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Sanctae Crucis Award Recipients 2021

2021 Sanctae Crucis Award winners

Clockwise, from top left: Helen W. Boucher ’86; John F. Brown ’78; Theresa Amalfitano Crean ’97 and Christopher A. Crean ’97; Erin C. McAleer ’02; Ronald R. Lawson ’75; and Christine Carroll Krisch ’06.

Helen W. Boucher, M.D., FACP, FIDSA ’86

Dr. Helen Boucher, you have dedicated your life to combatting illness, to expanding scientific knowledge and to alleviating the suffering of others. You have wielded your intelligence, your curiosity and your tenacity to make the world a better and safer place. You are a true, living example of a Crusader, working tirelessly for and with those in need. 

An internationally renowned expert, your mission has been to protect humanity from the global threat of microbial resistance. You serve as chief of the Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, as well as director of the Tufts Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance at Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center. Focusing your research on understanding and combatting dangerous staph infections and developing new anti-infective agents, your work has been published in many of the most influential medical and academic journals. 

After joining Tufts Medical Center in 2002 as an Infectious Diseases Physician, you soon assumed the role of director of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship program, later adding the title of director of the Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device Infectious Diseases Program. A participant in the development and registration of new drugs such as Voriconazole and Daptomycin, you have advised companies on antimicrobial drug development, advocated for increased research and taught in the annual Tufts Center for Drug Development course. A voting member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, you were elected treasurer of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Somehow, you find time to serve on the Board of Trustees for both The Physicians of Tufts Medical Center and alma mater, Holy Cross.   

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, you have given of yourself more than ever before. Here at Holy Cross, we have been the beneficiaries of your research and outreach. You have been a primary advisor to the College’s pandemic Core Team, advising Fr. Boroughs and the entire campus and alumni communities. Your multiple media appearances have brought an informed voice of reason to a panicked nation. As part of the “Mask Up, America” campaign, you developed a toolkit of Public Service Announcements, social content and press guidance to promote safe protocols across the country. 

Repeatedly named one of the “Best Doctors in America,” you are a treasure of the Holy Cross community. With your husband and fellow alumnus, Norman Boucher ’85, you have made a rewarding life in Wellesley, Mass., raising your daughters, Caroline and Allie. 

For your dedication to public health, your commitment to research and healing, and your indefatigable guidance and leadership in a time of global crisis, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award.

John F. Brown, M.D., M.P.H., ’78

Dr. John Brown, man of compassion, man of service, man of science, you have labored all your life for the benefit of others, dispensing care and dignity to those suffering through their worst moments.

As the medical director of the San Francisco Medical Services Agency, you are responsible for the regulation of the pre-hospital dispatch, first response, ambulance transport and emergency medical care for the City and County of San Francisco. In this capacity, you organize and oversee a large network of first responders and emergency medical professionals. Studying, teaching and writing about optimal practices in moments of crisis, you are a model of “grace under pressure.” 

In recognition of your distinguished service, you have been awarded the Charlotte Baer Memorial Award. For your dedication to underserved patients and those affected by global disasters, you received the California ACEP Humanitarian Award. In 2016, you were given the Special Recognition Award from the UCSF Association for your leadership in emergency medicine education. You are also a recipient of the Haile Debas Academy of Medical Educators Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to all these honorifics, you have been called by a colleague, “One of the nicest guys you will ever meet.”

An Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School and an Attending Physician at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, you are also the EMS and Disaster Medicine Associate Fellowship Director for UCSF and a Medical Officer for Disaster Medical Team CA-6, the Bay Area’s volunteer medical team for the National Disaster Medical System. 

A fourteen-year veteran of the US Navy Medical Corps, you also served as the Naval Surgeon General’s Advisor for EMS and completed an EMS Fellowship at the University of Arizona. 

Ever-curious and a lifelong learner, you have delved into research regarding the use of EMS services, special events EMS medicine, LGBT Health Issues education for residents, and development of EMS services in global health.

In the midst of administrative duties, teaching and research, you made time to travel to Haiti on eleven different occasions to work and teach in village clinics, ministering to the poorest of the poor. A true leader, you have instructed by example, focusing, as you said in an interview “on strong basics of care and constancy of attention to the mission at hand — instead of the politics du jour. Whether directing the small emergency department at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, or coordinating disaster training in Odessa, in the Ukraine, your colleagues attest to your ability to “keep level-headed in the midst of chaos.”

For your humility, your empathy, your professionalism, and your determination and resilience during this year of pandemic, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award. 

Christopher A. Crean, M.D., FACEP ’97

Dr. Christopher Crean, your calling is to be the voice of calmness, knowledge and leadership in the face of crisis. As a board-certified emergency physician, you assess, comfort and heal individuals in their most difficult moments of fear, pain, confusion and trauma. Day and night, you make life and death decisions that would stagger the average person. 

