous, patient people I've known. She knows that when a patient is going into surgery, there is often a lot of physical pain, anxiety, nerves and fear involved. Her goal with every patient is to create a calm, comforting environment and to create a bond of trust. She knows she has a huge responsibility and wants each patient to have a good experience. S ...

Joyce Brown

Position: Caremore Touch Lead Nurse Practitioner

Organization: Caremore Health Plan


As a lead person for her team, Joyce oversees other teammates and sets an example for everyone on delivering holistic care for elders who need a special touch. Not only does she bring joy and comfort to them, she also keep them in high spirits. She makes sure that every senior person being seen is respected in regards to their wishes and desires - by informed consent and sharing the care goals with the family and the team. As a physician, I often encounter Joyce visiting our elderly patients and ...

Shanga Jordan

Position: Discharge Coordinator

Organization: Los Alamitos Medical Center


"My life has been a struggle. I come from foster care to where I am now. I have always been the one that would give my last to help someone, even if it meant that I would be without. I became a nurse to help others in a way that I felt I could make a difference. I love my job. I am pursuing my RN at this time because I would like to make a bigger difference in the lives of my patients. As I see the patients that are struggling to get the things that the need to survive or at minimum m ...

Christina Yue, R.N. BSN

Position: RN Case Manager

Organization: PIH Health Hospital


Christina's strengths as a Nurse Case Manager as mentioned above are worthy of this nomination. Each and every day she approaches her work energetically. She is consistently striving for excellence and has earned tremendous respect from her team. Christina is kind and always willing to help in any way she can. She has the ability to be a change agent which is so necessary with the many dramatic changes the U.S. health care system is experiencing. It is also important to note that we are se ...

Qiana Hines

Position: Director of Utilization Review/ Case Management & Social Services

Organization: Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center


She is a pioneer and spearheading the new safe discharge readmissions prevention and community collaborative program in Fountain Valley Hospital, and bridging the gap from Acute Care Hospital to Post Acute. She truly has worked hard towards achieving and improving unnecessary patient readmissions.

Here is her story:
"I have been a nurse for fifteen years glorious years and I am so thankful for all that I have experienced. Being nominated for this award is so humbling and exciting at the ...


Outstanding Physician (back to top)

John Zamarra

Position: Cardiologist

Organization: Natural Medicine Health and Heart Group & Associates, Inc.


A doctor who answers his office phone? Yep! Dr. Zamarra prides himself in being available to his patient calls after hours ~ his own concierge service. He feels that answering services can be cold and impersonal at times. He prefers to connect with his patients directly. "I'm always accessible to my patients, because that's what I do. This isn't a job for me ... this is my life and I love it."

On a daily basis Dr. John Zamarra is known for being dedicated to his pa ...

John Kim

Position: Chief Medical Officer / Senior Medical Officer

Organization: Alignment Health Plan / Alignment Healthcare


Dr. Kim is a true patient advocate, ensuring that each and every patient of his receives the best possible course of treatment to keep them living comfortably at home. He makes sure every aspect of their care is addressed, because that is how doctors should care for seniors. He recounted a health assessment he recently had with a patient who has diabetes and had had a stroke prior to the appointment: “I went on with our Jump Start questions and physical examination and, eventually, I got to hi ...

Phyllis Everstine Hayes-Reams, MD

Position: Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of Hospice and Palliative Care Services at KP Southbay Medical Center

Organization: Kaiser South Bay


* She is one of the most outstanding individuals that I've ever met.

* She cares for seniors and hospice patients like no other.

* She goes above and beyond to provide care and support to every single patient and her team of doctors, social workers, chaplains, and nurses.

* In her personal life she goes the extra mile to help the unfortunate and the ones in need.

* She is an ordained minister.
*She is the Immediate Past Board Chair of the Weingart Lakewood YMCA Branch
* She is a newl ...

Dr. Helene Calvet M.D.

Position: Deputy County Health Officer

Organization: County of Orange Health Care Agency


Dr. Calvet said, "I have loved being around older adults all my life because they have amazing stories!" She started as the Deputy County Health Officer in 2007. It seemed that everyone was focused on children health issues, while important, she really felt that she would like to focus much more on the health of older adults. Through her passion for older adults, she has been instrumental in developing the OC Healthy Aging Initiative that created an Annual Wellness toolkit, which hel ...

