Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation Scholarship

Honoring a commitment to certification: The Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation

By Debby Formica COO, Commission for Case Manager Certification

The phones are ringing in our offices here at the Commission, as they always do during a certification application window. The energy is high—the kind of day my friend and colleague Patrice Sminkey thrived in.

During her six years as CEO of the Commission, Patrice championed efforts to develop tools and resources for a prepared and ready workforce in order to promote, advance and advocate for quality case management. As a registered nurse by training, she spent many years of her career dedicated to the health care accreditation and certification arena.

Patrice passionately believed in the value of the CCM credential; anyone who had the privilege of hearing her speak at a conference or meeting could attest to that. Patrice personally inspired countless case managers to take the certification plunge and unequivocally demonstrate their competence. That’s the power of certification, and Patrice seemed to channel it as her special gift.

Soon after her passing in September 2016, a number of Patrice’s colleagues and friends began working to establish a foundation memorializing that commitment.

The Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation is a separate non-profit entity from the Commission. Led by Annette Watson, RN, CCM, as president, it is governed by an independent, volunteer board—all friends and colleagues of Patrice who cared about her dearly. And this year, the Foundation will be awarding its first scholarship recipients.

Until the end April, and again during a window in the fall, the Foundation will accept applications from case managers—board certified with the CCM or on the path towards certification—for scholarships to support professional development. The application is online. Amounts may be requested for up to $1,000 for CCM certification, research in case management or participation at a continuing education event.

We’re excited that there’s a vehicle to extend Patrice’s commitment to education, research and case manager development. The Foundation is funded by donations from individuals and organizations who also stand behind a commitment to case manager development.

I want to recognize one group gift from CMSA Iowa. The chapter made a one-time donation to the Foundation to fund scholarships for Iowa-based nurses who meet the CCM exam requirements. Those applicants should look for a separate application and criteria for scholarship funds here.

The amount we are able to give case managers for professional advancement depends on the generosity of people like you. If you would like to donate, please send your check to the Patrice V. Sminkey Memorial Foundation, c/o Commission for Case Manager Certification, 1120 Route 73, Suite 200, Mount Laurel, NJ, 08054.

And if you’re considering CCM certification, I would encourage you to make the commitment, take the plunge, and apply today. Apply for the scholarship, too. I believe Patrice would say that there’s no better way to advance yourself and the field of case management.

Debby Formica COO, Commission for Case Manager CertificationDebby Formica has been with the Commission since 2010. She served previously as director of administration and operations, assistant vice president, and director of business development. In her new role as COO, Formica is responsible for oversight of certification services, management of volunteers, and implementation of the strategic direction provided by the Board of Commissioners. Formica has extensive experience in financial analysis, project management, and certification services. She began her career by spending eight years in healthcare financial consulting with CBIZ KA Consulting Services before moving to Johnson & Johnson as a manager in contract management and analysis. She holds a bachelor of science in accounting from Lehigh University and is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the American Society of Association Executives and the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives. Formica is also president and founder of Helpful Gifts from the Heart, a non-profit that benefits families dealing with pediatric cancer.