Home|Blog | Griffin Health Caregiver Tracy Huneke Receives Healthcare Hero Award

Griffin Health caregiver Tracy Huneke, of Naugatuck, was recently honored with the 2024 Healthcare Heroes Award from The Connecticut Hospital Association


Griffin Health caregiver Tracy Huneke was recently honored with the 2024 Healthcare Heroes Award from The Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA).

The Healthcare Heroes Award celebrates and recognizes the invaluable contributions of exceptional healthcare workers, both to their field and to the community at large. Since 2002, CHA has included a celebration of healthcare heroes as part of its Annual Meeting, which took place on June 13.

“This recognition celebrates your outstanding leadership,” stated a proclamation by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont read at the event. “The honor you are receiving signifies your outstanding professional accomplishments in the healthcare services sector… Through your thoughtful work, you have demonstrated professional excellence and extraordinary service to your community, organization, and to the State of Connecticut.”

In 2009, Huneke founded the Griffin Hospital School of Allied Health Careers as a response to the need for qualified and compassionate phlebotomists. She embarked on the mission to create a school that would provide highly skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals, equipped to address the evolving needs of the community. Huneke’s commitment to educating future caregivers compelled her to expand school offerings to include programs in Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant, and Patient Care Technicians. Her dedication to each and every student has resulted in national certification rates that rank in the 99th percentile and a remarkably high job placement rate for graduates.

Huneke’s care for socially vulnerable youth led her to create career pathways for local high school students. Innovative partnerships with Ansonia and Seymour high schools have allowed seniors to participate in specialized Patient Care Technician programs, preparing them for healthcare careers upon graduation and addressing economic vulnerabilities in Griffin’s community. In light of a recent ALICE study that revealed 50% of households in Ansonia and Seymour face challenges meeting basic living needs, this School of Allied Health Careers helps to ensure that the socially vulnerable youth can be gainfully employed and pursue a better quality of life – immediately.

Huneke’s groundbreaking work also paved the way for Griffin to establish a Practical Nursing program to help alleviate the state’s nursing shortage, providing a vital pipeline of well-trained professionals to meet the diverse needs of Griffin’s community and the state. This, in turn, allowed the School of Allied Health Careers to offer a lifeline to LPN students displaced by the sudden closure of Stone Academy, providing them with hope and a clear path forward to achieve their healthcare career dreams.