You left Mount St. James to study medicine at Georgetown University. You gravitated to emergency treatment, completing your residency in emergency medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, where you were presented with the Outstanding Resident Research Achievement Award. You went on to join the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine. 

In 2011, you, your wife and tonight’s co-honoree, Theresa, and your children, Lilian and Joshua, moved to New Jersey, where you joined the Envision Physician Services. Today, you serve as associate director and vice chairman for the Emergency Department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset Campus. 

Through this year of pandemic, you have given of yourself to a fearful, anxious and bewildered public. You have embodied Kipling’s ideal man, keeping your head while so many around you were losing theirs. An emergency physician must possess a complex assemblage of traits and you are a model of leadership in moments of crisis, when time is of the essence. You are an empathic listener and informed decision-maker. You are a well-trained expert and a man of action. You are rational and brave, sympathetic and dexterous, cool-headed and kind-hearted.

One of your specialties and medical interests is wound care, and this fact underlines the selfless life you have built and both the skill and compassion you employ in your work. In a world that has been deeply wounded for over a year now, you have served on the front lines, putting your own health and safety at risk to tend to the immediate needs of others. 

Despite the pressures of your work and the time required by it, you have joined with your beloved Theresa to serve as an executive board member of your district's Special Education Parent Advisory Group to provide aid to parents of special needs children. You appear never to tire of giving the best of yourself to those in the midst of their worst moments.  

For your courageous and important service during a time of great need, for your calling to heal the sick, bind their wounds and bring comfort and assurance, for your example as a man of hope and healing in moments of crisis, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award. 

Theresa Amalfitano Crean, R.N., M.A., CI/CT ’97

Theresa Amalfitano Crean, you have given your life to the values you have embraced for a lifetime – compassion, caring, healing and service. Nurturing and comforting those less fortunate than yourself, you are an example to us all, because in your giving, you have found and exude a profound depth of joy and meaning. 

For over a decade, you worked as a sign language interpreter, having earned the credentials of National Certificate of Interpretation and the National Certificate of Transliteration. Though your work was rewarding, you felt a strong calling to become a nurse. Your journey toward your nursing degree was not without challenges. You interrupted your studies more than once, to care for your mother and your son when they were in their time of greatest need. But you persisted, listening, always, to your inner compass, and supported, always, by your husband and fellow alumnus, Dr. Christopher Crean ’97. In 2019, you graduated from County College of Morris as a Registered Nurse. 

You had not been working long in the critical care unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset, N.J., when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Like your fellow front-line medical professionals, you demonstrated bravery, tenacity and sympathy as you cared for those made ill by the virus. With your training in both sign language interpretation and nursing, you found yourself in a unique position to serve and comfort the sick and dying. Through grueling days and nights, you nursed the sickest people in the hospital, patients on ventilators who were gasping for air and unable to speak. You passed final messages to loved ones prohibited from visiting the hospital and you translated crucial medical information via Zoom calls. With your special combination of skills, you eased the suffering of the afflicted day after day as the pandemic went on. 

In addition to your professional work, you and Chris also serve as executive board members of your district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Group. You have hosted Zoom parent support groups throughout the pandemic. You have organized panels of experts, administrators, case managers and teachers to inform and support parents of special needs children through the diagnosis process and the creation of Individualized Education Programs. With this work, you have eased the fear and erased the confusion of numerous parents trying to navigate a complex bureaucratic process.  

A hero of great humility, you insist on accepting this award in honor of healthcare workers everywhere.

For your compassionate vision, your courageous and indefatigable heart and your relentless dedication to those suffering and in need, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award. 

Christine Carroll Krisch, MSN, AGPCNP, CCRN ’06

Christine Carroll Krisch, you are a woman of passion, caring and dedication to your calling. You are a healer, an innovator, a problem solver. You are a fine example of one who becomes the change she wishes to see in the world. 

Upon graduating from Holy Cross, you pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Stony Brook University School of Nursing. More than a career, nursing became your vocation. Called to this rigorous and noble work, you pursued excellence from the start. Selected for a graduate critical care nursing fellowship, you were quickly promoted to charge-level nurse, guiding fellow nurses and patient-care assistants. You worked at such top-level medical establishments as Stanford University Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

A renaissance woman, you were voracious for knowledge and practice that would help you provide care in many settings. You trained in cardiothoracic ICU nursing and gained a skillset that allowed you to float to surgical and medical ICU care. As senior staff nurse in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit of New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center, you do it all: Manage post-cardiac and thoracic surgical patients in a critical care setting, titrating cardiac drips, providing pain control, monitoring EKG and labs, and weaning patients from ventilator support. To put it simply, you are a nurse’s nurse, a healer, a comforter, a front-line hero. 

