Nominee: Martha Ayano, NP
Organization: Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
Martha Ayano was nominated by Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (BNHC) Assistant Medical Director Dr. Joe Panerio-Langer and many of her colleagues at BNHC. Her nomination centers around her tireless work with the homeless population. Ayano, lovingly dubbed with the nickname “Martha Theresa,” is the sole provider at BNHC’s clinic at the Mainspring Homeless Shelter. She has been with the health center since 1998, setting the example for harm reduction long before the term was coined.
“For the most vulnerable members of tour community, she is the only person within the health care system that they trust,” writes BNHC Development Director Michelle Pontbriand. “Martha’s patients never feel judged or looked down upon. She provides them with a safe space, wherever that may be.”
Pontbriand recalls the time Ayano brought a sandwich to a hungry gentleman. She didn’t just bring the sandwich, she served it on a 1970’s style TV table propped up under the shade of a large oak tree.
Ayano can often be seen walking through the most dangerous neighborhoods or “needle park” to check on her “people,” where she is often met with gratitude. She’s the first to respond when there is an overdose. Ayano meets patients where they are. She doesn’t ask them to book appointments, preferring to be there alongside them they are ready and need her help. She will visit patients in their homes, tents, even under overpasses because she is committed to serving all underserved people of Brockton.
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