Joey Gee

Position: Neurology

Organization: St Joseph Health System


He has provided treatment programs that have eased the emotional burdens of patients , families coping with dementia.

Dung Trinh


Organization: Memorial Care


He provides help to seniors and families coping with Alzheimer's Disease. He works diligently with organizations like Alzheimer's Orange County that provides services at no charge.

Winston Chung

Position: Dr. Internal Medicine

Organization: Prohealth Partners


I can tell you so many stories, but there is no way i'll finish today. so I'm just making sure that you understand his passion and caring skills to treat the elderly. There are doctors and there are doctors, Dr. Chung is the exception, he goes above and beyond to take care of his patients, specially, the fragile and elderly. if there is a Hero, Dr. Chung is the one!


Outstanding Executive Director (back to top)

Elena Bor

Position: Owner and Administrator

Organization: Amazing Grace & Care


Elena felt her calling for seniors while she was working at her first job in the United States. As she put it, “I just knew I must help; I have to help them in their last years.” She loves communicating with seniors, and doesn’t want anyone to be alone or neglected. So even though she is the owner and Administrator, she is totally hands-on when it comes to caring for her residents. This is shown in the story she tells of one of past residents and one of her newer residents.

In 2010, just ...

Anwar M. Saeed

Position: Executive Director/ Administrator

Organization: Alicia Care


A humble man, Dr. Saeed will tell you he has opened his heart and mind to those in his care as well as those who work alongside him. He speaks of the many residents he has had in his home over the years, and each story is spoken with love and respect. He carries in his heart those who have since passed, while committed to caring for those in his charge today. He embodies the unique qualities of sensitivity, empathy and ability to instill a sense of hope, which distinguishes him and makes him w ...

Kathryn Miles

Position: Executive Director

Organization: Jewish Family & Children Services - Long Beach & West Orange County


I first meet Kathryn a few years ago at the dining table, in the home of our mutual patients who were going through a rough patch in life. This particular home belonged to a charming elderly couple, who as young children survived the nightmare that was Auschwitz. They both lost the majority of their families in the holocaust, but found the silver lining in each other, persevered and made a new life in America. Here, almost 70 years later they are now members and beneficiaries of JFCS Long Beach. ...

Kristina Watanabe-Hylton

Position: Executive Director

Organization: The Groves of Tustin


Kristina is an amazing executive director, She has the respect of all her staff because she leads by example. She takes the time to get to know all the residents that move into the building, and she makes it a point spend time with the residents by participating in activities with them. Our residents love Kristina because they know that they are welcome to come to her for any issues that they might have, and that she will diligently work to get any of their issues resolved as soon as possible. K ...

Sonia Patricia Garcia Francia

Position: Administrator

Organization: Guardian Angels Homes


Not only are Sonia's homes beautifully run due to her superb training of staff, they are beautiful to look at. Among RCFE owners, her places are considered tops in the county. In addition, she gives of her time to help families and professionals alike, who need her excellent council and advice. She has served over eight years on the Board of the Alzheimer's Association, and has been a committee member of its Multicultural Outreach Committee.

Gladys Somera RN

Position: Director of Patient Care Services

Organization: A-1 Home Health Care


Gladys Somera began her nursing career in 2006 as an LVN (licensed vocational nurse) and worked her way up to get her RN degree. Upon graduation from nursing school she moved to staff nurse on orthopedic and medical surgical inpatient rehabilitation units.

Passion for Home Health was ignited in her following her mother’s unforeseen severe stroke in 2009. As a young nurse and a daughter who was primary caregiver of her mother, she saw firsthand how difficult a life becomes for patients and th ...

Yolanda Van Dyke

Position: Director of Walks

Organization: Alzheimers Association


Yolanda is an absolute hero! Wonder woman is what I like to call her. She oversees not only Orange County but Los Angeles as well. She has such a tremendous heart and passion for finding a cure for this disease. Her energy is contagious and there is not a moment in the day when she is not dedicated to working and continuing this fight for a world without Alzheimer's.

Laurie Zagon

Position: Founder/Executive Director

Organization: Art & Creativity for Healing, Inc.


