Chicago care coordinator earns merit award
David Martinez is the 2022 recipient of the Merit Award from the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children.
The award recognizes exceptional employees for outstanding dedication and service to Illinois children with special healthcare needs and their families.
Martinez is a care coordinator in the Chicago Central Office. In this role, he helps families develop personalized care plans for their children’s unique needs and connects them to the right services and resources.
“David has a remarkable ability to partner with our participant families and empower them to help reach their full potential,” DSCC Executive Director Thomas F. Jerkovitz said. “He works with families from a variety of cultural backgrounds and helps them feel understood and able to navigate the systems involved in their child’s care.”
His teammates say Martinez has a talent for helping families and working magic in situations where others might not see a way.
“He is culturally sensitive, proactive and able to put himself in other people’s shoes so that he can better understand their situation and how best to partner with them to find a solution,” said Patricia Perez, assistant director of research and practice initiative and former Chicago Central regional manager.
Martinez is a licensed clinical social worker. He grew up in El Salvador and studied criminal justice after coming to the United States.
He provided substance abuse programs at the Cook County Jail before deciding to pursue social work. This decision stemmed from his desire to help others and make an impact on families as early as possible.
Martinez worked in mental health before joining DSCC in April 2016. He says he is honored to work for DSCC and with his amazing colleagues and managers in the Chicago Central office.
“Building strong relationships with my co-workers and the families we serve energizes me every single day,” Martinez said. “Our families’ needs go beyond just medical. Every day is an opportunity to look at a situation from all different aspects and find a solution that can meet their needs. Sometimes it’s as simple as just listening.”
Martinez said his DSCC career has helped him learn about many different cultures and that care coordination is not one-size-fits-all.
“Meeting the family where they are – that’s my starting point,” Martinez said. “When I’m meeting with families, I tell them we are a team.”
Martinez has helped achieve many successful outcomes for his participant families. In early 2022, he secured a $36,000 grant through the Guaranteed Rate Foundation to purchase and install a vehicle wheelchair lift in a participant family’s van and to make their bathroom wheelchair accessible.
But Martinez says his proudest achievements are the relationships he builds with families.
“It would be impossible for me to deliver my passion in social work without having a relationship with families and open communication,” Martinez said. “To be able to talk to families on a monthly basis and help them navigate through issues in life, that is my biggest accomplishment — having the trust the families place in me and DSCC.”
Our DSCC team nominated a total of 12 of our colleagues for this year’s Merit Award. As the winner, Martinez receives a Merit Award memento, a $2,500 award and recognition from the executive director.
The other 2022 nominees are:
- Melissa Croft, Home Care Enrollment Specialist, Lombard Regional Office.
- Christina “Tina” Glim, Care Coordinator, Mokena Regional Office.
- Kristin Grubb, Administrative Aide, Peoria Regional Office.
- Becky Helmink, Program Coordinator Assistant, Olney Regional Office.
- Paula Holaday, Home Care Quality Improvement Specialist, Peoria Regional Office.
- Marlo Johnson, Human Resources Officer, Central Administrative Office in Springfield.
- Amy Jones, Regional Manager, Olney and Marion Regional Offices.
- Danielle Osburn, Home Care Claims Process Lead, Central Administrative Office in Springfield.
- Elma Saladar, Care Coordinator, Chicago Central.
- Cindy Saxsma, Administrative Aide, Central Administrative Office in Springfield.
- Katherine Serrano, Care Coordinator, Chicago Core.