RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County
40 Watchung Way, Berkeley Heights NJ 07922

FOR RELEASE: February 21, 2012
CONTACT: Margaret “Peggy” Salisbury (908) 771-5730
Norma T. Sheld (908) 771-5815

National Activity Professionals’ Week at RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital


Freeholder Vernell Wright, Union, liaison to RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital (front row, 2nd from left) presented a resolution from the Freeholders honoring the Activities Therapy staff to Patricia Scott, AD, BA, CRS (Certified Recreation Supervisor), Director of Activities Therapy and Volunteer Services, also Union (front row, center). Joining them were Joan I. Wheeler, M.S.N., R.N., L.N.H.A., RUNNELLS Administrator (front row, 2nd from right) and Activities Therapy staff: (Standing) Julie O’Connell, Principle Clerk/Typist, North Plainfield; Ana Gonzalez, Recreation Therapy Aide, Elizabeth; Albert Hendricks, Recreation Therapy Aide, Plainfield; Vincenzia Beaty, Senior Recreation Therapist, Cliffwood; Kara Nistorenko, Recreation Therapist, Watchung; Daniela DeFronzo, B.A., MT-BC, Music Therapist, Board-Certified, Springfield; Keri Burns-Woessner, B.A., Recreation Therapist, Warren; Salomi Massaras, M.Ed., MT-BC, Music Therapist, Rockaway, Michael McGaughy, MT-BC Music Therapist, North Plainfield; Jamie B. Granato, B.A., Recreation Therapy Aide, Scotch Plains and Sandra Adour, MSW, LCSW, LNHA, Director of Professional and Support Services. (Seated) Alice Jackson, Recreation Therapy Aide, Plainfield; (left) and Carol Michalowski, Recreation Therapy Aide, Woodbridge (right). (Not in photo: Bridgette Jordan, Recreation Therapy Aide, Scotch Plains; Susan*, M.A., ATR, Recreation Therapist; Debbie*, MSW, M.A., Recreation Therapist; Zalak*, B.S., Recreation Therapist, and Jaimee Hawkins*, M.S., Assistant Director of Activities Therapy.

National Activity Professionals’ Week (January 22-28th) was celebrated at RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County. This annual January event, declared by the National Association of Activity Professionals was instituted to recognize the contributions of Activity Professionals in adult communities. The theme this year was “Staying in Tune With Activities. Events at RUNNELLS for 2012 included a “Zumba fitness class,” “RUNNELLS T-shirt Day” for team spirit, “Bingo Bonanza” and “Music and Medicine Through Song.”

“The Activity Professionals of Runnells Specialized Hospital make a significant contribution to enriching the lives of their patients and residents,” commented Union County Freeholder Vernell Wright. “They provide a diverse array of programs related to community involvement/service, mental stimulation and recreation. The innovative programs are also related to spiritual, intellectual, creative and physical well being. All types of activities are offered related to maintaining normal life pursuits.”

Activities provided by the Activities Therapy professionals of RUNNELLS Hospital are designed to meet the therapeutic needs of individuals in their care. The program may look like fun and games, but their underlying value is the maintenance of a healthy, active mental outlook which relates to an improved quality of life. The activities can improve skills including mobility and gross motor skills; increase socialization and enhance memory recall creativity.

“Together with the other Freeholders, I was pleased to declare January 22nd to the 28th ‘Activity Professionals Week in Union County,’ ” added Wright. “I want the public to know about the value of the role these vital professionals play on RUNNELLS’ interdisciplinary team. The team provides the quality care that RUNNELLS is renowned for year after year.”