Employee Awards and Accolades

Employees honored for live-saving efforts

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Five Stairways Behavioral Health staff members from two different clinical programs were honored as May Employees of the Month for performing heroic acts on clients in life-threatening situations.

Drug and Alcohol clinic staff Andrea Zieber, Edna Stickell, Lianna Koser and Carly Miller all responded quickly to an unresponsive client in late April. Immediately after observing that the client was not breathing, staff began chest compressions and administered Narcan spray until emergency personnel arrived.

Zieber, Stickell and Koser, counselors at the D&A clinic, and Miller, a medical assistant, each played a vital role in the emergency by communicating and working together as a team as well as providing every intervention available at their disposal.

Kyle McQueeney, a blended case manager, also faced a potential fatal emergency and likewise responded in exemplary fashion.

McQueeney encountered a situation in which one of the clients he works with expressed suicidal thoughts and tried to take his life by consuming a bottle of pills. Kyle was quick to respond and contact 911, state police and crisis services. Without McQueeney’s intervention, his client would have likely died.

Stairways’ skilled employees regularly demonstrate the composure necessary in responding to emergency situations.

Each Employee of the Month was nominated by their supervisor.

SBH staff honored at17th Annual Employee Recognition Celebration

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Amy Brocious was honored as the Laura Wallerstein and Jerry Cline Distinguished Service Award winner at Stairways Behavioral Health’s annual employee recognition ceremony Wednesday morning at the Bel-Aire Conference Center.

Employees and guests, including board members and Stairways founding volunteers Walter and Joan Harf, were on hand to celebrate the Distinguished Service Award winner and honor those who reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years-of-service milestones in 2016.

Brocious, pictured with Ross Jervis, director of Rehabilitation Services, became the 26th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award since its inception in 1996. Jervis presented Brocious with the award, named after Stairways founder Laura Wallerstein and the late Jerry Cline, a longtime human resources director. The honor is bestowed upon the employee who best exemplifies the mission, vision and values of Stairways.

The director of Stairways Blended Case Management services, Brocious has also worked as a case manager and. Due to her experience and diverse skillset, her accomplishments have drawn acclaim from coworkers and others in the mental health community.

Colleagues cite her unyielding work ethic and compassion for clients as a driving force in her work at Stairways. Brocious was nominated by 11 co-workers. Her nomination stated that “Amy has a combination of so many qualities, but her greatest quality is that of a loving heart.”

Special congratulations also went to Chris Knoll, director of Health Information, and Norm Davis, a rehabilitation coordinator at Stairways’ Residential Treatment Facility for Adults, who each reached 30 years at Stairways in 2016.

Also among those honored with special service anniversaries of 25 years were development specialist Juanita Gangemi and Electronic Medical Records Manager Scott Morgan.

Curtis and Catledge named Employees of the Month

Thursday, March 16, 2017

John Curtis and Natasha Catledge have been recognized as the Stairways employees of the month for January and February.

Curtis helped de-escalate a potentially difficult situation involving a client while attending the front desk at Stairways Forensic Outpatient Clinic. FOP operations manager Connie Weaver-Sauers nominated Curtis for the honor.

Catledge was also credited for performing a heroic act when she assisted a client whom she suspected of overdosing.

While visiting with the client, Catledge, a rehabilitation specialist in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation, observed that they were unable to stand or speak. She immediately called Stairways’ Mobile Medication Management program for assistance and then 911 despite the client’s protests.

While being transported to the hospital, the client stopped breathing and needed resusication. Without Catledge’s foresight and action, the individual may not have survived.

Fairweather Lodge supervisor Tina Loomis nominated Catledge for the recognition.

Nurses honored as employees of the month

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stairways employees Ed Cunningham, Sue Ferraro and Carrie Lydic recently earned recognition for their excellence on the job by being named Employees of the Month.

All licensed practical nurses in the Mobile Medication Monitoring program, Cunningham, Ferraro and Lydic garnered the distinction for the month of June. Cunningham was also recognized for performing a life-saving act in May.

