December 20, 2011
Nurse Maryann Collins, a patient-care coordinator at Hackensack University Medical Center, has received a national award for her work with HIV/AIDS patients during the past 25 years. Collins was one of five individuals honored with Bristol-Myers Squibb's "Five Years, Five Heroes" award. "Maryann is a true humanitarian, seeking to diminish the stereotypes and stigmas in our communities that have plagued people living with HIV through education and compassion," said Robert C. Garrett, the hospital's president and CEO. "She and her staff help to alleviate fear and anxiety, as well as answer the many questions that our patients may have with a diagnosis." In addition to her job at Hackensack, Collins volunteers with Buddies of NJ, an HIV/AIDS support organization. Thirteen years ago, she launched a World AIDS Day program for teenagers; it is now used by more than 15 schools. The five winners will be the subject of a documentary and will receive free trips to New York City.