Mount Sinai South Nassau recognizes two local volunteers

Mount Sinai South Nassau honors Susan Keller and Alberta Biscotti for their service


Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital recently honored Susan Keller of Rockville Centre, for her more than 25 years of volunteer service, during which she devoted more than 30,000 hours to spend time with patients.

Keller, 68, was one of several local residents from the area recognized for their extraordinary contributions as volunteers of the hospital, during its 68th anniversary luncheon at the Coral House in Baldwin on April 25.

The celebration was a tribute to the unwavering dedication and compassion the hospital’s volunteers, past and present, have exhibited.

“We think it’s important to recognize all of the time and energy our volunteers provide for our patients in our community,” Dr. Adhi Sharma, the hospital’s president, said. “I think we can never take it for granted that these people are giving their time freely and fully. Many of them have been here for years and years. They are part of the South Nassau fabric and part of the South Nassau family. You recognize family, and that’s what families do.”

Keller’s unwavering commitment to the hospital’s compassionate listener program and her presence in various departments, including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, exemplify the essence of volunteerism.

From reading to newborns to providing companionship to patients, Keller’s compassion knows no bounds.

Keller started volunteering at Mount Sinai in 1998 when she wanted to contribute to her community while her daughter attended school nearby.

Despite having received a Master's degree in deafness rehabilitation, Keller said she started a family and never got around to pursuing a career in counseling for the deaf. She instead, however, found fulfillment in her volunteer work, where she connected with patients and staff on a profound level.

“I think both involve helping, right, but also connecting with people,” Keller said. “That’s a really big part of what I do. Whether it’s reading to babies in the NICU, you have to form some sort of connection with the baby. Taking the dogs around and seeing the connection the patient develops with that dog, and how it brings them out and makes them happy, being a part of that is indescribable. When I visit patients, it’s amazing.”

Keller said she finds joy in various aspects of her volunteer work, particularly interacting with patients and staff. 

“I’m not being paid in dollar bills or a check, but when I’m wearing my volunteer jacket, the wealth is in the patients and my memories with them,” she said. “There are certain people I will never forget who have touched me so. I’m a very wealthy person. I really mean that.”

She is currently the captain of the volunteer office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and was part of the hospital’s compassionate listener program for several years.

Keller has previously received the Town of Hempstead Annual Volunteer Recognition Award, South Nassau’s Five Star Adelaide Cromwell Memorial Award, and the Long Island Business News Healthcare Hero Volunteer Award

The luncheon served as a testament to the enduring spirit of volunteerism that has permeated the hospital for nearly seven decades.

Alberta Biscotti, 76, of Oceanside was also honored during the event for embodying the spirit of lifelong learning and nurturing. She was presented with the Shining Star Award, which recognizes volunteers who have contributed to enhancing the patient experience at Mount Sinai South Nassau. She was also presented with a citation from Nassau County Legislator Debra Mule for her years of volunteer service.

Biscotti worked in human resources for her husband’s accounting firm for 30 years and then as a teacher at California Avenue School in Uniondale for 11 years. After retiring at 65, she said she wanted to give back to the community as a hospital volunteer, finding a home in the director’s office.

“I was also honestly afraid of being home after working the way I did raising children,” Biscotti, who also lived in Rockville Centre for 45 years, said. “I went up to the hospital, and the director at the time said to me, ‘I want you to work directly for me.’”

Biscotti has logged 907 hours volunteering at the Hospital and has volunteered for. 11 years Biscotti’s journey from teaching to volunteering in the medical field reflects her nurturing nature and desire to help others. Biscotti even worked remotely as a volunteer during the Covid pandemic, assisting with tasks such as pre-surgical testing and helping patients find information about vaccinations.

“When I speak to patients, a lot of them don’t have families,” Biscotti said. “They didn’t know where to go to get their vaccines during Covid-19. They have a pre-surgical test for very serious surgery and just helping them to give them information about where to park or where to do it really gives you a lot of pleasure. They thank you. Some of them call me ‘Doc.’ I’m not a doctor, just volunteering and I like helping.”