After receiving cryptic text messages one evening from a client he was scheduled to meet with the next day, Cunningham called him, and while talking, deduced that he was despondent and had taken a bottle of pills. Cunningham remained calm and had the individual unlock their apartment door and stay awake while he used another phone to dispatch paramedics. All the while, he stayed on the phone with the client until the ambulance arrived.

Following a stay on the Intensive Care unit, the client was transferred to another hospital floor to receive further treatment.

As a group, Cunningham, Ferraro and Lydic were honored for consistently meeting and exceeding their responsibilities. They not only assist clients with their concerns but also help educate the staff on issues clients might be facing.

The nurses have taken on additional responsibilities in addition to their nursing duties and are often willing to work late or come in on weekends. Cunningham, Ferraro and Lydic have had a great impact on the Mobile Medication Monitoring program by ensuring that the program’s productivity remains high thanks to their commitment and work ethic.

Mobile Medication Monitoring supervisor Julie Belton nominated the nurses for the accolade.

Stairways holds 17th Annual Employee Recognition Celebration

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blended Case Manager Laurie Bizzarro was honored as the Laura Wallerstein and Jerry Cline Distinguished Service Award winner at Stairways Behavioral Health’s annual employee recognition ceremony Tuesday morning at the Bel-Aire Conference Center.

Employees and guests attended the ceremony to announce the Distinguished Service Award winner and honor those who reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35-years-of-service milestones in 2015.

Bizzarro, left, with Stairways case manager team leader Kelly Roberts, became the 25th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award since its inception in 1996. The award, named after Stairways founder Laura Wallerstein and the late Jerry Cline, a longtime human resources director, is bestowed upon the employee who best exemplifies the mission, vision and values of Stairways.

A veteran case manager, Bizzarro often works with transition age youths. Due to her experience and knowledge, she has gained a reputation as a skilled professional throughout the Erie area.

In addition to her duties as case manager, Bizzarro has also made impactful contributions in community outreach by visiting local inpatient hospital units where she explains to people suffering from mental illness the treatment options available at Stairways.

She also organizes a dinner for clients at the Zukor Club each Thanksgiving and has secured substantial donations for Stairways.  

Bizzarro was nominated by four co-workers. Her nomination stated that “Laurie’s natural inclination is always to help people, an endeavor she holds so dearly that she often goes beyond her work requirements to do so.”

Special congratulations also went to Hank Krol (pictured right with Director of Treatment Services Becky Clark) and Tom Kirkwood, who reached 35 and 30 years, respectively, at Stairways. Also among those with special service anniversaries being honored were Dave Neubert and Kathy Thomas-Ibemere, each for 25 years.

Employees celebrating 20 years of service were Edward Cunningham, Chrystal Drain, Lisa Gingenbach, Marilyn Goss, Melanie Hake, Julie Harman, Theresa Jordan, Debbie King, Kevin McCaslin and Jennifer Wright.

Those who reached 15 years of service were Rebecca Clark, Tricia Cloyd, Mary Custer, Ralph Dieter, Joe Hockenberry, Margaret Mechlenburg, Barbara Sala and Sharon Sandberg.

The group who has completed 10 years of employment is Lisa Betts, Kerry Dieter-Roward, William Hilliard, Alicia Hodges, Kathleen Horan, Jill Hughes, Celeste McCallum, Stephanie Montgomery, Stephanie Rice and Edna Stickell.

Donna Bartoo, Kimberlea Casey, Laura Deal, Catherine Fischer, Betty Fleming, Deanna Kosarek, Dr. Meghan McCarthy, Sheila Mooney, Samantha Nichols, Dr. Jason Rock, Rachael Ross, Stephanie Sherman, Patricia Smith, Belinda Stillman and Laura Waugaman composed the group of employees reaching five years of service.

Those who were named Employees of the Month were also recognized at the ceremony: Alfonso Pickens (April); Stephanie Montgomery (May); Joan Rowland (June); Jamey Gamble (July); Debra Sardini (August); John Sushereba (September); Kari Papinchak (October); Josh Thayer (October) and Bev Wright (November).

