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Mercy Community Services, CEO awarded Berman Prize

Rochester Business Journal
June 12, 2014

Mercy Community Services and its president and CEO, Nikisha Johnson, are winners—along with Sisters of Mercy, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West—of the 2014 Howard J. Berman Prize, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield officials said Wednesday.

Given in the name of the former CEO of Excellus and the health insurer’s Lifetime Healthcare Cos. Inc. parent, the Berman prize goes annually to an Upstate New York non-profit as recognition for outstanding work in providing affordable health care.

Mercy Community Services provides medical and dental care and other services for underserved and uninsured Rochester-area residents.

“Their success in improving the health and lives of at-risk families in our community embodies the spirit of the Howard Berman Prize,” said Sandra Parker, Rochester Business Alliance Inc. president and CEO, chairwoman of the prize selection committee.

Services provided by the Mercy Community organization include referrals to human services and legal services providers and volunteer income tax assistance. It also provides housing for pregnant teens, young mothers and their children. Housing services provided by the non-profit include emergency shelter, transitional housing and community-based apartments coupled with case management and life-skills education.

 “As the landscape of health care has afforded many of our patients the opportunity to become insured, this award will assist MCS in meeting their changing needs by providing improved access to dental, chiropractic, massage and mental health services,” Johnson said.

Financed by 160 private donors as a tribute to Berman, the award carries a $10,000 cash prize. Winners also receive a handmade sculpture designed by Rochester artist Leonard Urso.   
(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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