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Cooper Announces Nursing Excellence Award Winners, Thanks Donors

Cooper Genalyn VargasMSN RN BC 068 Web

Trauma Step Down Unit Nurse Named “Nurse of the Year” in this annual initiative sponsored by generous donors. The Nursing Excellence Awards recognize exceptional professional nurses and advanced practice nurses throughout the health system, as well as members of the collaborative care teams that support nursing.

Cooper University Health Care has named Genalyn Vargas, MSN, RN-BC, of Somerdale, New Jersey, as the recipient of the William A. Schwartz, Jr. Nurse of the Year Award. Vargas, who works in Cooper’s Trauma Step Down Unit, also received The Ruth Parry/Moorestown Auxiliary Award for Excellence in Geriatric Nursing as part of Cooper’s Annual Nursing Excellence Awards presented in conjunction with National Nurses Week (May 6 to 12). 

Recognizing the importance of teamwork in health care, each year Cooper also honors an outstanding team in addition to the individual awards. In 2024Cooper’s Roberts Pavilion 5, an inpatient oncology unit at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, was named Team of the Year.

Award winners were nominated by their colleagues for their commitment to upholding the Cooper mission: “To serve, to heal, to educate” and are supported by gifts from generous donors to The Cooper Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Cooper University Health Care.

“These awards are made possible by the kindness and generosity of our donors. Their gifts allow us to recognize Cooper’s outstanding nurses in a meaningful way every year,” said Philip A. Norcross, Esq., chairman of The Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees.

“Our nurses the heartbeat of Cooper,” said Lisa Morina, senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer of The Cooper Foundation. They embody the true spirit of empathy, selflessness, and resilience, often working tirelessly around the clock to ensure the well-being of others. We owe them a debt of gratitude that words can scarcely express.

“This year’s Nursing Excellence Award winners inspire us with their dedication, lead us with their knowledge, and comfort us with their compassion. We are proud to call them Cooper nurses,” said Anthony J. Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, co-CEO at Cooper.

“Cooper nurses are extraordinary clinicians who provide exceptional care throughout the health system. Today we are proud to celebrate not only the Nursing Excellence Award winners but all Cooper nurses for their tireless efforts, their empathy, and the expertise they bring to serving others each day.” said Kevin M. O’Dowd, JD, co-CEO at Cooper.