Last year, when the pandemic swept the world, you became a co-founder of Daybreak Health in New York City. A digital health start-up focused on providing efficient, reliable and accessible COVID-19 testing and vaccination, and other healthcare services. Over the last 12 months, you have built a team of over 100 nurses and operators to provide fast, reliable testing and vaccination and medical assistance to schools, hotels, municipalities and television networks. You helped open two vaccination clinics to meet the needs of underserved areas of the city. Your vision and your hard work have combined to help heal a world racked by disease, confusion and anxiety. 

For your commitment to innovation and problem-solving for the betterment of others, for your resilience, resolve and call to action in the face of a catastrophic health crisis, for your dedication to alleviating the pain and suffering of all around you in any and every capacity you can imagine, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award. 

Ronald R. Lawson ’75

Ronald Lawson, you are a man filled with empathy and compassion. You are a voice for those who have been silenced by systemic poverty, apathy and racism. You are a model of the change and redemption that can occur when one opens himself to God, the world and others. It is as if you took the Jesuit credo of “men and women for and with others” and turned it into a personal ritual, a daily practice of faith and love. 

For more than two decades, you have labored in the nonprofit sector, serving in a variety of senior management positions. Your passion for justice and equality sustained, strengthened and focused you. No matter what the job or how busy your life became, you remained forever the volunteer’s volunteer, bringing your considerable skills, insight and leadership to any and all who asked for help. 

Since 2016, you have served as chief operating officer of Care for the Homeless, an organization that fights homelessness by delivering high-quality and client-centered health care, human services and shelter to homeless individuals and families. You have advocated tirelessly for policies to ameliorate, prevent and, ultimately, end homelessness. Care for the Homeless operates 26 New York City health care centers and two shelters throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. When the pandemic struck, you created the COVID-19 Impact Fund, to cover emergency costs of responding to the crisis, and to distribute the vaccine to CFH patients. Your passionate dedication and dynamic leadership of CFH saves lives every day, and brings dignity to those who have been ignored and mistreated for far too long. 

Your love for alma mater matches your love for social justice and equity. Serving on the board of the Holy Cross Alumni Association, your work is a litany of projects that have elevated the College, our students and the alumni body as a whole. Whether launching the ALANA mentoring program or serving as chair of the Bishop Healy Committee, your desire to fulfill the College’s mission is abundant, and the energy you bring to every task appears limitless. As a longtime, close friend recently said of you, “Ron loves Holy Cross more than anyone I know. He embodies what it means to be a Crusader for others. Ron lives out the Jesuit mission in everything that he does.”

For your attempt to live the gospel message every day of your life, for your efforts to build and strengthen caring communities, for your abiding love for, and work on behalf of, compassion, justice, equality and service, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award. 

Erin C. McAleer ’02

Erin McAleer, you labor for the most vulnerable of your fellow human beings. A woman of conscience and compassion, you use your many skills to battle the horrors of hunger and food insecurity. You strive, with optimism and positivity, to help all of us and our government to do the right thing. 

Since 2017, you have served as president and CEO of Project Bread, the leading anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts. For over 50 years, Project Bread has worked tirelessly to ensure that people of all ages have reliable access to healthy food. Working collaboratively across sectors to create innovative solutions to end hunger, you have developed new, community-based strategies to affect real change. Through both grassroots engagement and widespread movement building, you bring together people and organizations to work collaboratively to feed those in need and change the lives of those suffering in poverty. 

Social justice and service are your passions. Prior to Project Bread, you worked as director of opportunity – Boston for the appropriately named Be the Change, Inc., an initiative focused on developing a comprehensive strategy to improve opportunities for children living in poverty in Boston. You have taught at the Simmons School of Social Work and at Boston University’s School of Social Work, training new generations of dedicated caseworkers and public servants. 

During the pandemic crisis, feeding the impoverished has been particularly demanding, with food insecurity skyrocketing overnight. Yet you have risen to that challenge, speaking to the media about how the crisis has been affecting those most in need. Your most recent Walk for Hunger program was necessarily a virtual event, but you managed to raise more than $1.2 million, which was pivotal in enabling Project Bread's rapid response to the hunger crisis in the early days of the pandemic. Throughout this past year, you have advocated for the restoration of Federal SNAP funds. And thanks to the efforts of you and your team, the USDA granted a waiver last June to allow children and teenagers to receive free meals at more than 1,000 meal sites throughout the Commonwealth. 

You have made the message of your important work clear. “I believe,” you have written, “that hunger is solvable. We can ensure everyone has reliable access to food, and should.” Acting on that staunch belief, you have organized, advocated and educated, insisting at every turn that no individual should ever go hungry. Your work is a challenge to each of us to become part of the solution to ending hunger. As a Project Bread board member has said of you, “Erin understands that hunger isn’t a personal failing, it’s a policy failure and a public health issue. You drop Erin in the midst of a crisis and she just thrives.” 

For your vision of a hunger-free community, for your unflagging service on behalf of those who struggle in poverty and hunger, for your resolute certainty that you can and will inspire generosity and altruism in your fellow citizens, the College of the Holy Cross presents you with the Sanctae Crucis Award.