Two exemplary MGH employees – Debra Aponte, a Spanish interpreter for the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center, and Alessandra Peccei, MD, obstetrician/gynecologist and attending physician for the Chelsea and Revere health care centers – were named the 2008 winners of the Ernesto González Award for Outstanding Service to the Latino Community at an Oct. 14 ceremony held in the Thier Conference Room. Aponte and Peccei were recognized for their contributions to Latino-based initiatives within or outside the hospital.
A member of Interpreter Services and an outreach worker and health educator, Aponte has developed a strong connection between MGH Charlestown and the Latino community. She has helped create a Latino educational health series, which has provided education, networking and a support system for many Charlestown Latina women. She also has helped to coordinate programming to educate at-risk teens about health education and careers.
With approximately 85 percent of the women served in Chelsea of Latino origin, Peccei – a culturally sensitive provider – has recognized the specific needs of Latina women, making available "parteras," or midwives, which are the cultural norm for many South and Central American women. She also has worked to ensure that culturally appropriate outreach workers are available to all pregnant women. The González Award has become the signature event of Latino Heritage Month. The award, named for Ernesto González, MD, of MGH Dermatology, acknowledges MGHers who, like González, have made lasting contributions to the Latino community.
OUTSTANDING SERVICE: From left, González, Aponte and Peccei