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Independence Blue Cross recognizes winners and finalists of its 5th annual Celebrate Caring campaign honoring extraordinary nurses

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is excited to announce the three winners and seven finalists of its fifth annual Celebrate Caring campaign during National Nurses Week (May 6 – 12). Independence annually recognizes outstanding nurses in the Philadelphia region who go above and beyond every day.

Nurses from a wide variety of specialties and locations were chosen from hundreds of nominations submitted by co-workers, patients, family, friends, and more. The nominations shared heart-felt and inspiring stories about how these nurses touch the lives of their patients and the community.

“So many people have stories about all types of nurses who have made an incredible difference in their lives, often at some of their most difficult times. Celebrate Caring is about recognizing and honoring those people. Nurses are also the backbone of our health care system and telling their stories helps us show how much they are loved and appreciated,” said Koleen Cavanaugh, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer for Independence.

The winners

Independence’s media partners CBS News Philadelphia and iHeartRadio will highlight the winners’ stories. And as a thank you, winners will receive a gift card and enjoy dinner for two and a night’s stay in Atlantic City. Independence will also make a $2,500 donation on behalf of each winner to a nonprofit organization of their choice.

Christina Milligan, CRNP – CHOP Primary Care, Paoli

Milligan provides behavioral health support to children and teens. In her role at CHOP, she manages care for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Through this work, she develops meaningful relationships with patients and their families and serves as a mentor for her fellow nursing staff.

Juju Riggins, RN, BSN – Pathways to Housing PA

With exceptional persistence and patience, Riggins improves lives daily at Pathways to Housing PA. She is passionate about improving the health and well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders throughout Philadelphia.

Leah Santos, RN, BSN – Penn Transplant Institute

Beyond her unique role as a Liver Tumor Coordinator at Penn Transplant Institute, Santos is committed to serving her community. She is on the board and volunteers with The Sunday Love Project helping people experiencing food insecurity. Santos stocks local fridges, keeps care packages on hand in the trunk of her car, and picks up excess food to be delivered to nonprofit organizations who serve the community.

The finalists

 Independence also recognizes seven finalists who demonstrated exemplary care and compassion in their nursing roles. The finalists will receive a gift card and will be featured on and Independence’s social media channels.

  • Carla P. Clements, PhD, CRNP, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center
  • Sophia Collins, MSN, RN, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Sarah DeChurch, RN, BSN, Paoli Hospital, Main Line Health
  • Desiree DeVeau, BSN, RN, PCCN, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Tracey Kirschner, RN, Holy Redeemer Hospital
  • Danielle Scarpitti, RN, MSN, CRRN, MossRehab Institute for Brain Health, Jefferson Health
  • Joe Staffieri, RN, Bancroft

For more on Celebrate Caring, visit or follow #CelebrateCaring on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. For more than 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We deliver innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneer new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and support programs and events that promote wellness. More than 300 nurses are employed in important roles throughout the Independence Blue Cross Family of Companies supporting our members in various ways, including Appeals Coordinators, Care Management Coordinators, Case Managers, Health Coaches, Research Nurses, and more. To learn more, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.



Media contact:
Ruth Stoolman