News & Events

Safety net group receives Backus President’s Award

November 16, 2012

NORWICH – Hospitals are generally considered safety nets in the community, especially their emergency departments. But in reality, taking care of people before they end up in the ER is much more strategic and effective.

That’s why The William W. Backus Hospital honored the Norwich Safety Net Team and the Community Care Team at its Annual Meeting of Corporators on Wednesday. The two Norwich Human Services (NHS) programs were the recipients of the 2012 President’s Award.

The award, established four years ago by Backus President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Whitehead, honors people and organizations that collaborate with Backus to help improve health and quality of life in the community. NHS received this award for their commitment to social services to Norwich residents.

Established in 1997, the Norwich Safety Net Team lives up to its name, providing a safety net for people who are in need and improving their quality of life.  Annually the team serves 1,000 people in the community.

The Community Care Team addresses the needs of the homeless population in Norwich by running the Hospitality Center, a winter overflow shelter.  Open from Nov. 1 to April 1, the center protects homeless residents and offers intense case management for 120 people annually.

The President’s Award includes a $10,000 gift to help recipients continue their missions.

“Your programs make a real, unsung difference in people’s lives – right here, close to home,” said Mr. Whitehead.  “It is a privilege to be a partner in these efforts.”

Lee-Ann Gomes, Supervisor of the Adult and Family Services Division; Janice Thompson, Administrative Coordinator and Chair of the Norwich Safety Net Team; and Dr. Robert Davidson, Chair of the Community Care Team and Director of the Eastern Regional Mental Health Review Board, accepted the award.

“Our programs are everything to the people we serve,” said Ms. Thompson.  “From helping clients pay for their prescription drugs, to assisting the elderly with extras to get by, or giving a child a new backpack, we try to help the underserved in our community in any way we can.”

“We are very proud of this recognition,” Dr. Davison added.  “We work together for the community we serve and are a model to other social services agencies in the state.”