“I first met Mary Vanesko the day she was brought on as our NICU subject matter ex- pert. At the time I had no idea how much she would teach me and help me prepare for my work as a therapist in the NICU.

Through the course of her time at University of Southern California Verdugo Hills Hospi- tal Mary did a phenomenal amount to prepare therapists, management, designers & ar- chitects, nurses, clinical informatics and so on, on the intricacies of everything a NICU needed to be built, opened and successful.

Mary spent countless hours researching dozens of components required to create a thriving NICU from the lighting and sound levels to infant positioning aids to organizing in-services on various components of the NICU. She was consistently up on the most recent research which she passed on to us in a palatable, easy to understand way. Mary taught in small groups and even one on one to ensure a solid understanding of the information. She provided articles, websites, books, tests/quizzes and consistently en- couraged continued reading and study outside of training time. Incorporation of what we had been taught into hands-on practice positioning or massaging and infant drove home all she had taught.

Mary’s role in the creation and opening of our NICU was paramount. With her approach- able style and kind heart it may be that, only after she left did we fully recognize all she had done to prepare us for caring for our tiniest and most fragile population. Mary is a carpenter and she has built us an arc! Thank you Mary for all you have done – you are deeply appreciated.”

~ Alyssa Levy M.S. CCC-SLP Clinical Coordinator Speech-Language Pathology Department of Physical Medicine & Rehab

“Mary Vanesko has a great wealth of knowledge about preterm and neonatal infants. Much of this information she has shared, I wish I had known when my own kids were young. Understanding the normal developmental progression is key to identifying when or how a delay may occur. Mary has a “can do” attitude and encourages those around her to learn more and improve themselves”.

~ Mindy Kruse DPT

“Mary Vanesko was my trainer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital where we recently opened a Level 2 NICU in March 2018. Mary is an incredible Occupational Therapist, trainer and mentor. Mary and I had the pleasure of meeting in February 2017, when I was less than one year out of my OT pro- gram when our Director Michelle Sullivan hired Mary to assist with developing our NICU. Mary quickly became an advocate for our NICU and my professional training. With her background in Pediatrics and NICU as a Developmental Care Specialist, she was well-prepared to guide our hospital and myself towards excellence in care for our babies. For the hospital, Mary sat in on dozens of meetings, provided developmentally- based recommendations to hospital executives and administration regarding the design of the NICU units, created the documentation in Cerner for our entire therapy team, and advocated tirelessly for continued support and training for myself and other staff mem- bers who were new to the world of NICU. Mary created a structured training plan, in- cluding multiple outlines, powerpoint presentations, and quizzes to test my understand- ing in a concrete way. She was there every step of the way to impart her knowledge, and when she didn’t have the answer, rest assured she would find it. Mary was con- stantly on top of locating and sharing evidence-based research studies and provided me and the team with so many resources I have been able to feel confident that the NICU we created is based soundly on best practices.

Most importantly, Mary has an innate capacity to manifest her ideas into reality. She knows how to find the areas that need the most work, identify the specific need and ac- tively work to make those things happen. She is articulate, patient, and developed great rapport with nursing, IT, and executive team members. She became a trusted profes- sional to our team and raised the standard of excellence for this project. I have watched her create several classes, programs and standards of care, often on her own time. She seamlessly implemented these idea at our hospital and was involved deeply to facilitate, train and inspire myself and other staff members to run them independently. Through- out my training, Mary has been excellent at supporting my learning style and creating a safe learning environment where I could ask questions, have room to fail, and space to grow from my mistakes. On top of this, Mary is a kind, patient and inspirational leader and mentor. I always felt supported, challenged and bolstered by Mary during our time  together. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire Mary or to work with her again myself at a future date or capacity”

~ Shelley Berger OTR/L