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Friday, February 16, 2024 - A caring spirit: Roper Hospital pharmacist Jennifer Sterrett honored with 2023 Humanitarian Award

Roper Hospital clinical pharmacist Jennifer Sterrett was one of two teammates honored with the 2023 Roper St. Francis Healthcare President’s Humanitarian Award, the highest honor bestowed by the healthcare system that recognizes selfless work by teammates inside and outside the walls. Roper St. Francis Healthcare Director of Corporate Communications and Content Strategy Andy Lyons also won the honor. Read his story here.

The President’s Humanitarian Award is reserved for teammates who have an unrelenting passion for serving others, especially the less fortunate — those who need our compassion the most.

That’s exactly what Jennifer Sterrett has done. For nearly three decades as a clinical pharmacist at Roper Hospital, Sterrett has built a reputation for taking the extra steps to ensure patients get needed medication. If a patient were to leave take-home medications at the hospital, she would do everything in her power to make sure they got them – even if it meant delivering them herself.

But it’s her work outside the walls that is especially impactful.

After the pandemic hit, Sterrett stepped in to help ensure the smooth administration of COVID-19 vaccines during the Roper St. Francis Healthcare drive-through distribution effort at the North Charleston Coliseum. She volunteered for months to help make sure the operation was efficient and accurate – even injecting a dose of fun while she was at it.

About 75,000 vaccines were administered over six months – due in no small part to her contribution to the effort to make sure community members received protection.

Even after the acute phase of vaccine distribution, Sterrett’s work went on. She stayed on to volunteer with the Palmetto Palace Mobile Health Clinic, one of Roper St. Francis Healthcare's community health partners. In this role, she displays her skill at educating low-literacy patients who need help understanding their healthcare needs. She advocates on behalf of those who can’t advocate for themselves.

The founder of Palmetto Palace, Dr. Youlanda Gibbs, said Sterrett has become an integral part of the clinic. She helped the clinic obtain a dispensary permit, allowing patients to see a clinician and get life-line medications all at once.

Dr. Gibbs said the clinic is so blessed to have her because of her diligent work to make a difference in the community.

Sterrett also worked to recruit other pharmacists and pharmacy students to assist with the outreach efforts.

“That’s just her everyday mentality,” said Tyler McGee, one of the Roper St. Francis Healthcare pharmacists she recruited. “She realizes she is in a position to help and doesn’t take a day off from that.”

Talk to any of her own teammates, and they may tell you that her approach to work and life stems from her own background: Her family would often house and help the less fortunate.

“She has such a great understanding of people from all walks of life,” said Julie Lawrence, a clinical pharmacist and past Humanitarian Award winner. “We have learned so much from her.”

Sterrett’s husband, James Sterrett, also sees her tireless work continue at home, as she often stays up late planning for the next outreach clinic.

“She truly has a caring spirit and passion to help those who are less fortunate,” said her husband, also a pharmacist. “She has the ability to connect with patients to make them feel safe and valued.”

In the end, that is what we’re all about. Healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence takes many forms. Sterrett has done everything in her power to reach those people and make our community a better place.

Her example can make us all better human beings.

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