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“Sunshine in a dress”
“El sol en un vestido”

“Sunshine in a dress”

Morik takes leave from New York-Presbyterian

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer


Among the group gathered at Coogan’s Restaurant this past Tues., Oct. 2nd were community members representing New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Community Board 12, health organizations and even schools.

In the air hung, as if suspended with streamers, warm words of praise and of accolade.

Helen Morik, New York-Presbyterian’s Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, here with colleague Julio Batista, Government and Community Affairs Coordinator, was feted at a farewell dinner.
Helen Morik, New York-Presbyterian’s Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, here with colleague Julio Batista, Government and Community Affairs Coordinator, was feted at a farewell dinner.

“Iconic”; “a Clintonian factor”, and “like sunshine in a dress” were some of the colorful phrases uttered.

All were used to describe New York-Presbyterian’s own Helen Morik, the institution’s Vice President of Government and Community Affairs.

District Leader Maria Luna attended the dinner, lauding the “bridges” Morik had helped to build.
District Leader Maria Luna attended the dinner,
lauding the “bridges” Morik had helped to build.

Morik is leaving her post at the hospital campus in northern Manhattan for Florida, where she will work for the Obama campaign, canvassing door to door.

“I’m very excited,” Morik said of the new work she will undertake in the battleground state.

Framed against Coogan’s “Wall of Fame” replete with articles, plaques and photos, Morik was sent off with a repast filled with friends and colleagues from decades past.

Long-time District Leader Maria Luna expressed her appreciation for Morik, who served at the hospital for decades.

“The bridges that she built are going to take several people to upkeep,” said Luna.

Indeed, it was Morik’s work that brought health fairs to Northern Manhattan, and helped bring Spanish-language translators to the hospital, among many such efforts that sought to better integrate the campus’s work with the lives of local residents.

Among the gifts presented was a collage of photos created by community leader Ralph Andrew.
Among the gifts presented was a
collage of photos created by
community leader Ralph Andrew.

“Helen always had the ability to fearlessly represent the hospital and open the discussion for everyone,” said Pamela Palanque-North, chairperson of Community Board 12.

Morik’s efforts to make the comprehensive resources of the hospital—and the complicated health care system— far more accessible were also recognized.

“You have metamorphosed and changed the lives of people in ways that you don’t understand,” North told Morik.

It was a sentiment reiterated often.

“You have changed this community for the better,” added Dr. Rafael Lantigua, the hospital’s Advisor on Community Health Affairs.

David Hunt, owner of Coogan’s, which has long been a favorite of the hospital’s staff, joked, “If this gathering of friends were anywhere but Coogan’s, we would have been very upset.”

Remarked upon also was Morik’s willingness to engage differing points of view.

Julio Batista, who has worked together with Morik for many years as Coordinator of Government and Community Affairs, was asked by Morik to join the West Harlem Development

Corporation, an organization that has, at times, been at odds with some of the local expansion efforts undertaken by Columbia University, the hospital’s partner.

Coogan’s owner David Hunt served as one of the evening’s hosts.
Coogan’s owner David Hunt served as one of the
evening’s hosts.

Batista said Morik’s request was a mark of dedication not just to the hospital, but to the community at large.

“It’s not often that one chooses someone to represent the community against one’s own [interests]. She told me, ‘You do what you think is best for the community,’” said Batista. “I’m forever grateful for the chance to work with her.”

During the course of the evening, Morik received several bouquets; a robin’s egg-blue tote; and a large framed photo collage featuring her in action, together with elected officials, visiting dignitaries, noted athletes and other celebrities.

Morik herself edged in a few words as the evening wound down.

“I will never forget this community or this institution. It’s not really a good-bye, it’s a temporary farewell,” she said.

She also made clear she had a few new goals to meet.

“The first thing I’m going to do,” she added with a wide smile, “is get Obama reelected.”

 

“El sol en un vestido”

Morik se despide del New York-Presbyterian

Historia y fotos por Robin Elisabeth Kilmer


Coogan’s owner David Hunt served as one of the evening’s hosts.
David Hunt, propietario del Restaurante
Coogan’s, sirvió como uno de los anfitriones.

Entre el grupo reunido en el Restaurante Coogan el pasado martes 2 de octubre se encontraban miembros del Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, de la Junta Comunal 12, organizaciones de la salud y escuelas.

Colgadas en el aire, como suspendidas con serpentinas, se veían palabras descriptivas, de alabanza y elogio.

