Our Front line Heroes

This tribute highlights our local first responders & healthcare professionals fighting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). No matter the background, country of origin or ethnicity, these heroes have answered our Nation's call during this pandemic and without their dedicated service, we would not be able to fight this invisible enemy.

Humberto Lizardo

Security Manager 

Jersey City Medical Center RWJBarnabas Health


During the COVID-19 pandemic, security staff at Jersey City Medical Center not only continued to provide security and safety to all patients and employees but also assisted other areas and departments through some of the most difficult days they have ever experienced. Managing this team, with a smile and a “Can Do” attitude was Humberto Lizardo.

Mariana Escate

Registered Dietician

Jersey City Medical Center

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As a Registered Dietician, Mariana plays an important role in providing dietary/nutritional services to patients. When the hospital experienced a surge in COVID-19 patients, Mariana was assigned to the first COVID-19 designated unit and had to pivot from the patient base she was accustomed to and provide critical care nutrition to COVID-19 positive patients.  One of the most remarkable attributes during any crisis is the ability and perseverance to “go above and beyond”.  Mariana is the perfect example of a frontline hero who thought of her co-workers and was the first to volunteer to help in other units to assure sufficient coverage.

Carmen Papa

Registered Nurse

Jersey City Medical Center CTICU (critical care/intensive care)

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As a part-time Registered Nurse Carmen Papa didn’t think twice when the pandemic hit & additional staffing was needed.  Carmen asked to be scheduled extra shifts and worked overtime to accommodate the urgent need to help the nursing team during the COVID-19 crisis.  A strong advocate for communication between patients and their families helping implement the use of iPads to FaceTime so families were involved in the patient’s plan of care or end of life preparations.  Bilingual, carmen was instrumental in reaching out to patients’ families,  not assigned to her unit, to facilitate communication. At times, this meant helping patients reach friends & relatives out of the country.  While caring for patients at the hospital, she was also working through a personal loss, losing her best friend to COVID-19. Yet, she still continued to work and provided compassionate care to her patients.

Alex Miller

Registered Nurse

Jersey City Medical Center

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When faced with any challenge, Alex Miller, RN, a daytime ICU nurse at Jersey City Medical Center proved that she was a true member of the nursing team and willing to jump in wherever she was needed.  When the hospital had to care for an additional number of patients, Alex volunteered to work extra hours to help meet the need.  She was also training a new staff member and did so without complaint while still caring for patients during the crisis. Alex maintained a professional demeanor while being present for some of the most demanding, challenging days in the unit. She never lost sight and always took the extra time needed to speak to families during their time of need.

Jessica Zignam

Registered Nurse

Jersey City Medical Center

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As a newly hired employee, Jessica Zigman graduated her nursing program and completed her orientation at Jersey City Medical Center in time to fearlessly jump onto the frontline to help provide care for COVID-19 positive patients. She chose nursing as her calling and without reservation committed her time and attention to her team and her patients, working both day and night shifts without complaint. Wherever the need, Jessica was there to help staff during this crisis.  Although Jessica worked tirelessly to help her patients, she did so in stride -always remaining positive.

Jacqueline DePietro

Registered Nurse

Jersey City Medical Center Emergency Department

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According to Webster's dictionary (2020), a heroine is a mythological or legendary woman often of divine descent having great strength or ability; a woman admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities. During unprecedented times, a true heroine emerged from Jersey City Medical Center. Her name is Jacqueline DePietro. She is one of JCMC’s night charge nurses. She supported all of her team members but most importantly she was able to keep a positive attitude and a smile, which uplifted the team and her patients. This pandemic has changed many facets of life; However, it did not change the call of duty for nursing; Instead, it has amplified it. Jackie managed the trenches of the E.R Department daily, working extra-long hours.  Demonstrating true professionalism and compassion while caring for acutely ill covid and non-Covid-19 patients.  Her actions are a true example of the best of nursing as a profession.  

Eric Gaston

Environmental Services

Jersey City Medical Center RWJBarnabas Health

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On the frontline, Environmental service staff members are the first line of defense making sure common areas, to patient rooms are clean and sanitized. Eric Gaston went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic, including adhering to PPE safety measures and shaving the beard he had for over 10 years. Eric coped with the new environment with grace and with a great attitude and demeanor. At times, that meant working doubles, and adjusting to new areas that needed additional cleaning.  Eric was always on the job, never calling out for a scheduled shift and always showed up on time with a great attitude, and ready to do whatever was needed to care for our patients.

Dr. Gabriel Evaristo Escate

Registered Dietician

Jersey City Medical Center

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Dr. Evaristo was an invaluable asset in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Anticipating the importance of staffing, he created a modified clinicians’ coverage schedule at the outset of the pandemic with the goal of creating two separate clinical teams that would not be exposed to one another – all with the goal of reducing COVID-19 exposure/illness while still providing necessary patient care to non-Covid patients. Jersey City Medical Center was still able to continue providing OBGYN inpatient care without interruption during the crisis.  Dr. Evaristo demonstrated true professionalism and leadership skills.

Zadith Pino

Admin. Director- Cardiac Services

Jersey City Medical Center RWJBarnabas Health

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When the hospital experienced a surge of patients in the ICU, Zadith knew she could be of help and volunteered to work any hours that were needed. It was typical to find Zadith in the middle of the day, taking time away from her desk to join the most critical units to assist with patient and family communication, including Face-timing patients’ families, and importantly Latino families who really appreciated the ability to communicate with a staff member who spoke  their preferred language.

Thank you