Laurie Zagon works endlessly to provide healing art to those in need. She has a passion for providing Art4Healing® workshops to seniors; she believes they have a lot to express when it comes to dealing with the challenges of aging. One participant of an Art4Healing workshop at a Senior Center in Laguna Hills said, “The workshop had a meaningful impact on my life. It was the first time that I could express my feelings with colors. It made me get to know myself better”.

This is what Laurie s ...


Outstanding Senior Care Professional (back to top)

Gavin Ward

Position: Regional Director of Strategy and Partnerships

Organization: 24Hr HomeCare


Gavin is truly a thought leader and a key innovator in the senior care space. Through the aforementioned programs and initiatives that Gavin has developed, he is helping to impact senior's lives on a daily basis by providing data-driven solutions to health systems that ultimately help seniors get wider access to the care they need so that they can remain in their homes. Gavin has spearheaded monumental Care Transition pilot programs with the goal of keeping seniors in the home that no oth ...

Fredy Dominguez

Position: Director of Community Relations

Organization: Attentive Home Care


Fredy came from very humble beginnings, facing many challenges, but he always follow his father’s advice; with hard work and dedication you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. In his younger years, his family was struggling and there wasn't enough money for him to attend school. At age of 14, Fredy had to drop out of school and move to the ranch to assist his dad and provide for the family. While his parents believed that Fredy didn't want to continue school, the real reas ...

Kim Kochan

Position: VP, Medical Management

Organization: AppleCare Medical Group


Despite many years in the changing and demanding field of health care, Kim still maintains her passion and energy, encouraging her staff to do their best. She is a strong mentor, educator, and friend to her many staff and equally comfortable working with medical management staff, physicians, patients and families. Part of the reason is her ability to set a positive tone, make others comfortable, and her secret technique—a sense of humor that breaks the ice! She is known for her openness to cha ...

Bill Boylan

Position: Senior Chaplain

Organization: St. Jude Medical Center


Victoria developed Stage Four breast cancer and spent many weeks at the St. Jude Cancer Center where Bill frequently met with she and her frightened and often quarrelsome family members. As is Chaplain Bill's way, he skillfully smoothed hurt and angry feelings, all the while helping to make Victoria comfortable with her future and her family. Chaplain Bill believes in the "No One Dies Alone" philosophy and when he heard that 93-year old Frank was dying and there were no friends o ...

Raad Ghantous

Position: Founder/President

Organization: RG&Associates/Home for a Lifetime


Raad is a champion of the people, fighting for senior rights, issues, and topics that affect all of us as we age. He is a community servant with a heart of gold that never stops beating towards the greater good of others. He is the Global Health & Wellness Ambassador promoting good health for senior and for all those to age well with dignity and respect. Also, Co-founded/Director of the Spanish Village Foundation, a non-profit 501-C-3 in San Clemente: the Spanish Village by the Sea with the ...

Rev. El Roy Pankow

Position: Associate Pastor

Organization: Wilshire Ave. Community Church, Fullerton


I have known Pastor Pankow for over 30 years and have never seen him without a smile on his face and a positive, energetic attitude. This positive spirit is contagious to all he comes in contact with. He goes beyond genuinely caring for the welfare of his elderly members and inspires them to continue using their lives to serve their community and others less fortunate. It is humbling and awe-inspiring to hear of retired seniors as old as 98 serving as volunteers on mission trips to poverty-stric ...

Deborah Delilah Pierson

Position: Care Placement Advis

Organization: Parentis Health


Deborah was recomended to me when we needed caretakers quickly for my husband. She and other leaders in her company showed up at the rehab facility within only a few hours. Her level of service continued to be that good only exceeded by her genuine caring for the patient and his wife (me).

Jackie Mark

Position: Advocacy Coordinator

Organization: Alzheimer's Orange County


Jackie is tireless, creative, efficient, tenacious, and inspiring. She has displayed excellent leadership skills in recruiting volunteers and interns to rally around the issues important to the older adults we serve. Her energy toward community development and building coalitions of previously unrelated groups and individuals is evidenced in her extremely successful grassroots fundraising efforts, e.g. the annual "Send Alzheimer's to the Dark Side" event.
She began as unpaid stude ...