ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- Paula Gutierrez, of Englewood, recently received the Early Careerist Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives for her work as transplant coordinator at NJ Sharing Network.
This honor recognizes ACHE affiliates who have significantly contributed toward the advancement of healthcare management excellence.
"Our transplant coordinators are the backbone of our organization," said NJ Sharing Network President and CEO Joe Roth. "Each day, they live the mission of NJ Sharing Network.
"Paula has excelled in her roles at NJ Sharing Network and the Early Careerist Award is well deserved. She continues to exceed expectations, inspire staff and touch the lives of countless families."
At NJ Sharing Network, Gutierrez was a donation resource coordinator and hospital services manager before becoming transplant coordinator.
In that role, she works with families of organ and tissue donors, assembles the clinical teams for surgery and facilitates the allocation of organs for transplant. She works 10-12 24-hour shifts every month, and she said she's inspired by the families she meets.
In the wake of a traumatic event, I am able to share a positive moment with a family – that their loved one is able to give the most precious gift and save someone's life. My job is extremely humbling and rewarding. I am often fortunate to continue relationships with donor families by staying connected through text, email or letters. It's an emotional yet gratifying position to know that I am helping families through what can be one of the most difficult times of their life.
Gutierrez also supports families outside of her professional duties. Every year, she participates annually in NJ Sharing Network's 5K Celebration of Life, which brings together thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers, honoring donors, recipients and those who died while waiting for a transplant, and giving hope to those who are currently waiting.
NJ Sharing Network notes that more than 120,000 people are currently waiting for a transplant -- and 22 die each day -- but a single organ donor can save up to eight lives, and a one tissue donor can restore health to over 75 people.
In New Jersey alone, there are 4,000 people on the waiting list and one person dies every three days waiting. Residents can help save lives by registering as organ and tissue donors, having a conversation with family and friends and joining NJ Sharing Network at its upcoming events.
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