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Fresenius Social Worker to Receive the 2014 Eleanor Clark Award

Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care Recognizes Stephanie Johnstone’s Outstanding Achievements in Improving Dialysis Patient Care


WALTHAM, Mass. – Nov. 6, 2014 – Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, announced today that Stephanie Johnstone, who has pioneered numerous innovations in nephrology social work during her 31 years with the company, has been selected to receive the 2014 Eleanor Clark Award for Innovative Patient Care from the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care (SSWLHC).

Johnstone, FMCNA’s San Diego-based director of social work in integrated care, will receive the award on Nov. 6 at the SSWLHC 49th Annual Meeting and Conference in Salt Lake City.

The Eleanor Clark Award recognizes those who have contributed to the development of social work programs that emulate Eleanor Clark’s spirit of discovery and innovation. Clark served for 20 years as director of the social work department at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital until her death in 1984. She was instrumental there in developing an innovative patient care program that provided assistance to patients following discharge.

“I am honored to join the list of creative and committed professionals who have previously received this award,” says Johnstone. “Eleanor Clark set an inspiring example for those of us in social work to constantly strive to improve our patients’ welfare, and it’s a privilege to be able to continue her legacy.”

Johnstone, a licensed clinical social worker and accomplished speaker and trainer, has developed several programs that have helped to redefine the role of social workers in caring for patients with kidney failure. In 2008 she launched a “Social Work Intensive Program,” which was eventually instituted throughout FMCNA to focus social workers’ attention on patients at highest risk of death and hospitalization. Addressing these patients’ stress, depression and other quality-of-life issues can help make them less likely to miss or shorten their dialysis treatments, resulting in better patient health, fewer hospitalizations and a lower overall cost of care.

“Stephanie works tirelessly to ensure that nephrology social workers continue to play an important role in patient care and that her hard-working colleagues receive the recognition they deserve,” says Felicia Speed, FMCNA’s director of social work services. “She brings compassion and integrity to every aspect of her work, while continuing to find innovative ways to improve the services that we provide.”

In April, Johnstone received the annual Robert W. Whitlock Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Kidney Foundation’s Council of Nephrology Social Workers. In 2013, Modern Healthcare magazine honored her and FMCNA with its “Spirit of Excellence” award for their efforts to use social workers to improve patients’ adherence to prescribed dialysis treatments.

About Fresenius Medical Care North America

Through its leading network of more than 2,150 dialysis facilities in North America and vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. It is also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.

For more information about the company, visit

FMCNA has launched a company-wide program to provide flu shots to its 230,000 patients and staff this season, at no cost to the recipients. FMCNA will also donate $1 for every patient and employee vaccinated through this program to be allocated among charities supporting renal patients, and to the FMCNA CARES employee emergency relief fund. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness carried by airborne viruses and spread by sneezing and coughing. For vulnerable segments of the population, such as people with CKD and kidney failure, their condition, and the demands of their life-sustaining treatment, leave them at greater risk for complications related to influenza. For more information on flu prevention, visit

About the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care

The Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care is an association, 700 members strong, dedicated to promoting the universal availability, accessibility, coordination, and effectiveness of health care that addresses the psychosocial components of health and illness. For more information about the society, visit