Section: Clara Maass Medical Center News

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver Gives Keynote Speech at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Brotherhood Ceremony at Clara Maass Medical Center


Event also featured remarks by Star-Ledger columnist
Barry Carter

Barry Carter
Barry Carter, columnist at The Star Ledger, was a guest speaker at the Martin Luther King Day celebration.

Belleville, NJ – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a transformative figure who challenges us to make the world a better place, was the message Sheila Y. Oliver, speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, brought to Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC).

Oliver, who was born at CMMC when it was known as Lutheran Memorial Hospital, was the keynote speaker for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Brotherhood Awards on Jan. 23, an event that recognizes two Medical Center employees who are chosen by their peers as exemplifying the virtues embodied by Dr. King.

“He continues to influence people and societies throughout the world,” Oliver said of Dr. King, describing memorials made to the Civil Rights leader from South Africa, to Selma, Alabama. “It is our duty to be responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.”

MaryEllen Clyne and Sheila Oliver

President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

Oliver told the audience of more than 100 people – including Medical Center employees and administrators, and local politicians - about her trip to Washington D.C. to attend President Obama’s inauguration and of walking through the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial while she was there – sharing with the audience the 14 inspirational messages carved into the Stone of Hope at the nation’s capital.

“This should be a constant reminder to all of us,” she said. “He challenges each one of us to do the smallest, most insignificant thing we can do to make the world better. . . Can you imagine what we can do? I know you do Dr. King’s work each and every day here at the CMMC and Barnabas Health system.”

Angela Jones, Mary Ellen Clyne and Erithea Stone
Clara Maass Brotherhood Winners: Left, Angela Jones,
Center, Mary Ellen Clyne, President and CEO of
Clara Maass Medical Center, right, Erithea Stone.

Also speaking was Barry Carter, a columnist for the Star-Ledger, who said his goal as a writer is to “shed light on ordinary folks” who do compelling things.” He told vignettes about local residents who worked against segration, for voting rights, who started non-profit organizations to help the underprivileged and about an 89-year-old man who simply cleaned his street every day of the week to make his community a better place.

“Service is the common denominator of the people I’ve written about as a columnist,” he said. “I try to make you remember them, in the spirit of Martin Luther King.”

Both speakers were warmly received and following the speeches, Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of CMMC, presented Brotherhood Awards to two employees – Angela Jones, Environmental Services, and Erithea Stone, Dining Services.

Dr. John V. Kelly, president of the CMMC medical staff, noted the accomplishments of both Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and talked about what “strong, powerful and courageous men” they were. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are, you can make a difference,” he told the audience. “Love will drive out hate. It’s what we do at the hospital.”

Visitors were treated to songs by the CMMC choir and refreshments after the program, which was also attended by state Sen. Ronald Rice, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, Belleville Deputy Mayor Vincent Cozzarelli and Susie Yanez, who represented state Sen. Teresa Ruiz.

Clara Maass Medical Center has won numerous awards and accolades.It is ranked among the 50 Best Regional Hospitals in the New York Metro Area by U.S. News & World Report. It has received two Grade “A” scores in Hospital Safety by the Leapfrog Group. HealthGrades awarded Clara Maass an Emergency Medicine Excellence Award. Thomson Reuters named Clara Maass among the top 100 hospitals nationwide in 2012, one of only three hospitals in New Jersey to attain the distinction. In addition, Clara Maass won the Thomson Reuters Everest Award, one of 12 hospitals in the United States to do so. Clara Maass Medical Center was ranked as the second highest in New Jersey for hospital safety by Consumer Reports. It is ranked top in the state for the treatment of Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Attacks by the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services.

Located in Belleville, NJ, Clara Maass Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, provides a complete continuum of care to residents of northern New Jersey. Clara Maass’ centers and services include The Health and Wellness Center, Nuclear Medicine, The Cancer Center at Clara Maass, Adult Cardiac Services including Diagnostic Services, Cardiac Catheterization, Elective and Emergency Angioplasty and Rehabilitation, The Pain Management Center, The Joint & Spine Institute, a Vascular Center, Same Day Surgery, The Wound Center at Clara Maass, The Center for Sleep Disorders, The Bariatric Surgery Center, Rehabilitation Services, The Eye Surgery Center, Maternity Services and Parent Education, as well as Pediatrics. For a physician referral or more information about Clara Maass, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit

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Date: January 30, 2013

Contact: Elizabeth Moore
Director of Public Relations

Categories: Press Releases