Stairways was also honored to host founding volunteers Joan and Walter Harf as well as new Board of Directors members Mary Ellen Dahlkemper and the Hon. Ernest J. DiSantis.

Stairways Behavioral Health names Heather McBrier to executive team

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Stairways welcomes Heather McBrier as our new Business Development Director for BLOOM Collaborative, Stairways' arts and wellness program located at 138 East 26th Street. McBrier joins Stairways' executive team, and will act as project manager with a focus on development, business strategy and sustainability for BLOOM Collaborative's programs and community partnerships.

McBrier holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, finance and marketing from the University of Denver, CO, Daniel's School of Business. Her background and experience is comprehensive, including business analysis, advertising, market research and development. McBrier has been a successful business owner for over 10 years in Erie. Her company, McBrier Events, specializes in fundraising, event management and project management.

McBrier has worked with a number of Erie nonprofit and corporate clients as a full-service project/event manager for conferences, workshops and fundraising events. Clients have included UPMC Hamot Health Foundation, ArtsErie, Peek 'n Peak, Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park, Mercyhurst Preparatory School and Edinboro University.

McBrier has directed Stairways projects in the past, and welcomes this new opportunity to expand her reach and leadership within the agency.

"I believe in Stairways’ mission and its long history of helping individuals become better and live fully in our community. I want to help BLOOM Collaborative and Stairways extend far beyond traditional mental health boundaries," said McBrier.

"BLOOM Collaborative is a wonderful place that inspires clients and the community through healing arts. As we continue to develop strong programs at BLOOM, we are developing a stronger community." 

Employees of the Month

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Five Stairways Behavioral Health employees were recently recognized as Employees of the Month for their outstanding efforts in fulfilling their professional responsibilities.

Debbie Sardini and John Sushereba earned the honor for August and September, respectively, while Josh Thayer and Kari Papinchak were each recognized in October. Bev Wright is the most recent EOM recipient, having garnered the accolade in November.

For performing a heroic act in a life-threatening situation in which she attended to a client who was suffering from a major seizure, Sardini earned the distinction. While meeting one-on-one at the client’s home, Sardini, a blended case manager, called 911 and provided needed information upon the paramedics’ arrival.

Sushereba, a therapist at Stairways Erie Outpatient clinic, was recognized for having a profound impact in the life of a client. Lead therapist Hank Krol was approached at a job fair in August by a young man who wished to thank Stairways, in particular Sushereba, for helping him through a difficult period in his life.

Thayer, an MIS network technician, received his honor for his part in assisting staff and office moves for the Mobile Medication Monitoring program.

Thayer also arranged for the transfer of electronic and communication devices in a simple way for the staff that would not affect programming. He then trained and acclimated the staff on the new equipment, ensuring that everyone felt comfortable using the new devices.

As a Licensed Practical Nurse at Stairways’ Meadville Outpatient clinic, Papinchak was commended for performing a heroic act in a life-threatening situation when she performed the Heimlich maneuver on the infant daughter of a client. Papinchak was conducting an assessment with the mother when she properly dislodged candy from the 1-year-old’s throat.

Wright, in her role as internal audit manager, was instrumental in helping Stairways convert in its transitions from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) version 9 to ICD10 and from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) IV to DSM V. The conversions required Wright to work with the MIS and clinical departments, and work through any issues that arose during the transition process.

Those working with Wright in particular cited the calm, respectful and patient manner in which she worked during the project.


From left, Debbie Sardini, John Sushereba, Josh Thayer, Bev Wright. (Kari Papinchak not pictured)

Education, community outreach key initiatives for Stairways

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

From television commercials to professional development offerings, Stairways Behavioral Health upholds a long tradition of community mental health and wellness education. Two recent examples include a lunch and learn event for staff from two referral sources, and providing panelists for the Oct. 13 Community Care Recovery Conference.

Lunch, Learn and BLOOM

Ten Stairways program directors hosted a Lunch and Learn at BLOOM Collaborative for staff from Saint Vincent Hospital’s inpatient behavioral health program and Safe Harbor Behavioral Health’s Crisis Residential Unit (CRU).