“Icónica”, “un factor Clintoniano” y “como rayos del sol en un vestido”, fueron algunas de las coloridas descripciones pronunciadas.

Todas fueron utilizadas para describir a Helen Morik, Vicepresidente de Gobierno y Asuntos Comunitarios del hospital ‘New-York Presbyterian.’

Morik deja su puesto en el hospital del Norte de Manhattan por el estado de Florida, donde trabajará para la campaña de Obama, haciendo proselitismo de puerta en puerta.

“Estoy muy emocionada”, dijo Morik sobre el nuevo trabajo que llevará a cabo en ese estado en el que cualquier candidato puede ganar.

Enmarcada en el “Muro de la Fama” del Restaurante Coogan, repleto de artículos, placas y fotos, Morik fue despedida con una comida llena de amigos y colegas de décadas pasadas.

Maria Luna, líder de distrito durante mucho tiempo, expresó su agradecimiento por Morik, quien sirvió al hospital por décadas.

Among the gifts presented was a collage of photos created by community leader Ralph Andrew.
Entre los regalos hubo un gran
collage enmarcado con fotografías
creado por líder comunitario Ralph
Andrew.

“Los puentes que ella construyó necesitarán varias personas para mantenerlos”, dijo Luna.

De hecho, fue la labor de Morik la que trajo ferias de la salud al Norte de Manhattan y traductores del idioma español al Hospital Columbia Presbyterian, entre muchos otros esfuerzos para integrar mejor la labor del campus con las vidas de los residentes locales.

Ella ha servido durante mucho tiempo como conducto para una mayor comunicación entre el hospital y las comunidades de Washington Heights e Inwood.

“Helen siempre tuvo la capacidad para representar sin temor al hospital y abrir discusiones para todos”, dijo Pamela Palanque-North, presidenta de la Junta Comunal 12.

Los esfuerzos de Morik para que los amplios recursos del hospital -y el complicado sistema de atención a la salud- fuesen mucho más accesibles, también fueron reconocidos.

“Han transformado y cambiado la vida de las personas de maneras que usted no entiende”, North dijo a Morik.

El sentimiento fue reiterado a menudo.

“Ha cambiado esta comunidad para el bien”, añadió el Dr. Rafael Lantigua, Asesor de Asuntos Comunitarios de la Salud.

District Leader Maria Luna attended the dinner, lauding the “bridges” Morik had helped to build.
Líder del Distrito María Luna asistió a la cena.

David Hunt, propietario del Restaurante Coogan’s, que ha sido desde hace mucho tiempo uno de los favoritos de personal del hospital, bromeó diciendo: “Si esta reunión de amigos hubiese sido en cualquier parte menos aquí, nos hubiéramos molestado mucho”.

También se comentó la disposición de Morik para asumir diferentes puntos de vista.

Julio Batista, quien ha trabajado con Morik por más años, fue invitado por ella para unirse a la West Harlem Development Corporation, una organización que, en ocasiones, ha estado en desacuerdo con la expansión que Columbia ha llevado a cabo.

Batista dijo que la solicitud de Morik era una muestra de su entrega no sólo a Columbia, sino a la comunidad en general.

“Es poco común que uno elija a una persona para representar a la comunidad contra los intereses propios”, me dijo. “Haga lo que crea que es mejor para la comunidad”, dijo Batista.

“Estoy eternamente agradecido por haber tenido la oportunidad de trabajar con ella”.

Helen Morik, New York-Presbyterian’s Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, here with colleague Julio Batista, Government and Community Affairs Coordinator, was feted at a farewell dinner.
Helen Morik, Vicepresidente de Gobierno y
Asuntos Comunitarios del hospital ‘New York-
Presbyterian’ junto a Julio Batista, Coordinador
de Asuntos Comunitarios, fue honrada en una
cena de despedida.

En el transcurso de la tarde Morik recibió muchos ramos; un bolso color turquesa y un gran collage enmarcado con fotografías de ella en acción, junto con oficiales electos, dignatarios visitantes, atletas famosos y otras celebridades.

Morik misma ofreció algunas palabras mientras la tarde terminaba.

“Nunca olvidaré esta comunidad o esta institución. Esto no es realmente un adiós, es una despedida temporal,” dijo.

Además, tiene nuevas metas que alcanzar.

“Lo primero que voy a hacer”, añadió con una amplia sonrisa, “es conseguir la reelección de Obama”.

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