2023 In Review: The Year’s “Jersey-est” Your HHRS News Awards


MAN OF THE YEAR: Dr. Joshua Rempell, Camden
An emergency medicine specialist and instructor at Cooper University Hospital, Dr. Rempell has also worked in South Sudan, Haiti and Rwanda. His most recent stop is the Ukraine, where he’s training civilian and military medical personnel alike in responding to “mass casualty events.”

WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Dr. Ije Akunyili, Jersey City
Dr. Akunyili has made history as the first African-American woman to become a chief medical officer at the Jersey City Medical Center. Among her alma maters are Harvard University and the Wharton School of Business. She says, “I look forward to serving the residents of Hudson County and continuing to provide safe, innovative, efficient, and equitable care.”

When 24-year-old NFL Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin fell over after a helmet hit to his chest, local reporter Rodgers had to scrimmage with Twitter in order to re-post the video. By tackling accusations of insensitivity and privacy invading (as well as conspiracy theories about Covid vaccine failure), he was able to help inform the public about cardiac arrest among young athletes.

HONORARY JERSEY GAL HONORS: Jackie Nixon, Allegheny County PA.
Long-term exposure to radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, as Jackie found out and came forward to tell us. She was mystified about her lung cancer diagnosis until she was urged to check for radon gas under the building she’d lived in for decades: it turned out to have been leaking in from half a dozen different sources.

COUPLE OF THE YEAR: Police and Mental Health Forces.
New Jersey’s ARRIVE Together program, which provides police and mental health professionals to 9-1-1 calls involving a mental health crisis, has been expanded to additional police departments in Union County. The partnership “enables a quicker response time to get the individual the help they need,” explains program director Tiffany Wilson. Monmouth County has a similar crisis intervention program.

LEAST WELCOME TRENDS: The Peloton company has followed up the 2021 recall of their treadmills (involving the fatality a child) with a recall of their exercise bikes, while the latest crop of TikTok challenges have resulted in severe burns and a fatal overdose.

MOST WELCOME TREND: The beginning of the end of Covid. Viruses fade into oblivion when they can no longer out-mutate their naturally or medically made antibodies — and nowadays, ANY antibody can EVENTUALLY be medically made. That’s why polio, anthrax, smallpox, measles, and Ebola are effectively extinct. And now that an antibody against Covid’s most potent ingredient, SARS-CoV-2, has been developed, it is now effectively destined to be added to that list — indeed, the CDC has given a Covid a demotion of sorts to being just another “routine” vaccination!

DISS-HONORABLE MENTIONS: Nearly two dozen people have been charged with wire fraud for conferring 7,600 counterfeit nursing school diplomas nationwide (tuition $15,000 each) nearly four dozen of them in New Jersey (their licenses have been rescinded). And after a U.S. senator asked Moderna Pharmaceuticals why they were raising the price of their Covid vaccine by four HUNDRED per cent, they not only backtracked, they agreed to become the sole manufacturer of free COVID vaccines for the uninsured!

HONORABLE MENTION: Dr. Milton “Doc In A Car” Mintz
Let’s hear it for truth in advertising: Dr. Mintz was the subject of one of the very first stories posted at YourHHRS News in 2013 because he specialized in making house calls on elderly patients. Now a 94-year-old retiree, he and his wife are now receiving care from the very same Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey where he had been medical director!

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