Guests learned about the services and programs offered at Stairways, met with clinical staff from Stairways and toured BLOOM Collaborative’s five-acre wellness campus, getting a taste for its brand of healing arts. Program directors provided overviews of blended case management, mobile medication management, psychiatric rehabilitation and peer support services, as well as Stairways' new Long-term Structured Residence Program.

This meeting of the minds was the brainchild of Stairways Blended Case Manager Laurie Bizzarro, who, as part of her targeted outreach at Saint Vincent, Safe Harbor’s CRU and Millcreek Community Hospital, introduces patients to the programs available upon discharge. This outreach helps individuals to better understand and consider their support options, and aids their conversation with the hospital social workers responsible for external patient referrals.

“The meeting at BLOOM was an opportunity to invite other mental health workers who partner with Stairways services onto BLOOM's beautiful campus, and to continue to work on strong professional bonds with our community providers,” Bizzarro said.

Peers Promoting Wellness

Stairways Certified Peer Specialist, Theresa Abbey, and program director, Marilyn Goss, joined three other community mental health professionals in a panel discussion regarding Recovery and Wellness Strategies in the Community at the Bayfront Convention Center.

As part of the Oct.13 Community Care Recovery Conference: Promoting Wellness to Improve Our Health, these Stairways mental health professionals provided their experience and expertise in focused discussion about the relationship between behavioral health challenges and physical health, how recovery strategies can be used to help with physical health challenges, and the role of behavioral health with physical health.

Goss said that Stairways staff served as an excellent example of the recovery process.

“One of the themes stressed throughout the day was the need for providers to act as role models for recovery to the people receiving services,” she said. “It was exciting to be able to share Stairways' recovery initiatives and to discuss how we are empowering our staff to do just that.”

It was clear from the conference that peer specialists continue to play an important role in the recovery movement, added Stairways Director of Treatment Services Becky Clark, LCSW, CPRP.

“The morning sessions focused on the myriad wellness domains one can struggle with - for all of us, but particularly folks served by Stairways services,” she said. “Since Stairways was invited to participate in this regional conference, it's clear that the system that funds the majority of our services, both Community Care Behavioral Health and the Erie County Department of Human Services, continues to support meaningful peer services in helping to promote overall wellness, which will help Stairways continue to pursue our mission." 

Employees of the Months: Jamey Gamble and Joan Rowland

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Joan Rowland, a certified registered nurse practitioner at Stairways’ Forensic Outpatient clinic, was named June Employee of the Month while Jamey Gamble, a network administrator, earned the distinction for July.

Rowland was acknowledged for her overall job performance and willingness to go above and beyond the expectations of an employee. She often comes in early, stays late and sacrifices her lunch break to better accommodate clients.

In addition, Rowland also offers help feeding clients who are in need of food by keeping a supply of nonperishable items for anyone who is struggling with meals.

Gamble received credit for the work he has done in ensuring that Stairways received requested funding from Erie County for IT equipment.

Gamble supplied information timely and accurately and kept detailed records. When funding for the equipment was approved on June 29, Jamey was able to order all the equipment needed for the agency under very tight time restrictions.

Rowland and Gamble were both bestowed the award at a Stairways’ Board of Directors meeting in late July.

Stairways holds inaugural employee picnic

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Employee Waldameer Picnic

About 1,000 employees and their family members from Stairways Behavioral Health and Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems attended the inaugural employee picnic at Waldameer Park and Water World under sunny skies Saturday, Aug. 1.

Staff from each affiliate agency had the opportunity to bond and build camaraderie with each other while enjoying an Erie summertime landmark.

Employees had the opportunity to socialize and dine at the food pavilion as well as enjoy the park’s attractions and entertainment offerings.

© 2018 Stairways Behavioral Health. All rights reserved. 2185 West 8th Street · Erie, Pa 16505 · Phone: 814-453-5806 · Fax: 814-453-4757 · Toll-free: 1-888-453-5806 · Contact Us · Sitemap