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02/10/22

MARIA DeALMEIDA BECOMEs UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL’S FIRST CULTURAL LIAISON; TO FOCUS ON OUTREACH TO LOCAL AND REGIONAL PORTUGESE COMMUNITIES

University Hospital is pleased to announce the appointment of Maria DeAlmeida as its Cultural Liaison. This new position will provide outreach into the Portuguese neighborhoods of Newark and surrounding communities. A key priority of the position is close collaboration with the community to address their healthcare needs and to assist University Hospital in delivering culturally and ethnically diverse healthcare programming.

“Enhancing access to culturally-competent care for our patients is a top priority at UH,” said Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA, President and CEO of University Hospital. “The addition of a Cultural Liaison will allow us to reach even deeper into our local region to meet the healthcare needs of our diverse neighborhoods. We are excited about Maria joining our team and look forward to using her skills to build on our successful community outreach and health programs for the Portuguese community we proudly serve.”

The Cultural Liaison will serve as a patient advocate who introduces and informs patients about the University Hospital system, ensuring that patients are afforded appropriate access in a timely manner. The Cultural Liaison will assist with access issues, develop relationships with referring providers, and will ensure the complete and efficient management of healthcare referrals. DeAlmeida will work directly with patients with limited or no understanding of English, providing providing language appropriate and culturally sensitive patient education, community outreach/screening, will identify and track specific health needs of the community.

For the last 19 years, DeAlmeida has worked with complex patients needing guidance through the University Hospital system in areas from spine surgery to surgical oncology, and, for the last 11 years, in the area of liver transplantation. During this time, she has guided patients through setting up initial consultations, working with patients on financial assistance, pharmaceutical assistance, working with multidisciplinary teams to help facilitate care, and to help patients with needs outside of the hospital needs, including connections to community assistance programs. DeAlmeida’s main focus was to make sure patients are set up with the medical care needed and to ensure they follow their care plan.

DeAlmeida has over 25 years’ experience in healthcare. Before her work at University Hospital, she worked as a Critical Care Tech at St. Michaels Medical Center from 1998-2000, and as an Emergency Medical Technician for the Kearny EMS.

“I am excited to combine my love for my Portuguese roots with my passion to help others navigate what may seem like a complex health system,” said De Almeida. “It is important that our institution reach out to our ethnically diverse communities, especially in light of the pandemic. By reaching out to these communities, we can ensure health equity and positive health outcomes throughout Newark and the region!”

DeAlmeida was born in Braga, Portugal and raised in Ferrerios, Gondoriz Arcos de Valdevez Portugal. She immigrated to the United States in 1984, and graduated from Eastwick College (Ramsey, NJ) in 1999. Prior to college, DeAlmeida attended Harrison High School and the Harrison Portuguese School.

She has close ties to the Ironbound section of Newark and the Portuguese community in the Greater Newark Area. DeAlmeida was a former member and volunteer at the Centro Romeu Cascais, Harrison Portuguese Cultural Club. She is also a member of Sport Club Portuguese in Newark, and has an extensive family connection to the Rancho Camponeses Do Minho. Her children have participated in Rancho’s activities for over 14 years and her father’s family has been tied to the club for more than 25 years. DeAlmeida is a proud member of Portuguese Cultural Association of Kearny and volunteers with the ACP Riders in Kearny. She has been married for 23 years and is a mom to two girls. Both her children and husband are very active in the community.

DeAlmeida will begin her new position on February 14, and may be reached during normal business hours at almeidmc@uhnj.org.

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