Maurice Alwaya, MD, an attending physician at Beth Israel Brooklyn, is the recipient of the 2012 Care and Compassion Award. Dr. Alwaya will be honored at a hospital luncheon and award ceremony on Monday, October 22.
A pulmonary medicine and critical care specialist, Dr. Alwaya has been affiliated with Beth Israel since 1994. He has distinguished himself among the staff as a very knowledgeable and caring physician to his patients and an extremely supportive colleague among doctors, nurses and other hospital staff – “a mensch,” said Rabbi Jacob Hoenig.
Dr. Alwaya hesitated to express his feelings about the recognition. “Words are inadequate to describe my gratitude,” he said. “Beth Israel is my home. It is where I spend a lot of time with people who value and support what we do for others.”
Care and Compassion Award winners are selected by a committee of Beth Israel’s Department of Pastoral Care and Education as part of the HealthCare Chaplaincy’s annual Wholeness of Life Awards. Other Beth Israel honorees are Cajus Lee, RN, Nurse Manager, Beth Israel Petrie, recipient of the Wholeness of Life Award, and David Bernard, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Beth Israel Medical Center.
“Dr. Alwaya exemplifies the tradition of excellent care and compassion at Beth Israel Brooklyn. He is a very respected and veteran member of the Pulmonary Critical Care Division with a large and loyal patient following,” said Chaim Bernstein, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Pulmonary Critical Care, BI Brooklyn.
Dr. Alwaya’s calm demeanor belies his personal struggle with discrimination and oppression that led to his flight from his homeland Syria, where he grew up, studied medicine and practiced as a physician –challenges he and his family overcame with great effort and sacrifice after they found their separate ways to the United States in 1988. Life has given him a healthy dose of empathy.
Dr. Alwaya has a wonderful bedside manner and frequently sees his patients and treats all with respect and dignity, according to Rhona Hetsrony, Vice President for Administration, Beth Israel Brooklyn. “He is an excellent physician — friendly, courteous and polite to his patients and colleagues, and supportive to family members,” she said. “Members of the staff are happy to work with him and enjoy his humor and support.”
As President of BI Brooklyn’s Medical Executive Committee Dr. Alwaya has been a terrific spokesperson for the voluntary staff of doctors. “He generously supports hospital-wide staff activities and promotes teamwork and mutual care and concern in all aspects of patient care and well-being,” Ms. Hetstrony added.
He also heads the voluntary staff’s Physician Nurse Council which works to bring about positive productive change. “Our nurses have voted him ‘Friend of Nursing’ during Nurses Week celebrations,” said Marguerite Corda, RN, MSN, VP for Patient Care Services. “Dr. Alwaya embodies the spirit of the Care and Compassion award.”
The Care and Compassion luncheon and award ceremony will be held across the street from Beth Israel Brooklyn at 1350 East 32nd Street, between Kings Highway and Avenue M.