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McLean Hospital’s Sophia L. Maurasse, MD, has been honored as the recipient of the 2019 National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a national nonprofit dedicated to putting compassion at the heart of health care.
The prestigious NCCY Award was presented at the 24th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner on November 21, where Maurasse was honored in front of 1,200 health care leaders, caregivers, supporters, and others committed to compassionate health care. The keynote speaker was Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who presented the NCCY Award.
“Sophia is a wonderful representation of McLean and its commitment to deliver compassionate care to patients—particularly those who have complicated illnesses and life situations,” said Scott L. Rauch, MD, McLean Hospital’s president and psychiatrist in chief. “We are tremendously proud of Sophia as a colleague and person. Moreover, we are grateful that her exceptional talent and devotion have been recognized nationally.”
Maurasse is the medical director of McLean Hospital’s 3East Girls Intensive and Step-Down Programs, which provide intensive treatment for girls ages 13 through 21 whose complicated stories include trauma, self-injury, and other challenging psychiatric conditions. Maurasse brings to her work the unique combination of highly skilled clinical expertise, an understanding of the full range of human behavior, and an extraordinary capacity for compassion.
“Sophia opens her heart to the most complicated, challenging, and often self-destructive patients at 3East,” said Gillian C. Galen, PsyD, program director of the 3East Girls Intensive and Step-Down Programs. “Her incredible attunement allows her to balance compassion and acceptance for some of the deepest struggles and destructive behaviors, while at the same time pushing adolescents and their parents to open their eyes to change in ways that, for many, they never imagined possible.”
Maurasse is known for her extraordinary care and the quiet, empathic way she engages with patients, instilling trust and making it possible to reach some of the most difficult-to-reach patients. Her calm and compassionate demeanor provides a safe place for her patients to feel supported and understood, fostering hope for them and their families.
“There is no such thing as a hopeless patient for Sophia,” said Galen. “If they work hard, Sophia matches their work, and if they get frustrated and despondent and don’t want to go on, she stays the course, provides validation, encouragement, and sometimes, powerful contingencies to open their minds to realize and do things they may not have thought they were capable of.”
According to Maurasse, this persistent commitment to compassion is integral to her entire team’s approach to patient care.
“On our team, compassionate care means we recognize that even in their most difficult moments, our patients are doing the best they can,” said Maurasse. “This requires us to approach patients with respect and dignity and to be diligent not just in our speech but also in our own behavior with them and each other.”
The NCCY Award is a national recognition program that celebrates excellence in compassionate health care. Through this program, the Schwartz Center honors caregivers like Maurasse who exemplify the characteristics of compassion, which include effective communication, emotional support, mutual trust and respect, the involvement of families in health care decisions, and treating patients as people, not just illnesses.
“The Schwartz Center’s mission of putting compassion at the heart of health care is embodied by the work of Dr. Sophia Maurasse and our other National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Award finalists,” said Matt Herndon, Schwartz Center CEO. “Their full-hearted commitment to patients and their families inspires us and demonstrates the power of compassion in addressing suffering and providing care. By recognizing them, we reinforce the vital importance of compassionate care. We’re honored to celebrate this year’s finalists as leaders in their communities and as ambassadors of the Schwartz Center’s 24-year mission to drive compassionate health care.”
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