NEW YORK CITY, May 12, 2021 — During a virtual awards ceremony today, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and the Robbins Family Foundation recognized eight distinguished MSK staff members and one team for their exemplary service. Each member was honored with the 2021 Robbins Family Award for Nursing Excellence. The virtual awards ceremony took place today, Monday, May 12, at 8:30 AM ET, to commemorate National Nurses Week (May 6–12).

For the second consecutive year, the Robbins Family Foundation has sponsored these awards to honor extraordinary achievements by MSK nurses and their contributions to MSK’s mission. The award winners are nominated by fellow nurses, administrators, and physicians.

“Once again, we are so honored to have Clifton S. Robbins, a member of MSK’s Board of Trustees, and his family graciously give their support to our annual Excellence in Nursing Award program. This has been a very special week for our nursing staff who truly have gone above and beyond for our patients over the past year,” said Elizabeth McCormick, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of MSK. “We are appreciative to the Robbins Family Foundation for their generous support and leadership. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the over 5,000 nurses who have continuously given extraordinary care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. MSK nurses continue to showcase the vital and powerful role nurses play in our patients’ lives every day. They stay committed to our mission of providing safe and exceptional care.”

“Memorial Sloan Kettering nurses play an indispensable role in giving the finest care to their patients. This dedication never wavers, even during the most challenging times,” said Clifton S. Robbins. “The Robbins Family Foundation is proud to support this recognition program and honor these exceptional nurses.”

MSK’s nursing leadership has been committed to empowering nurses for decades, emphasizing the importance of engagement with their work and giving them an abundance of autonomy. In November 2020, for the second time, MSK received Magnet Recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Bestowed every four years, it’s the highest national honor for nursing, given to only about 8 percent of hospitals nationwide. The ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes healthcare organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. In the 2020 designation, the ANCC cited 12 exemplars — specific examples that highlight excellence in nursing — well beyond the impressive seven that MSK received in 2016. “MSK is the epitome of a learning organization,” said the ANCC in its report, highlighting the many programs that help nurses develop professionally.

2021 Robbins Family Award for Nursing Excellence honorees:


Excellence in Patient Experience  

Tamara Strah, DNP, RN, CNOR

Perioperative Nurse Liaison

Josie Robertson Surgical Center


Excellence in Advancing the Nursing Profession

Debra O'Shea, MSN, RN, AOCNS®, EBP-C

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Outpatient Leukemia Service


Excellence in Innovation 

Jericho Garcia, MSN, RN-BC

Nursing Informatics Specialist

Nursing Informatics


Excellence in Mentorship

Nancy M. Borzain, MA, RN, OCN, NE-BC

Clinical Supervisor


Excellence in Nursing Partnership

Julio Eugenio

Environmental Service Porter


Excellence in Clinical Nursing Leadership

Melody Rosamilia, MSN, RN, OCN

Clinical Nurse IV


Excellence in Nursing Support

Venessa Rubano

Patient Care Technician


Excellence in Humanitarian Efforts

Tracey O'Keeffe Ramponi, BSN, RN, CCRN

Clinical Nurse III

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit


Excellence in Collaboration

Rapid Technology Innovation in Response to COVID-19

  • You ‘Jay’ Chung, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN-K, Program Manager
  • Hector DeJesus, Technical Project Manager
  • Melissa Zimmermann, MS, BSN, RN-BC, Nursing Informatics Specialist
  • Tham Nguyen, MSN, RN-BC, Nursing Informatics Specialist
  • Dave Vang, MSN, RN, Nursing Clinical Analyst
  • Eric Froehlich, MS, BSN, RN-BC, Nursing Clinical Analyst
  • Tania Bubb, PhD, RN, Director, Infection Control
  • Ashley Jackson, Biomed Manager
  • Jennifer Larbi, Engineering Specialist II
  • Vyacheslav Belovsky, Engineering Specialist III
  • Sergey Kovalev, Engineering Specialist III
  • Jeff Francisquini, Senior Manager, Information Systems
  • Joyce Burkett, IT Team Lead, Information Systems
  • Thomas Cheng, Senior Application Analyst, Information Systems
  • Michelle Rausen, Technical Director
  • Michelle Cavuoto, MA, RN, OCN, CNIV, Memorial 18
  • Andrew Graham, DNP, RN, PCCN-K, Nurse Leader, Memorial 18
  • Yekaterina “Kate” Tayban, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, GNP-BC, Critical Care
  • Jay Isbell, MD, Assistant Attending, Thoracic Surgery




About Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK): 

As the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, Memorial Sloan Kettering has devoted more than 135 years to exceptional patient care, influential educational programs, and innovative research to discover more effective strategies to prevent, control and, ultimately, cure cancer. MSK is home to more than 20,000 physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff united by a relentless dedication to conquering cancer. Today, we are one of 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, with state-of-the-art science and technology supporting groundbreaking clinical studies, personalized treatment, and compassionate care for our patients. We also train the next generation of clinical and scientific leaders in oncology through our continually evolving educational programs, here and around the world. Year after year, we are ranked among the top two cancer hospitals in the country, consistently recognized for our expertise in adult and pediatric oncology specialties.