On Oct. 5, several members of Children’s Hospital Central California’s pediatric hematology team attended an elegant luncheon presented by the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) to recognize remarkable and distinguished individuals in the bleeding and clotting disorders community. Over 2,800 participants attended the event held in Anaheim during the NHF’s 65th annual meeting.
“This year was especially exciting,” said Frances Patterson, RN, hematology, Children’s Hospital. Patterson had secretly nominated Nancy Hatcher, MSW, a social worker in the hematology practice at Children’s, for the 2013 Jill Solomon Award for Excellence in Social Work. “I tried to keep it a secret as long as possible,” said Patterson. “Nancy didn’t know she’d won until that day.”
“This is a very prestigious award,” said Dr. Vinod Balasa, medical director of pediatric hematology/ oncology at Children's. “Nancy was selected from among an elite group of social workers that cares for hemophilia patients all across the United States. All who know Nancy know how deserving she is of this award.”
“It was overwhelming,” said Hatcher of learning about the honor. “You do what you can however you can.” She smiled and shook her head in disbelief. “You simply do the best you can.”
Described as resourceful, well read, intelligent, inquisitive, confident and gregarious, Hatcher has tirelessly contributed her time and energy to improve the lives of those affected with bleeding and clotting disorders.
Hatcher earned her Master of Social Work at the University of Michigan in 1972. She joined Children’s Hospital in 1996, and was one of the initial hematology staff members to help establish a federally designated Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) at Children’s, making it the only pediatric HTC between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Hatcher has organized countless educational and family-centered activities for the HTC, and has volunteered thousands of hours at Camp Hemotion and family camps for HTC patients and their families.
“Nancy is a tremendous asset,” said Tony Yamamoto, director of social work and interpretive services, Children’s Hospital. “The families are very grateful to her and very appreciative for everything that she’s done. She goes clearly above and beyond the call of duty.”
With over 15 years’ experience treating children diagnosed with bleeding and clotting disorders, Hatcher has been a strong advocate and trusted ally on behalf of her patients and their families. “The work I’m doing has value,” she said. “I love working here at Children’s and really enjoy this department. We keep our sights on what we’re here for: to provide excellent care and service to the children who come through our doors, many of whom have genetically inherited, life-long diseases with no cure and few treatment options. The lives of these children and their families can be so impacted by a bleeding disorder that – if left untreated – can be life threatening. Our focus is on helping a family have an excellent quality of life by providing for the child’s medical and psychosocial needs.”
“Nancy is a social worker’s social worker,” said Terea Giannetta, chief nurse practitioner, Children’s Hospital. “She is going to attack every single problem that you can imagine. She is going to be in there, digging and butting heads with whomever, but she is definitely out to really protect those who can’t protect themselves and to provide the services that people need.”
Hatcher’s ability to improve awareness of bleeding disorders goes beyond our local community. She remains active at the state level and has served on Western Region committees. Her international advocacy includes working with the minister of health in Cambodia and personally delivering hemophilia medical supplies to the National Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh, a small health station on the Amazon River in Costa Rica and a women’s and children’s center in Tanzania. Hatcher has also made arrangements for medical supplies to be delivered to Kenya.
"Nancy is a founding member of the Ethics Advisory Committee of NHF, which reviews ethical issues and presents papers at national and regional meetings,” said Giannetta. “She helps identify and advise on ethical issues affecting the bleeding disorders community that have been presented for review. Nancy just wants things to be above board and right and when you have somebody who works that hard to make it right, it’s going to come out well.”
“Receiving an award like this is not something done in a vacuum,” said Hatcher. “None of what I do could I do by myself. I’m surrounded by people who are positive, have energy and care about people. I’m very blessed to be surrounded by committed people who support and embrace the mission of this Hospital.”
Children’s Hospital Central California is proud to congratulate Nancy Hatcher on receiving the great honor of being selected by the NHF as winner of the 2013 Jill Solomon Award for Excellence in Social Work.